My Sober Life, Chapter 4

In which we take a breather from incidents to reflect on impacts, actions, and current live events

First things first: 

I do not write for pity. I do not write for sympathy. I do not write for clicks and likes and praise.

I do write for sanity. I do write for empathy. I do write for truth and light and turn of phrase.

I do not write to harm. I do not write to hurt. I do not write to anger, blame or shame.

I do write to share. I do write to heal. I do write to me and you and anyone who may feel the same.

The last two weeks have been, to put it lightly, a tumultuous, wretched, rumbling storm. It seems like ever since I went public with my sobriety, the universe took it as a sign that I needed to be tested. Work stress, health scares, deaths, my own demons of grief, addiction, and depression. Things I hadn’t even considered to be a problem for me to be in contact with have turned out to be dangerous. I feel irrational, angry, territorial. I have insomnia. My anxiety has spiked, and I’m existing in a space where my adrenaline is pumping constantly. I used to live in this place all the time, and it’s that loud buzzing in my head, the vibration through my body that drove me to use things like alcohol to tamp it back down. 

I have wanted to drink every single day. I feel like I’m unspooling. I recently saw Weezer at Red Rocks (just brilliant show, by the by) and their lyrics keep running through my head…

If you want to destroy my sweater/Hold this thread as I walk away/Watch me unravel/I’ll soon be naked/Lying on the floor (lying on the floor)/I come undone

And that is how this feels. I am sharing my naked truth, and there is no more to hide behind. It is terrifying and liberating. It is my choice and my voice. 

So back to the keyboard I go. The most interesting thing about sharing these stories has been the feedback. People who knew me during these times saw me completely differently. These messages and comments, to me, seem like these people are talking about another person altogether. Perspective is a funny thing. Further proof that we never really know what another person is going through. I am so grateful for you taking the time to read my words. Thank you for sharing your stories with me, trusting me with your vulnerability.

People can also be mean and nasty. It’s a double-edged sword to open your heart on the page and let people into the inner-workings and struggles. I’ve mostly been able to stave it off, but as the readership grows (again, so, so grateful), there will be those who cannot help themselves to a back-handed compliment, an ugly name called, or a threat ranging from mild-to-serious.

I have spent the better part of the last two years undoing so many of the habits that kept me in a state of anxiety and fear. Letting go of toxic people who exacerbate that feeling. But the instinct is always there. Even now, for fear of losing something or someone, I easily revert back to grabbing on as hard as I can. Especially when there are factors I can’t control. It’s like riding a bike. You never really forget.

For the bulk of my adolescence, as the stories I have told so far convey, I felt afraid, helpless, and victimized. I was motivated by the carrot of inclusion. I didn’t know myself enough to trust myself. I didn’t love myself. I needed to be validated by outside forces. When I was feeling ugly and unlikable, the flattery and attention of the opposite sex was like a drug. I was boy crazy from age four, and wanting and needing to be liked by them was an intense extrapolation of what I needed in my regular day-to-day.

The #MeToo hashtag went viral this week. Through the outlines of what I have been planning on writing about in the next section of chapters, how I measured my self-worth was something that popped up frequently. It was usually done externally, and there are boys and men who homed in on my insecurity and willingness to do almost anything to be liked. Intertwined with that are the memories of harassment and assault. The times when I allowed myself to be intimidated; tried to make myself smaller, quieter; times I was afraid to say no out loud and suffered through an experience while my soul was screaming.

With what has been going on in my head and heart the last few weeks, I have completely lost myself again. The calm, collected, “kindness first” attitude I have been cultivating was thrown by the wayside when external factors creeped in. I had really begun to pride myself in my ability to create space between my emotions and my reactions, and it all crumbled when faced with a substance to which I didn’t even realize I was addicted. And when I perceived it to be taken away from me, I lost my ever-loving shit.

That was purposefully vague which I know is annoying. When I’m laying it all out there, why hold back on this? But it’s fresh and it deserves time and attention before I decide whether it needs to be written about publicly. Not all stories need to be told.

I know I am not the only addict. I know I am not the only child who was the victim of verbal and physical abuse. I am not the only kid who was ever bullied, made fun of, or who bullied others. I am not the only woman (human) to suffer abuse and violence from men (other humans). I am not the only blogger to get trolled. I do not think any of these things make me special or significant.

I am not the only one.

Which means, just maybe, you know what I’m talking about. Maybe when you were reading this, you had a moment where you said, #MeToo.

Maybe, you read a line and thought, #GirlSame.

Maybe, when we get to those more specific chapters, you’ll wonder, #HimThough.

So while this whole blog series is about me, my life, my choices, my thoughts, actions, and inactions, it’s for you, too. It’s so we can be together in this. Because I hear these stories and I think, Damn. #MeToo.

Cheers (with orange juice).

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