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Shattering the Shame: Why I Haven’t Openly Talked About My Sobriety
The truth will set you free, but not until it is finished with you.
-David Foster Wallace
For the past ten years I’ve known I had a problem with alcohol. Time and time again, my drinking caused me to be unpredictable, irresponsible, and downright destructive. Despite knowing all of this, I spent the better part of the decade trying to “drink like a normal person.”
I grew up glamorizing a glass of wine, going to Sunday brunch, and dressing up to sip champagne. Over the years I’ve proved to myself that there was nothing romantic about it, yet over and over I tried to take control of something that was out of my hands.
There have been many reasons I’ve held back from sharing my truth. I’ve been worried I would be judged, ridiculed, or rejected. I’ve romanticized the “good old days” and avoided sharing that I don’t drink; sometimes it just seemed easier for me have a drink than to explain myself.
I was afraid of being seen as broken or a burden.
I recently had a conversation with a woman I respect and look up to about the shame I carry about being an alcoholic. For as long as I can remember, I’ve worn a mask of “having it all together” to avoid facing the problems that lie underneath. I never realized it, but she recognized how my facade of looking and acting a certain way has blocked my ability to truly heal and accept myself for who I am.
I’ve held onto the shame so tightly that I didn’t even realize I had it.
Since I hadn’t been completely honest with myself and others, I went back to drinking more times and I can count- and it never, ever got any better. I know this today, and I need to continue to remember it in the future.
Instead of continuing to pretend, I decided it was finally time to openly share my struggles- and my strength. From Brené Brown to Glennon Doyle, I’m in good recovery company- and hopefully my own journey will help someone else one day, too.
We only grow when we do something that makes us uncomfortable.
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