FEATURED ON THEFIX.COM

Some news! My recent coming out post was published on the recovery website, TheFix.com! Many thanks to the staff there! Please maybe possibly go take a look, LIKE the post, share it, etc? Maybe they’ll let me put something there again if the response is positive?

HERE IT IS

I wanted this post to be widely read for a lot of different reasons. But mostly it was my need for…

ACCOUNTABILITY

Once upon a time, I was a recovering addict living a life of sobriety completely out in the open for everyone to see. There was no more shame. I addressed it like the disease that it was and made no apologies for my condition. I regained the trust of family and friends through my actions. I became of service by telling my story through art. By living a rich and fulfilling sober life out in the open, I became responsible not only to myself but to everyone around me. I knew that I couldn’t just show up to a friends birthday party and pick up a beer without there being a whole lot of drama. And while this accountability to others was obviously not at all what kept me sober exclusively, it certainly was a significant tool in staying clean for as long as I did.

Once relapsed, my world began to shrink so quickly. It was like experiencing countless deaths at one time. Ok, fine. Maybe it wasn’t THAT dramatic but it certainly felt that way at the time. There were people I couldn’t see anymore. I couldn’t see them because I couldn’t stand the thought of them seeing me the way I was: drunk. People gradually floated away because I essentially untied the tether of our relationships and allowed them to drift. No effort could be made to maintain what we once had because I wasn’t who I once was. They wouldn’t know me and I wouldn’t know them.

So I met new people. And while it’s true that I would have met new people anyway had I still been sober, I wouldn’t have gone to such lengths to keep the new separate from the old. The new allowed me to drink the way I wanted to because they didn’t know. The old allowed me to drink the way I wanted to because I didn’t let them see and they no longer had a say. And, so, I essentially spent six years entirely alone. Not alone in the sense that I didn’t have love or the presence of others. I was alone in my own place of prolonged purgatory. I kept a secret that no segment of my now fractured life could be in on. And while I made some progress artistically and managed to not completely destroy all of the new relationships I had made, I was alone in my disease once more.

This “coming out” became absolutely necessary for me. I realized that even if I managed to get myself completely sober alone for a long period of time, my life wouldn’t start to become functional again until I reconciled it and broke down the walls of the compartments that I was so carefully keeping everyone within. Everyone’s situation is different. For me, this was the only way to true freedom. And the only way I wanted it to be.

I also am very excited about the prospect of others reading the post who might be sitting silent in the shame closet wondering how they will EVER be able to live a life openly. Maybe this will plant the very beginning of an idea.

Please don’t get me wrong! I am not insinuating that anyone should run out and tell the world right this instant like I did. I know there are a lot of situations where that kind of impulsive act could do more damage than good. If you can live a happy and healthy sober life without everyone knowing you had a problem, DO THAT IF IT’S WHAT YOU NEED! There is no judgment. DO WHAT KEEPS YOU SOBER. Always. But if you feel yourself sitting in total discomfort and shame even once you’ve got some sober time under your belt like I did, it MIGHT have something to do with the secrets still being kept. That is what was going on with me. And I can only tell you what my experience has been.

Lastly, the one piece of the puzzle that I have not yet laid down on the board is the fact that this blog exists and not everyone I’ve come out to knows about it. With this publication, my name is out there now. I’m certain it would be easy for someone I know to stumble upon this at any given time. I’m not quite ready to hand over the key voluntarily to everyone and say HEY! GO HERE AND READ ABOUT EVERY DISGUSTING AND BEAUTIFUL DETAIL! I will. Slowly. That’s where I’m at.

In the meantime, if you happen to know me personally and are reading this and wondering why I didn’t tell you about the blog, please know that it was done as a means of self-protection and preservation. I knew I needed to be vocal about what I was feeling to get and stay sober but was not in a place where I was ready for you to hear ALLLL about it. I mean. I talked about my bowel movements and how quitting drinking impacted them, for Christ’s sake. Not the kind of thing you go running to your mates about. HEY, STACY! GIRL, READ THIS POST I WROTE ABOUT POO AND HEADACHES! OK LOVE YOU BYEEEE!

8 comments

  1. I tweeted this and liked it on Facebook for you John! xoxo, Lisa (i.e. Marie Bitterbrew)

    > The Six Year Hangover > Friday, July 25, 2014 11:14 AM > 6yearhangover posted: “Some news! My recent coming out post was > published on the recovery website, TheFix.com! Many thanks to the > staff there! Please maybe possibly go take a look, LIKE the post, > share it, etc? Maybe they’ll let me put something there again if the > response is p” >

  2. Love this!! You did it for your sobriety & your chances have just improved a TON! This is what its all about my friend…

  3. Well, congratulations! I am really proud of you. I still tear up when I think about your post where you talked to your Mom. As a Mom, I was so happy to read that! I am glad your old and new worlds have come together. I am glad you decided in April that enough was enough and you needed to get sober again. Some people don’t make it through. You are making it through – one day at a time! You are drawing on your past experience and your talent in writing to help yourself, and very altruistically, so many others.

    1. I am so proud of YOU. I remember those early days not long ago when it was all still very raw for me and you reached out and somehow we helped one another through that exchange. It’s amazing and I don’t think a lot of people realize that by reaching out to someone else, they are simultaneously helping THEM in THEIR sobriety. Such a gift and I am grateful for you each and every day. XO

  4. I read this and it almost made me cry – I have no idea how you know what I’m thinking but you continue to do it.

    I’ve been reconnecting with friends, some who knew about my drinking problem, some who didn’t. I’m struggling with letting everyone know but I’ve gotten better at being honest with myself and them.

    A couple of weeks ago, I got the feeling I needed to understand who I was, to be who I am. I wanted to really let go of the past, but not before I revisited it and reconciled the truth. I felt that would make it easier to reconcile with others.

    I’ve been keeping a journal for the last year, most of it pre-sobriety. I spent a day going through the journal, from then to now. It was amazing the secret I was living and the damage it did to myself and others. It was as if I was eavesdropping on a private conversation between two strangers, I did not recognize the person writing the words. It was a tremendously healing experience and I realized that I blamed others and made a lot of excuses for my behaviors. I let people down and most importantly, I let myself down.

    I have still not “come out” completely to my family, although I did have a convo with my aunt. They know some of the BS having experienced it but they don’t know all the agony I experienced in that dark drunken ally where I spent 10+ years.

    I can’t help but hope they notice the new me, the real me and are silently relieved that I have taken my life back. I know in time, the conversations will happen, they’ve started too ever so gently. And right now that is enough for me. I feel the courage in me that I lost during the dark years coming back.

    You are a very courageous and amazing man. Thank you for sharing your journey; you have no idea how much it has helped me on mine.

    1. Whenever someone takes the time to reach out like this and tell me a little bit about THEIR journey, it brings me such joy. I am so proud of YOU and the steps you are taking. This progress is absolutely astounding and you should be sooooo very proud of yourself. I’m certainly proud of you. You are taking ownership over your recovery. I’m so happy that the courage is coming back. You deserve nothing but peace and joy and happiness, my dear. XO

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