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.

In reading about shame here and here, I’m learning how to not be afraid to be me, and it’s bloody hard. Fatiguing. Scary.

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.

 


Comments

The Hard — 44 Comments

  1. Sounds like good news. For now, you are right where you are supposed to be.Most of the fears and thoughts going through your mind is your body trying to get you to give it what it wants. People don’t realize we condition our brain to want alcohol/drugs just like we need food, water, and shelter. So, your body will try to make you feel like you are going to die without the stuff. Not drinking water will kill you; not giving in to the Monster won’t. It’s like being chased by a big dog. We try to run and get bitten every time. However, if you turn suddenly, bark loud and charge hard back at the dog, chances are he may run off. You will never know until you confront it on a daily basis, just as you are now. Good job, it gets better.

  2. Brené Brown writes faboulously useful stuff! Have you seen her TED lectures on Vulnerability? THey are worth the look. Congratulations and good luck! Considering the amount of bravery it takes to look at all our own crap I would say you’re already successful! Being sober for thirty years this year …every moment has been worth it. Best to you! Sending protective and positive vibes.

  3. This:

    “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.”

    I so relate. <3
    shannon recently posted…how to poo in front of your partnerMy Profile

  4. Wow! I didn’t read your blog on Friday but I went to a meeting on Sunday a.m. where the theme was “courage” and I realized how powerful is the prayer for “courage to change the things I can”! Yes you (and I) can! I’ve read your Monday post now; behind you all the way!

      • Paul – great pics. Lots of these about at the moment although the cooler weather might finish them off! Other disisnguiihtng features of the males are the blue band below the ‘golf tee’, the bright, blue patch readily visible with a close-ish side view of the upper abdomen and the paired blue spots towards the tip of the abdomen being separate rather than forming a band as in the more striking Southern Hawker. I have an old pic of Southern Hawker I’ll post for comparison purposes. Jim

      • about meditation is true and only the person knows,each from their own experience. To disregard a great teacher such as Pararamahansa Yogananda ‘as not knowing’ is short sighted and tells, not the whole story. Read the Autobiography.Each seeks from his/her own need and will be drawn to that which is for their highest good. Aum/Om is applicable in every walk of life. Peace and harmony.J

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