Confronting friendships and looking in the mirror
One of my most favorite projects that I am working on right now is season 2 of F*cking Sober. It has been two years in the making, and we have worked for many months on it. I have gone through countless drafts, trying to depict some of the most difficult aspects that I struggled with in the early days of sobriety. What makes one quit drinking in the first place? Then, what makes one want to quit trying and just go back to drinking? Why did I even drink so much to begin with?
This character's story is based loosely on my own obviously. But we only have 8 episodes and 90 days. How much do we want to talk about the kids? How much do we want to talk about marriage? Friendship? Community?
It turns out that community and Mommy Wine Culture was the biggest avenue to explore and in turn, friendship went along with that. It's clearly all intertwined. Episode 3 did a good job of bringing all of this to the forefront. This episode, entitled "Day 14: “Please make sure you’re all on mute:” showed just how lost I felt in the beginning of my journey. The episode starts out with me attending an online support group meeting.
I remember feeling so worried how others would perceive me once they found out I wasn't drinking anymore, so I was reluctant to embrace the meeting. I knew I needed to do something to get me on the path of sobriety. I knew I needed community. I knew I needed help, but I was reluctant to embrace the online recover support group. I also didn't want to tell many of my real life friends. In the meeting, I acted unkind and judgmental towards the people in it, refusing to turn my video on or participate. In that first meeting, I felt sorry for myself. I also looked at the other people and felt like I was above them. Better than them.
I was scared what my friends would think if they knew what I was going through - would they think differently of me? Would they talk about me? I wasn't sure I wanted to be part by the online community, but I also didn't want to keep drinking with my real life friends. I was so miserable. I was stuck in this strange in between world, and I felt so completely alone. I was so sad. And so scared.
No one understood me. I judged others and I was scared how others judged me. It would take many months and a slow unveiling of myself to understand just how angry and closed off I was. I had spent so many years numbing myself from my life, from all experiences and from the world around me. I used alcohol to keep me separated from feeling anything, by the end, most of all my family. I also drank to help me cope with my insecurities and manage how completely uncomfortable I was my own skin.
Over two years later, it is so much easier to recognize just how judgmental and unkind I had become. I was someone I did not like. In that first meeting, I was behaving that way, because I was so unaccustomed to looking at myself in the mirror. I didn't know how to handle the truth about myself. And the truth was, I had a problem with alcohol. I didn't like being forced to begin the process of asking these hard questions of myself, so it was easier to pass judgment on others in my meetings, just like I did in Episode 3 of F*cking Sober.
I am glad to say that these days, I try to see others with more compassion now. I approach situations with a bit more of a kind, open frame of mind. At the same time, I feel that I have learned so much about myself, my past and my insecurities. I know who I am now as an individual. I realize that it's extremely hard to turn the mirror on yourself. It's tough to be forced to confront the things you have been avoiding for so long, and it's hard to do the self work. At the same time, once you finally do, it is truly one of the most rewarding things in the world. And one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your family.
Tune in to F*cking Sober: The First 90 Days, to hear all about Betsy's journey!