I often feel like, "Why me? How come I can't be normal like everyone else? Why do I feel so 'off'? Why do I have to be in recovery? Why is there such a stigma in regards to sobriety?". This past weekend, I attended a conference with over 500 women who stepped out from their hiding place where they went to shield shame and who, like me, have begun to take off their layers like those Russian dolls that you stack.
When we transport ourselves out, we miss our transformation and believe me when I say that we need and MUST be transformed. Human beings were made for pain. Our minds (like our bodies) have an immune system. We need to cry and to laugh and to think all of those thoughts that we suppress and keep inside (and cover with drugs and alcohol and medication and shopping and overeating and purging and MANY other self deprecating addictions we choose for ourselves at that time because it can numb out the pain of reality for just a tiny moment). Anything you use to escape an intolerable reality is an addiction.
I am learning that "a free woman is no longer afraid of pain" and that sobriety means a whole lot more than what I had once thought. It not only means to practice self control and to be honest, it also means to "stay on my mat" as Glennon Doyle-Melton was saying on Friday, "It's a way of life, a commitment, no bullshit, it's my faith, it's my pattern of life. It is moving inward."
We are not meant to be what the "world wants" and I know for myself that "I drank to feel how other peoples lives looked".
The reason I have lived in fear for so long and why many women can attest to this feeling is because we define ourselves by our roles. My current job description and debt and past and being an alcoholic...does not make me a failure. I am learning that life is really all about character development.
I know that what is right with me is definitely stronger than what is wrong with me. Just because I put down the booze does not mean that I have recovered. My honesty and truth is what keeps me clean. I need to remember not WHY this happened, but WHO I AM BECOMING because this happened. Marianne Williamson told us on Sunday that "if you know what it takes to heal your life, you know what it takes to heal the world".
And to my friends and family, I ask you to be still with me and I will be still with you. We do not need to be God's together and try to figure out a solution. Sometimes just being in the moment and letting it be is all that is needed. You cannot do it alone and you also cannot count on someone else to do it for you.
Elizabeth Vargas astounded me with a fact at the beginning of her chat on Saturday. "Only 10% of those suffering from drug and or alcohol problems get help." I want to erase the stigma of what recovery looks like so women, men and children aren't afraid to ask for help when they need it! We need to start by recognizing and identifying what makes us anxious instead of ignoring and suppressing it and letting it get bigger. Mostly everyone on this planet could benefit from recovery because recovery is "returning to a normal state of health, mind or strength." I promise that there is lightness within your pain.
The only failure is the failure we haven't learned from. And I need to remember to say NICE things to myself because I am the only one listening. Please believe me when I say that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Sobriety is sanity and sanity is stillness.
I am here for you. I will be still with you. I love you.