So here I am with my very first blog post. I have to say that I have had a certain amount of anxiety about writing from my heart and then sending it out into the vast abyss of the internet. But then I reminded myself that there will most likely only be a handful of close friends that read it. At least in the beginning.
Today the thing that has been on my mind is honesty. My thoughts about it started this morning and I have been sort of ruminating on them all day. Nearly every morning, my husband and I get up before dawn so that we can start our day off with a 12-step meeting before we go to work. Friday morning is a ticket meeting. Someone from the group hands out tickets to everybody and if, during the meeting, your number gets called, you share. I have a love-hate relationship with this particular meeting. Every time I feel like I have something to share (which isn’t all that often), my number isn’t called. Yet, when my mind is blank and I have nothing to add, my number comes up every time. This morning was no exception. I was feeling mostly content, with nothing really weighing heavy on my heart, when my number was called. First. It was the very first number called. Ugh. Before I could discreetly cover up my ticket so no one near me would know, I had opened my mouth and started speaking.
What I spoke about was honesty. When I was drinking I lied about everything, big and small. I lied to friends, family, employers, therapists, the random person on the street. Everyone. It seems to be what we alcoholics do. We do it to save face, to avoid consequences, to minimize our addiction. I did it so that everyone would think that I had it all together. I’m fine, thank you very much. No problem here. Yes, I did blackout last night. No, I have no idea what I said or did, or even how I got home…but no, no problem at all. The lies were endless.
When I decided to try to get sober, the lies didn’t stop. They did change. I no longer lied outright, instead I lied by omission. Looking back, I think I did it for all the same reasons. I wanted everyone in the recovery community to think that I was getting well, that I “got it.” There’s a saying that goes around the rooms that says we’re as sick as our secrets. And boy, was I sick. I held onto those secrets as tightly as I could. I shared what I thought was acceptable while wallowing, alone, in my horrible secrets. And you know what happened? I drank again.
This time around, I am doing things differently. I’m doing my best to be honest with those close to me. I have shared all of those demoralizing, ugly truths about myself. I have surrendered to honesty. Here’s the kicker – it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I am surprised by the amount of grace that has been showered on me by those I have shared with. All of those things that I thought would drive people away have ended up bringing them closer. It’s so liberating to not have to lie anymore. The simple act of being honest has changed my life for the better.
So what that it took me 40 years to figure that out…I’m a work in progress.