I am struggling lately.
This season of difficulty was not entirely brought on by external factors, though. Life is pretty okay in that regard: no one is sick, my family is on good terms with each other, Mike and I have stable jobs in an unstable economy. It’s not spectacular, but I honestly don’t have much to complain about when it comes to basic necessities.
No, this is an internal struggle. Part of recovering from addiction is learning to deal with yourself, as the addict masks their humanity with drugs or alcohol. No icky feelings, no managing fears, no confronting the shame accumulated over a lifetime of being human – a stiff drink or ten makes it all go away.
But no, truthfully, it doesn’t. Those issues fester as they wait for you to sober up, and if they aren’t dealt with in due time, they will rear their ugly heads, punch you in the kidneys and force you to deal with them. Hence, the twelve step program.
Really though, it’s the same process for anyone else healing from trauma, abuse, pain or self-loathing. You tackle your issues head on, try to resolve them, forgive-heal-move-on and alter your way of thinking to create positive thought patterns and habits.
I’m at the point in the process where I am inventorying all my pain, fear, and insecurities. You know, the fun part. A lifetime of un-examined issues, decades of sweeping my shortcomings under a rug to project a persona of (I hoped) competence, rational thought, and grace – this has caught up with me, and I can’t ignore the growing mound of psychological stuff I’ve ignored for so long.
Suddenly, every detail in my life has become about confronting my fears. They sneak up on me in my everyday life, popping out from unexpected corners and leaving me wanting to cry at inconvenient times, like, say, at the office in the middle of a meeting, or right before a birthday celebration after just reapplying my mascara. I didn’t really know I was a fearful person until I got sober, and I didn’t realize the severity of my fears until I started looking directly at them the past few months.
Holy hell, it’s been hard.
In this process, I’ve learned how scared I am to simply be myself. I’m afraid of what people will think of me. If people really knew me, they wouldn’t love me anymore. They might even stop talking to me. In fact, I censor myself on here sometimes so I won’t offend people with my me-ness. Imagine, trying to be authentic while still holding back what you’re sure will be offensive to some. I’m tired of it.
But I’m making progress. On Monday, I’m planning on letting you all know about a big step I took this week, a step that terrifies me, a step that affects this blog, my brain-child. A step that I’ve been fearing for a while.
Wish me luck.