…but you can’t hide


This is a difficult post for me to write. Difficult because I may offend, difficult because others may not realize that the story is about me and not them, difficult because I must examine some of my deep character defects, difficult because I still care too much about what others think of me and am I afraid of their disapproval of what I may write here,. It must be written however, I must accept my character defects without acting on them, this keeps me sober.

A few months ago I joined a private Facebook group, alcoholics helping each other. I discovered it was mostly women, interesting because I have been intrigued with the “wine drinking mom” epidemic that seems to be sweeping suburbia these days. I announced my presence and gender, and was assured that I was welcome, which I was. The group was a mix of folks who embraced AA, some who didn’t, some who had strong recovery, and some who didn’t.  I found it helpful, I participated, I hope I posted some things that helped others. It was good….until it wasn’t….

In the past couple of weeks I became fixated on the failures and excuses. People who wanted to get better but couldn’t go 2 days without drinking. I cannot go to AA because my town is too small, I am too prominent, I don’t believe in God, maybe instead I should focus on my sugar addiction, I cannot deal with sober sex, I am stressed by my kids, I must achieve my desires before I can be happy , etc.- so I drink. The majority of the responses to these drove me equally crazy: it’s ok, we love you anyway, you should do something good for yourself, etc. Where is the “tough love”? Who is going to tell them to quit making excuses and do the work so they can stop drinking? Maybe the ultimate authority Lance needs to get in there and tell these people what they should fucking do. I convinced myself I “just wanted to help” and I had something to offer, fortunately I knew that somewhere deep inside it was my character defects that were camouflaged in the denial of helpfulness. I also became disappointed in myself, being an alcoholic, and understanding the insanity that brings, how could I not find empathy for these women? Thankfully, I did find restraint of tongue, pen, and keyboard. However, I unjoined the group – click, poof, gone, abandonment complete. It was difficult but I felt like I was at the crossroads, I would either leave or end up acting on my character defects and posting a long diatribe on what people needed to do to get it right (MY way of course).

I took this issue to my therapist and he found it fascinating. He dug some thoughts out of me that illuminated my defects: “whiny women”, why cannot they just do the work that I am doing – how unfair. Jealousy. Superiority. Grandiosity. Ego. We both felt that I did the right thing at the time by leaving, because my first priority is to protect my sobriety by not acting on my character defects. He did however point out that there is a better way, by recognizing my defects and making my amends, hence this post. I think some of the group may see this as they know about my blog. My therapist went a step further and suggested I rejoin the group and tell them what I said here – still working on that one…

 

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About A Beast Within

Trying to find myself, battling alcoholism, and other personal demons. Sharing the journey. View all posts by A Beast Within

8 responses to “…but you can’t hide

  • themiracleisaroundthecorner

    As an ex-wine-drinking-Mom of suburbia, I am totally NOT offended by this… I would feel the exact way you do! As a person in recovery who just completed step 5 and am working towards step 6, I am inspired. Thanks so much for sharing, it really helped me!

  • sswl

    Thanks for this interesting post. I had a similar experience in my first few months of sobriety with a recovery email list where so many people relapsed on such a regular basis and were welcomed back with such affection that it began to feel like relapse should be part of the plan. For me, it was too dangerous.

    Later, when I felt more solid, I went back and saw that there were a few people who challenged some of the serial relapsers–not in an attacking way, but questioning, asking them what they thought was keeping them from lasting sobriety, what they could change, etc. In the three years I’ve been on the list, some of the relapsers have attained fairly long stretches of sobriety–many months–and their relapses have become shorter and less severe, so it certainly was worth it to make them feel welcomed back.

    The people who ask the questions have an important role to play, but you have to be in the right place yourself, not angry at them and not feeling it puts your own sobriety at risk. (I think for me the two might’ve gone together.)

    The perfect moment /plan /herbal remedy /rehab program /magic pill–yes, it’s just postponement. The perfect moment to quit is when you just can’t stand to be a drunk any longer.

  • Lynda M O

    sswl-that last sentence is a very powerful statement that I have not heard before. An excellent description of when to quit. Never having been to a 12-step program, I cannot speak to their methods or success, but many I know who quit on their own have been able to stay on the right side of the bottle. It’s been nearly 28 years for me and I don’t know what to say to newbies except stay away from the bottle and that’s little help to most trying to get sober. So I stay out of the drunk chat rooms and quietly stay sober at home…

    Thank you for this blog, you have taught me a lot in the last many months.

  • thirteenpointoneandone

    Not to ignore what the therapist suggested, but I have to agree with you. I am part of an online recovery forum, and in my very early days of sobriety, I sat on this website constantly. Then, I just got tired of the same people relapsing and having some stupid excuse for it, like the ones you mentioned. I do think tough love is necessary. It made me so mad, and I couldn’t feel bad for these people, so i’ve stopped logging in as much. That’s all I could do.

  • belowhermeans

    ((huge hugs)) I find myself in the same line of thinking, often. Now that I’m the token sober friend in people’s lives, the ones with drinking problems are constantly explaining to me why THEY can’t stop, even though I never asked. Pretty hard to bite my tongue. I feel your frustration.

  • Karen_T

    As one of those of whom you speak, I can tell you that I am not at all offended. I hope that you’ll come back. I think that those of us who can’t quite totally surrender really need to hear both kinds of messages – the nurturing ones and the tough love ones. As long as it is truly tough love and not something else, and I think that’s what I admire about your approach to the whole thing, the way you’re examining it. You know, we do need big brothers as well as big sisters. Sometimes our “brothers” see things from a different perspective, and that might be just what we need.

    But though I hope you’ll come back, it has to be about either what you get from the community for your own sobriety or what you give in love and service. But you know that.

    Finally, thanks for this. I just happened upon it through Facing Facts’ blogroll, and it was what I needed to read today.

    • A Beast Within

      Thank you for your honesty and understanding. You are correct, I needed to take a break, examine my motives, and seek acceptance – I am sure I will be back. I wish you strength on your journey.

  • theredsoxsavedmylife

    “Where is the “tough love”? Who is going to tell them to quit making excuses and do the work so they can stop drinking?”
    AY-Mayn. Heck yeah. What a great post, refreshing, honest and “trenchy”. I love trenchers. Followed. Thank YOU for the follow as well.

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