17 January. 2020 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Recovery | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
I don't tend to tell people about my alcohol addiction. People know, but generally it's close family or those of you who read my blog. For a long time I didn't tell anyone because I was embarrassed and ashamed. I felt I'd let myself and everyone around me down. I really didn't like the way that made me feel.
I didn't go to AA and without having a group to talk to, I didn't really express how I felt, I guess it was hard to explain to people who hadn't experienced quite the same things as me. There’s also a fine line between working through things and feeling like you are just complaining. So I didn't share it with too many people, until I began to write this blog.
When you all started to read and talk to me it was like a weight had been lifted because so many people understood. So many of you had experienced something similar and connecting reminded me that I wasn’t the only one, that others had been there too. It helped a lot.
I still didn't tell anyone else though. I didn’t think there was a reason to and to be honest, it was just easier to avoid everyone from before. I think as well as feeling there would be judgment, I am afraid people won't understand, that they will think I'm attention seeking, or making it up, or that they will brush it off and not understand how hard it was to stop. Not that these things should matter really.
Yesterday I had meeting. There were a lot of people there, some new faces, some familiar and it was good. A year ago you couldn't have paid me to go into a room full of people like that and pitch. But I'm doing it and getting better at it. Even if it did involve a little mental preparation beforehand.
Afterwards people mingled and I got talking to someone I've met before a few times and chatted with. We spoke of work, Christmas, all sorts, and somehow got onto mental health. I may have said how much running helps me. Then we were talking about drinking, and without thinking I just said, 'I don't drink anymore.' I've said that before, but usually without the 'anymore' on the end, as it stops people asking any more questions. My colleague remarked how easy it could be to come to rely on it, how one drink turns into more, and I said I stopped over three years ago for that very reason. It was enough. I didn't have to explain, although later as we talked I did say how hard stopping had been. I felt accepted for being me, and not judged in the way I had been fearing. It was refreshing and a lovely way to start the day. It gives me hope to feel I am moving on. Even sitting here thinking about it now, I actually feel proud of myself for admitting it to someone.
Are any of you careful about what you say to others, or is it just me who is a little bit cagey?
Thanks for reading!