Today I am 8 Months Sober!
When I think about my life now it’s quite honestly hard to believe that I am where I am. I feel as if I have lived so many lives and now sobriety has given me a new one. This one isn’t super original by any means compared to some of the other lives (phases) I have lived and undergone. It’s in many ways taking all the bits and pieces of the past lives and making sense of it all and then selectively putting the desired pieces together. It’s like a highly complex emotional rubix cube to say the least. Anyways, it is original in the sense that I have an attitude and outlook on life that I never had before. One that is holistic and very optimistic. One that serves to work for me and not against me. One that has allowed me for the first time ever in my existence to tap in and feel the power of my own strength. That being said, there is one persistent battle that I believe will never go away. Throughout my time the battle has fluctuated to monumental heights and receded away in surrender, but only for a short period of time. This monster and this battle has one name. SHAME. Shame is the name of game I can’t seem to win. Let me tell you why.
It seems that every time I rise to an occasion and think that I have succeeded a little voice in my head says, “Bitch you’re not good enough.” “You don’t deserve this you dumb piece of shit.” “Nobody cares what you have to say so don’t bother trying.” Shame. What a cunt, right? This is my biggest emotional obstacle in life. Why it took me 22 plus years to finally figure it out, I will never know. I have to thank Brené Brown and her talk Listening to Shame for pointing this hard truth out to me. I believe that I have finally been enlightened to my shame because I have also finally admitted to all my failures by getting sober. The day I quit drinking was the day I said to shame, “Fuck you. You have no power over me.”
No surprise, Shame is highly prevalent in people who suffer from/deal with addiction, depression, eating disorders, bullying, suicidal thoughts and the act of suicide, etc. Why is that? I firmly believe that in not just my experience, but many others as well, that we were all afraid of failing. We were put under intense stress and sought to live up to something that we knew was unattainable. We made excuse after excuse for our setback instead of admitting to the truth. We lied to ourselves. When we finally gave up and sunk into our depression, popped copious amounts of pills, drank wine by the box, and wrote the goodbye letter; we let shame win. Shame doesn’t have to win and I’m here to tell you that right now. The first step to winning the battle with shame is to let your guard down. Vulnerability is the arch nemesis to shame. Tap into your purest spirit and form and shame will no longer dictate how you live your life. Moreover, once you accept the fact that it’s okay to not be okay and to be proud of all victories big and small, you will be free.
So, how did I break free of my shame? Well, I’m not entirely free just yet, but I have started to cut some of those shameful strings. Telling my story has been my supreme weapon to fight back shame. Opening myself up in this way so publicly is something I never believed I could do again after falling into a deep alcohol addiction. I’ve always been an open person, but very selective about what I’m open about. Anything that people would find funny, light-hearted, or alluded to some kind of positive feeling I shared. When it came to the deeper shit like my trauma, that stayed locked away oh so tightly in a secret service guarded vault. I wanted people to believe that I was okay, even when I wasn’t. Shame made me paint this illusion to the outside world. Nobody could know that I was in pain. Now I force myself to bare it all, wear my heart on my sleeve, and admit to my wrongs. What I never realized is that from my shame and failure I could gain all my power and humility to be better. Failure has ultimately made me stronger. Shame is something I should celebrate because it makes me human.
This month was a little turbulent. After having a really positive and uplifting period over a handful of weeks, sure enough shame tried to strike me down again. It didn’t work. It didn’t work because I know that it’s okay to not be okay and to be so does not make you weak. I’m truly believe that I’m coming into my prime and, as history likes to repeat itself, shame had to come pay me a visit. I have never been more resilient in my battle with shame. I was wounded, but I did not fall. I did not break. I’m still here standing tall.
I know I have failed myself and others and I’m okay with that. I’m not perfect and I never can be. I know the world is cruel and has been unjust to me, but I don’t have to let it affect me. I get to be whoever I want to be and that’s something I never believed I could achieve.
Broken & Okay: