My Double Life

telling-secrets-big-e1379620235254I like to live life like an opened book.  I say what whatever pops into my mind (sometimes this is a fault) and I don’t like to keep secrets.  I’ve hurt people’s feelings before because I’m brutally honest with them.

For example, my good friend at work– I told her that I was afraid of her when I first met her and that I thought she was fierce, but in a good way.  I immediately saw the disappointment when I told her these things and I regretted telling her.  She eventually got over it, but was upset for a little while.  I didn’t understand why she was upset, even with my early inhibitions we had become great friends and I love her dearly.

I immediately wished I could take away my words.  There are many situations that I can recall that I wished to be able to take back words.

The secretive and anonymous nature of recovery is one aspect that I struggle greatly with.  It’s as if I’m leading a double life and if people find out, I’m doomed– a goner.

This is most apparent with all of my coworkers.  I am an elementary special education teacher.  I’ve been a teeny bit honest with a couple of other coworkers.  In certain conversations, I’ve said things like “I gave up wine.  It was starting to overly consume my life.  I’m so less anxious without it and I feel so much better physically.”   Nothing here indicates that there was a big problem– or still is a problem.

What I want to say is: “I’m in recovery.  I’m searching for a sponsor and an AA or another recovery group that I fit into.  I struggle nearly Every. Single. Day.  I listen to audiobooks and/or podcasts daily that are recovery based.  I know relapse like the back of my hand.  Remember Dylan McKay in the old 90210 episodes?  Remember how his relapses went?  Yep, that’s pretty realistic, and similar to me during an ugly relapse.”

But what I want to say most of all is, “If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction, reach out to me.  I have learned so much this past year.  Even if you find that your doctor can’t help you (like I did) and are the most hopeless of hopeless, THERE IS HELP OUT THERE.”

Although I’m pretty honest with my husband and one of my sisters about my adventures in recovery, they haven’t even read this blog.  They know about it, but I’ve never shared it with them.  I would if they asked, but they haven’t.  I’ve thought about sharing it before, just to give them a glimpse of the angst and struggles, but it’s a nerve racking concept and is overwhelming when I think about it.  It is far too ugly and raw.

So yeah, I’ve heard many people say that they would rather have cancer or HIV than alcoholism.  I can’t say that I agree, the thought of cancer is terrifying to me, but I understand why they say it.  Alcoholism is a terrible disease that causes great suffering.  It is misunderstood by many and minimized by some.  Some may be in a position to share their situation, but I think most are more like me and feel that they can’t be honest with the world.

So for now, I have an ugly but beautiful secret.  Maybe someday I can open up and inspire others to do the same <3


Published by Organic Revival

I am a mom of boys, wife, furmom, gardner, walker, runner, teacher, reader, writer and cook. I am 42 years old and live in the beautiful state of Michigan. I love my job as an elementary special education teacher. The most remarkable quality of mine is that I'm a recovering alcoholic.

10 thoughts on “My Double Life

  1. I can totally relate with your feelings on this post! When I was deep in my own relapse, I was still an active school counselor (I’m a stay-a-home mom now). I felt like I had this dirty little secret, and I just felt so bad for not living a more authentic life, especially as someone who gives guidance to others.

    However, I find the more I share my now not so dirty little secret, the more free I feel. At the end of the day, don’t we all carry a little something in our back pocket? Don’t we all struggle with something? It’s just a matter of courage to stand up and say, “Hey! I’m fighting a battle over here! Who’s with me??”

    You are a brave soul for sharing your story and inspire many! Thank you for your honesty. Hope you continue to find freedom in sharing your journey with others.

    1. Thanks Alison & I think being more open would be freeing. Unfortunately I work at a school where moms in the community are very active in the school (a couple teach or do other jobs there, my principal’s kids go there & he is personal friends with lots of the parents) and extremely gossipy. I can’t ever see being accepted as an alcoholic, even if in recovery. I admire those like you who are able to share their stories & will continue to open up to family & close friends 💜

  2. I appreciate the dilemma of anonymity and secrets. I am fortunate perhaps in that with a bunch of years of sobriety, I do not have to worry about feeling threatened in coming out on the job – in fact, often I am the reference person of co-workers that have directed folks presumed to have a problem with addiction, as someone who could offer some direction.

    Considering the cancer vs. alcoholism issue, after many years of sobriety, I was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer – given a choice, the alcoholism is a lot easier to recover from. However, my time in sobriety prepared me for the cancer diagnosis. All of those AA cliches and lessons fit very well for my new circumstances.

    Best wishes as you continue down your recovery road.

    1. I am so sorry to hear that you are now having to go through recovery with cancer. Please know that I was in no way underestimating the devastation that cancer mentally and physically causes. It was something I heard someone who was in recovery say. I’m glad to hear that your sobriety is positively impacting your recovery from cancer. Sending you lots of well wishes and positive thoughts and vibes. God Bless!

  3. I am a retired early elementary teacher.
    If you go to site, you can read some of my story.
    There are many drinking teachers out there.
    When I first tried to stop drinking, I told everyone in a meeting that I was stopping. LOL
    They just looked at me as if I was nuts.
    Then I started again, and no one bat an eyelash.
    But this last time I was retired, and so I told everyone.
    Then slowly I “came out” on FB and other places.
    It helps me stay accountable.
    Big hugs.
    Teaching is hard hard work, and I appreciate all you do!

    1. Thanks for the story Wendy, that made me laugh. We have some parents who are also teachers & the whole community is very gossipy, I don’t think I’d ever be safe opening up. I will continue to open up more to my friends and family though 💜

    2. I was just checking out your blog and see so many similarities in myself with you. Congratulations on 3 years, that is so awesome!!! It won’t let me comment on anything until I follow you. I’m currently trying to figure out how to do that without using my work email address (my only gmail account). I’ll keep trying. You are simply lovely <3

  4. Some day you will have an urge to tell someone. Do.
    I can’t tell you how many other sober people, people with addicted kids or parents or people with mental health issues I have opened up to and who have opened up back.

    It’s scary at first, but it is so freeing. To be able to just say yes, This is me.

    1. Thanks for the comment, I think opening up will be incredibly freeing. I’m going to start with friends & family who don’t know. Hugs back to you, I’m glad that you got some to open up to you also 💜

  5. I so relate to this (I reblogged your blog). I am in a career in which admitting that I have alcohol use disorder would be absolutely disastrous. Unless someone I know is in recovery works with me, I tell no one (other than my immediate family). I hid my drinking and I hide my recovery, or at least, I do it anonymously. I think that is ok. I really do. I need the anonymity, and so long as I’m continually reaching out online, I feel I am taking care of that.

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