I’M COMING OUT

I woke up yesterday morning with a fire burning in my belly. The night before, I had spent the evening occasionally having to make excuses about why I wasn’t having a cocktail or why I wasn’t headed to the bar with everyone after my friend’s performance. Why? Why am I doing this? I already know that I’m no longer ashamed of this disease. Alcoholism afflicts so many people and I just happen to be one of them. So if I’m not ashamed, why does my behavior still say that I am? By remaining silent, I am telling everyone around me that having this disease is something to be embarrassed by and ashamed of. Also, it just makes daily life extremely difficult to navigate. I got sober to STOP the hiding. It just seems entirely incongruous with what I’m trying to do. I’m ready to have fun, go places, and be a part of things without having to explain myself. If everyone just knew that I don’t drink anymore, it would alleviate so much stress and planning… and plotting… and scheming. Sound familiar, fellow addicts? While I know everyone has to do this on their own terms and in their own time, I felt as if I was continuing to engage in addict behavior by keeping this secret any longer. And the secret was no longer being kept to protect my sobriety. It was being kept to avoid the temporary discomfort of being suddenly exposed. I decided I was ready to face that discomfort head on.

SO. In a blinding and glorious light, I penned a letter to EVERYONE I know. I posted it on Facebook, I sent it by email. And it was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. I feel like I am flying. And the outpouring of support has been incredible. I never realized how much the pressures of secrecy weighed until I shook it all off.

I have to be honest. I was initially terrified. I felt as if I had taken off all of my clothes and went running through The Olive Garden naked. I expected people might throw endless breadsticks and salad pieces but instead, they all paused, gave me the once over, and said, “DAAAMMMMN, SON. YOUR ASS IS LOOKING TIGHT!” And I realized that I am surrounded by love and people who care and are willing to help. But the funny thing about help is that you have to ASK for it. And be willing to be truthful.

Here is what I said:

Hi friends, family, and colleagues! I felt a certain responsibility to make sure you knew what was going on with me because I care about you, appreciate you, and value your opinion of me.

This is a very weird way to do this but I thought logistically it makes the most sense and I’ll supplement this with personal messages and calls where necessary. Let me preface this by saying that THIS IS GOOD NEWS. As far as I am concerned, it is. And I know these kinds of posts can make people uncomfortable. That’s not my goal! This is my ripping off the band aid. 

So guess what!? I’m sober! Again. I’ve recommitted myself to recovery and am in a program doing work to abstain from alcohol and reclaim my life. I have been 100% sober for a little over 3 months now.

I know this is going to cause some confusion for quite a few of you, some relief for a handful of you, and a lot of you will just be like, “Ok, cool. Whatever.” But I need to do this because my world has sort of fractured and compartmentalized itself over the past 5-6 years and while I am generally in a good place now, I just need to make sure everyone is on the same page who cares to know.

After being in long term recovery, I started drinking again to varying degrees of excess. There have been dry spells, heavy drinking spells, and many attempts at moderation. I’m telling you because accountability is something that’s very important to me. And if I care about you, I feel it’s disrespectful for me to keep it from you. Also, I wanted you to know why I’m drinking so much seltzer and lime when I’m out with you somewhere. While saying, “I’m trying to be healthy!” is not a lie, it’s a little more intense than that.

Some of you knew about my past problem and maybe assumed I was still not drinking. Some of you knew that I relapsed and will be relieved by this message. And some of you had no idea because you met me when I was already back in the thick of it. But maybe you raised an eyebrow or two at how things were going down.

You guys, look. I was never private about getting sober before. And that really helped me remain accountable. I thought maybe the work I did before was enough to keep me clean but it wasn’t. I stopped doing the work I needed to do. But I got back. And like last time, I am once again making myself accountable. This is a disease. I believe that with my whole being. And remaining silent is basically telling myself and everyone else that this is something to be ashamed of. And it’s not.

Also, I know addiction is very hard for people to wrap their brains around if they’ve never been addicted to a substance. No one willingly goes back to the darkness of this disease. It’s too miserable of a place to go voluntarily and oftentimes ends in death. It has nothing to do with willpower, smart choices, or strength of character. I hope you all know that. I thought I could control it. I couldn’t. Now I’m ready to get better.

That all being said, I’m in a program, have lots of support through various in person and online groups, and am actually so thrilled to be incorporating my continued recovery back into my life once more. I forgot how good this feels.

I won’t bore you any longer. Time to be happy, get more theatre made, and be a big boy. I’m open to questions one on one if you have them. More than happy to chat. Thanks for listening!

XO

So. That’s that. I’m no longer hiding from anyone at all. And it feels fucking amazing. That being said, I’d like to introduce myself to you. You all have blown me away with your support and I never expected that this blog would become such an integral part of my recovery. I love you all and wish you nothing but years of peace and joy!

Hi! My name is John. And I’m a fucking alcoholic! Now you can stop emailing me and calling me 6 Year Hangover. Because that shit was starting to get really creeeeepy.

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57 comments

  1. YAY John!!! Shame has been a HUGE factor for me as well and you just inspired the sh!t outta me!!! KUDOS!!! You’re a brave man, among many things and thank GOD for this blog! ❤ XOXO

  2. ha ha LOVE this 🙂 hi john! I spent last night reading your blog from start to finish….so firstly I want to blame you for my sleep deprived state today 😉 and secondly thank you for writing with such honesty and HUMOUR! I try my best to look at things with a giggle most times and this is sometimes met with…..”um…hello lady, you have a very serious problem here?!” but who gives a shit! congratulations on coming out….you little star you 😉 x

  3. John, You have made my day!!! This has simply made me happy! And thank you for allowing us to see this! I personally needed to see it, because I have been feeling like I am “flawed” in a way. Yes, I need to let go of the shame..as I am only reinforcing the stigma. But reading this has brought a big smile to my face! I’m going to keep this with me, as a reminder to myself that my shame is in my own head, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I know this to be true…but the disease still pokes at me in a way that it knows will get my attention. I have been sedated for so long…and sober now for over 7 months. My confidence will come back sooner or later. Reading your blog has helped me and brought joy to me so many days. Congratulations on finding your Mojo!!!!!!! ❤

  4. Hi John. Awesome way to bring recovery to everyone’s inbox! It is nice to meet you, and see you. BTW I am Laura, and I am the one who sent you the email of Maddie from Dance Mom’s teaching Jimmy Kimmel her dance routine. Those are my last names on that email.
    So, nice to meet you, and rock on!
    PS. You don’t look fat, why do you keep saying that?? Oh, never mind, I know, those self esteem issues all of us alcoholics seem to have 🙂

  5. Extremely WELL DONE!!!!! And I had a suspicion you were probably cute 😉

    Very brave, very liberating! That took guts!! Bravo, John!

  6. I did the same thing John when I decided to get sober and you’re right…it is liberating and makes things so much easier. I’m so proud of you! xoxo Lisa

  7. Bravo!!!! I am in awe of your bravery! I have told a few friends, but lack the courage to get it all out there. What you did is simply amazing and IMO so important to protecting your recovery. Since telling my close friends, I lack the anxiety of wondering if I will be pressured to drink. They know and support me. With my friends that don’t know, I feel extreme anxiety and feel pressure (whether they pressure me to drink or not.) Also, I can go back to drinking with the ones that don’t know about my issue without consequences..which is very dangerous. You must feel extremely liberated and free. Your honesty to others creates extreme accountability and protection for your sobriety. I hope to do what you have done one day 🙂

  8. Said it before John, you nailed it! You re-inspire me to come out again – it truly is soooo freeing. Have a fan-flipping-tastic day.

  9. HI John, I’m Lora that lives Kona.Bet you couldn’t of guessed that.Great step in self protection .You inspire me daily.Day three today no cravings,no anxiety.No desire.

  10. Well Bless Your Heart! (said like a Southern grandmother) – so proud of you, very grateful for your blog every day! Day 23 here and you are helping to keep me going! You must be relieved. Woo hoo!

  11. Nothing quite like outing yourself on Facebook. I did that too, and it was my most “liked” post this year. The very cool thing now is the people who feel comfortable approaching me and talking about their own drinking problems… by outing myself, I’m able to support more people who never dreamed I even had a prob. So honesty, YAY for that. Love the goggle photo. What’s your dog’s name? Or is that over-sharing?

  12. John!!!
    You, are amazing!!

    Pardon the overuse of exclamation points (what other symbol is there?)

    My friend, YOU, are an absolute inspiration to me and to all of us who are struggling to just get that first day, week or hour sober, I’ve never been so emotionally connected to an intimate stranger in my entire life, and for that..Thank You.

    I don’t know how to express the gratitude I have for you for being so open and honest from day one and for you to expose yourself (and likeness) to the world, I say ” Fukin Bravissimo!” You are the real thing.

    Please understand that you make a difference, in more ways than you may ever give yourself credit for, and realize that you are an inspiration to many.

    Thank you for your humor, honesty and BALLS, it takes to “Come Out” to the world. I applaud you SIR and I look forward to your next post (we all do).

    With respect and gratitude,

    Keith.

    P.S. Yes, you are cute, sooo not “Fat” and more importantly.. a beautiful soul.

    With the utmost, Bro-Love

    Thank You

  13. I think there’s a point in recovery where coming out seems possible and preferable, and it’s usually the point where we think – yeah, I GOT this. I am kicking the shit out of alcoholism right now.

    I’m glad you’re here! Know what you mean about having people call you by a non-name, too, which is why I changed my moniker.

  14. Well hello there John! Congratulations on being open and honest not only with the people in your real world, but with us here too. I look forward to the day I do the same and I’m pleased to hear it has been liberating for you. Much respect x

  15. Hi John!!! You rock! That letter was amazing and so brave! Loooove your blog! I thought I was crazy when I ordered a virgin drink and then freaked out when I was drinking it because I was so afraid they didn’t hear me and then I read your post about the same thing!! Loved that!

  16. Yeah!!!!!!! Oh my god the complete freedom in being completely free with the truth. There is nothing to fear.. wonderful! WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!! xxxxx

  17. even though i dont know you, im still proud of you! im in recovery myself and this journey hasnt been easy. I cant tell you how many times iv gone out and kept getting asked if i wanted a drink..only for me to say no thank you everytime. But everytime it got easier. My first sponsor told me something that always stuck with me : “relapse isnt/ doesnt have to be a part of recovery, but its a part of my recovery and my story” we all have our own opinions on this..but you having 3 months is a huge accomplishment!! 🙂

  18. Hi John…I’m Patti & I’m an alcoholic!!! Yay! You DID IT! I was sooo very guarded at the beginning, but as sober time marched on I was actually so very proud I told anyone who mentioned it..
    FREE AT LAST 🙂

  19. You are a rock star John!!! It feels good to tell people. I posted and you replied to my Irish family party event a while ago -my first drinking event as a non-drinker where I was forced to be bartender…… Anyway, I have since told my mom, my aunt and a whole party of people on the 4th of July. Yes, it was weird, scary, uncomfortable, at first and mostly my feeling not theirs – but I felt liberated too. And I got support although I did have to explain it to a couple of family members who don’t see the problem……Oi!!!

    So, hi John, I’m Meredith and I am an alcoholic too.

    Thanks as always for sharing unconditionally. Have a great day. Continue to inspire us with your wit and your wisdom!!! You’ve made a huge difference in my life and from reading the posts on this blog, in others lives too.

  20. How wonderful! I’m new to finding you, and new to sobriety. Have to say that you are such a talented writer, very very very funny, and a complete and utter inspiration:) Thank you! xo

  21. Hi John!!! I see now :). AWESOME! You are a courageous man!!! I hope you realize how amazing this is! Very proud! XO

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