Thursday, February 7, 2013
On the way home from work last night, I used Siri (love her!) to call an old friend. She's the kind of friend you only speak with every year or so, but when you do, it's like no time has passed at all. We've been friends since I was 16 and she was 18. We met at my first ever job as a cashier at Western Auto. She'd been on my mind and my heart lately but life kept getting in the way and I kept putting off calling her.
We spoke for about 20 minutes about what was going on in each of our lives and what had happened since the last time we talked. Her father passed away and she's now caring for her sister who suffers from mental illness. My boys are getting ready to graduate from high school, the oldest is doing well in college, my nephew's new baby looks just like him. Same old same old.
Until we reached the point where I told her about being sober. I thought I had told her before but apparently it didn't come up in our last conversation about two years ago. She asked me about my sister and I said she was the same, an addicted mess who would likely die that way. And then I told her that I had quit drinking...but...I did not tell her that I was an alcoholic.
Even as the words explaining my "sober-ness" were coming out of my mouth, I could feel something in the pit of my stomach beginning to turn. It's the same something that turns when I lie or do something I'm not proud of or, most likely, when my mouth gets away from me and my foot goes along for the ride. As I was saying, "Yeah, I had to give up the booze because it was getting out of control and I didn't want to repeat the behavior of my childhood for my children," my stomach rolled and my jaw began to tense and I knew that I wasn't being entirely truthful. I mean, the statement is absolutely true but the words, "I finally realized that I was an alcoholic," or "I'm an alcoholic," would not leave my mouth.
Why? Why couldn't I say it? What was stopping me? It was that feeling in the pit of my stomach. Let's name it ladies and gentlemen! Let's call it what it is...
I really hate that fucking word.
Damn, damn, damn, damn it!!!! I thought I was over that! I thought I had moved past the point of shame but apparently I was wrong! As I thought more and more about it and I continue to think more and more about it today, I realize that it's still very hard for me to say that word. That I was ashamed to use it when talking to her because I was afraid she would think less of me. That she would think I was like my father and my sister
Intellectually I know that number one, I am NOT like my father and my sister. While I am, no doubt about it, an alcoholic, I do not carry the burdens that they carried or continue to carry and I do not make the decisions that they made or continue to make. I am me - and that's all I will ever be and thank God for that. And number two, if there is any person on the planet that would understand, not judge and really NOT think that I am like the rest of my family, it would be her. We've seen each other through some pretty crazy shit. Believe it or not, this is small potatoes in comparison.
But emotionally? Emotionally I guess I'm still trying to convince myself that I'm not like my father or my sister. That I'm better than they are. That somehow I'm some kind of superior addict.
Holy Mother of Jesus where in the hell do I come up with this shit.
So, while my sobriety gets better and better every day and my recovery has made me better than I've ever been...I've still got some work to do.