The shame cycle.
Updated: May 28
It's been a week since I "came out" with my story of sobriety.
What a gift! I'm not hiding anymore, trying to be one Maria to you and another Maria to someone else. Wondering who knows and who doesn't. It's taken almost six years of sobriety, taking an honest look at myself, living amends, learning to love myself...and, most importantly, to let God love me again to be able to live in this place.
Talking about my sober life wasn't a quick decision by any means. I've been thinking about it for a long time. So, I'm not advocating for all of my "anonymous" friends to run and out themselves. This is my journey. This is where I am right now. This is where I feel God wants me to be.
But yesterday, I did something that made me wake up today and wonder why I had reacted so oddly about a situation. I acted in a way that certainly didn't feel authentic and I'm not proud of my behavior.
I ran away. Twice, while I was shopping, I saw friends who I knew had read my 2,119 days post. Suddenly, the fear and anxiety became too much for me to handle. As in, I literally saw them and ran down another aisle! It was like the freedom that was granted me when I wrote the post, disappeared and I was full of shame. For me to "out" myself behind the comfort of my MacBook was one thing, but to actually live it in real life was so frightening.
Both of these women would have loved me. I'm sure of it. I'm pretty sure that they both would have acknowledged my post, hugged me and let me know they loved me in spite of the fact that I couldn't celebrate our friendship with a drink.
But, once again, some level of shame cycle had overcome me. Just when I thought I was sooooo very healthy. Darn. The post which I, just last week, felt so good about sharing had now, stifled me completely.
This is why we always have to be so gentle with each other. We never really know what's going on inside someone's head. The burdens which we all carry. I can guarantee you that you have no idea of the level of cray cray that lives in my noggin. We think we know each other, but there's so much hiding behind our smiles and our laptops.
I wish I could rewind yesterday and fall happily into the arms of my friends who I would have loved to hug. But, I can't and after I hit "publish" on this post, I'm going to move on and let it go. (Did you just get the Frozen song in your head, too?).
Next time, I'll be prepared...because yesterday, I sure as hell wasn't. When I posted last week, I had forgotten to make a plan to figure out exactly how I was going to manage this new found freedom that came with outing myself. I forgot to plan for the day I would come face to face with one of my readers. I totally hadn't prepared myself.
I don't have any regrets about sharing my story of sobriety, because stopping drinking was just the beginning. The easy part. I put down the drink and recovery followed. Recovery that, every day, gives me joy beyond any I have known before. Halleluia! BUT, recovery is something I have to work on every day. Recovery is more than not drinking alcohol. It's living honestly, one day at a time and, chipping away at our defects of character (shame!) and, as AA says "to thine own self be true".
Last week, I was true to myself...and there's no shame in that!