It occurs to me that just because I choose to make my sobriety known to anyone that will listen, making the individual choice that people are in recovery, public, is something I’ve found that many choose to avoid. And often with good reason, I suppose.
I think people that have made the decision not to drink are protective of their new way of life because there is this automatic assumption that if they are sober now then that means at one point they must have been a f*** up before— and nobody wants to be known as having had been that. The stigma is there.
For me, I am open about it for a few reasons. First, I’m proud of who I am today and sure— I hate a lot of the person that I was. But on that same note, to be here today; doing what I am today, feeling how I feel today, and helping how I help today takes a strength and courage that people that have never faced addiction could not even imagine.
Second, and the most important is that if I make it clear that I’m in recovery, I am renewing my vows to my sobriety every time I say it. I have firmly laid a foundation of accountability and you have no idea how something that simple gives me strength. I am responsible every day to do whatever it is that works for me to keep me from picking up a drink.
Now I’m going to address why it is when I had been sober in the past, I let no one know unless it was necessary. Why did I do that??? Well, it’s because I wanted an out. I didn’t want to fully commit. Say that “I don’t drink” out loud, it becomes real. I wanted that door to drinking to still be cracked so if I ever did decide to pick up again, no confrontation or questions would be in my way. I was secretly sober.
I finally realized that that reservation inevitably led me to disaster. All the invitations I turned down for an after shift drink was just because “I was a busy girl with other things to do,” as least as far as my coworkers were concerned.
Then the day came and I accepted. And it was ON. Time and time again that happened. That reservation of holding back the fact I don’t drink, and can’t drink, from the world, led me straight to disaster. So when I decided, “I’m done... I’m done living my life this way. I’m not going to let alcohol run me any longer!” I not only closed that door... I f’in slammed it, locked it, and I threw away the key.
I did that by owning my addiction, my problem. I identify with being an alcoholic because I am one... but I’m more me today than I’ve ever been before. In my experience, people aren’t particularly that interested in who you were before really... they care about who you are today. So I choose to own my efforts and accomplishments and continue to shine every day, living my life as a.... yep, I’m gonna say it out loud... "a person in recovery."
No secrets here.
P.S. I’m Grateful.