Shame and sobriety
I was talking to my therapist yesterday about why some people don't feel comfortable approaching me about my sobriety when it is so clearly something that can be addressed. I am an open book, I always say! Yet, people still hold back. People sometimes don't know what to say, nervous to offend me or say the wrong thing. Whether it is family or friends that follow my blog/instagram or not, even if they know I am sober, for so many, it is often a hard subject for people to bring up. Do they say something? Do they not?
Regardless, I feel comfortable talking about my sobriety now and it is somewhat frustrating to me when others feel awkward bringing it up to me. I know I have no right to feel this way, because people cannot help it. Evan knows it hurts my feelings, as it is the biggest thing happening in my life these days. The same way it hurts my feelings when people flat out exclude me from things just because I don't drink. I don't want to be treated differently, but I also don't want people to treat me like they feel badly for me. Because I am proud of myself and the changes I have made.
In large groups when we are out with friends and people hear me order a Diet Coke, I sometimes see them do a double take, and I wish they would just acknowledge the elephant in the room. But after talking to my therapist yesterday, I am starting to realize, that others may be waiting for me to say something. They don’t know what to say themselves. Because people don't understand that this is actually something that I don't feel any shame about. This is not a taboo subject for me. I don't see myself as damaged goods. I feel I am the exact opposite, in fact. And people may in fact be waiting for me to break the ice. It’s awkward. I get it.
Having an addiction to alcohol, an alcohol use disorder or deciding alcohol no longer serves you, however you may want to phrase it - can make other people uncomfortable. People believe it to be taboo, because there is a stigma attached to it unfortunately. If you decided to quit eating gluten, people would not hold back with asking you why, even if you had to explain that it gives you massive diarrhea. Others would nod along empathetically, thinking about their own possible gluten intolerances. They might wonder to themselves, "Hmm, maybe I should cut back on gluten too? Hmm, maybe that's why I can't lose those last 5 pounds?"
On the other hand, there is something different about expressing your vulnerability to others about alcohol and showing people that you are flawed in that department, that can make others feel extremely uncomfortable. People are less likely to shine a light on their own drinking habits and reflect about their own personal behavior. Instead, they see you as flawed. You are the broken one, whether or not they want to admit it to themselves.
Or it could just simply be that others don’t think to bring the topic up, because they aren’t as hyper focused on sobriety as I am! As my husband says, maybe I shouldn’t take it so personally.
Regardless, I need to remind myself to try to show compassion for everyone, no matter where they stand. Myself included.
I am proud of what I have learned over the last nine months, and I am proud of my journey. I am proud to show my children what their mother has learned and what I will continue to do for them as a free and sober mom. I am excited to talk about it to anyone and everyone. I am not ashamed of my story.