The Path of Vulnerability
Updated: Dec 18, 2021
One of my friends asked me the other day about some of the things I said in my NPR interview and how I felt about it all. I haven't really told my story that much recently to strangers, only in my writing. So it was a somewhat nerve-racking experience for me at first to speak with a reporter. Even in the beginning of my recovery last year, I stayed quiet on The Luckiest Club and Sober Mom Squad meetings, saving the personal tidbits for one on one talks with friends and my therapist. I found it hard to tell complete strangers the personal details of my life, because my voice would shake and I felt overwhelmed with nerves every time I opened my mouth. I was always worried about the judgement from others. The silent response on the other side of the computer screen. I thought to myself, I wonder what they are thinking. I would scrutinize people's facial expressions and try to decipher what they were thinking. The insecurity I used to feel nearly destroyed me in the beginning of my sobriety. But I kept going.
I am so happy to say that I no longer experience such debilitating anxiety or fears. I have come a long way in worrying about what others think. Because I just told NPR and a whole lot of people about all of my fears. I shared a lot of my personal story, not really sure of how it would be perceived or what parts would be taken and aired. It was a vulnerable, exciting experience, and one that I am extremely grateful for. I knew I couldn't pass it up when Brian Mann contacted me. This is all part of my journey, and I am growing more everyday because of these choices. And I am reaching more people with my story little by little. People just like me that struggled in the beginning are hopefully finding tiny bits of strength by hearing that they aren't alone.
After a 20 minute interview with Brian Mann, I was intrigued to see what parts they would include. This is one of the lines they used: "I felt a huge amount of fear in facing the social scene and all my friends." This is referring to the holiday season LAST year. I wish they could have shared all of what I said about this, but obviously they didn't have enough time.
I do remember these feelings and all of the anxiety of going to our first party sober at the club. I did not want to go, but I felt obligated. I felt like I needed to prove that I could still have fun, but I didn't feel understood by many of my friends. Maybe one one or two people really tried to make me feel good, but overall, my friends looked at me like they didn't know me and people seemed to feel uncomfortable around me, which made me feel so awkward. After that night, there seemed to be an overwhelming fear that dictated my every move in the beginning of my sober journey when it came to my friends, and I obsessed over where I fit into the social scene. Perhaps my sobriety shined a light on the drinking culture within my friends. Our community, even. Did my not drinking make others question their own behavior? Did people resent me for upsetting the natural balance of our group of friends?
It was so difficult in the beginning, but every day it got a little easier. I grew a little more confident in myself. I found a little bit more joy in the day to day. And I began to see things in a new light. I began to realize how little alcohol ever gave to me. How little I missed it all. I started to see all the things that I was gaining instead. New friendships. Relationships. Motivations. Passions. A brand new outlook and vision for myself.
My confidence has grown and eventually many of my fears and anxiety from early sobriety subsided. I no longer hide constantly from the judgement of others. But instead I recognize the feelings and try to show compassion for others and keep moving forward on my journey. It is not always the easiest thing to do, but I am working on it. I am not trying to be perfect nor am I asking anyone else to be, but I try everyday to do what I can to find the joy for myself. To make others that were lost like me discover their joy.
This time of year is very challenging though and brings up a lot of emotions. Where are you on your journey with alcohol? Feel free to comment below or email me.
I will continue down this path of vulnerability. I will keep trying. I will keep moving forward.
Here is the NPR clip and article:
For information on the Sober Mom Squad and The Luckiest Club, please visit: