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