Thanks so much for this all-too-familiar observation. I remember when alcohol was my solution, and then it stopped being my solution; fun — fun with problems and finally, problems. As you so pointedly observed, the people you work with, the people you see ‘out there’ are all knee-deep in that solution — and they all come up with the same answers, unfortunately for both men and women, the aspect of denial is huge — that idiotic, bullshit posture that tells us this is the way we’re supposed to be — to have those expectations — to do those things we are told make us feel good or take us out of ourselves — to deny us of who we are — our authentic selves, as opposed to the fake ones we drag around all day — the fake ones who settle for trinkets and shiny objects and temporary fixes. You’re lucky — no — I don’t think luck has a lot to do with it — like you, I was willing, because I just couldn’t stand the idea of waking up in the morning and looking at myself in the mirror and saying “oh christ, YOU again’. Here’s the thing we all get to do when we become sober — we can lead by example — the example that says “you don’t have to get loaded if you don’t want to” — you can deal with the day to day and it no longer defines you. You can actually gain empathy towards people because you realize we’re all stuck in this — none of us will make it out of life alive, and that we’re denying ourselves of our humanity. And fuck those idiots who wonder why you don’t want to get drunk anymore — they look at you with a goodly degree of envy and wish. They look at you as someone who has gotten a life back — a life with wonder and possibilities — a life where you don’t have to pretend — a life where you get to be who you were always meant to be. That’s what this crazy thing called sobriety is all about. Not getting an old life back — but getting a new, full and amazing one. Yeah, you get to hang out in the deep end of the pool and you get to remember what you said the night before — and you get to have a meaningful conversation and not hear the same joke every five minutes — you get to wake up in the morning, and not come-to.
I cannot begin to tell you the number of newcomers I see every day — lost because their best imaginary friend, the one who lives inside their head, has continued stabbing them in the back and they want it to stop. Betrayed because all the bullshit they’ve read and watched and were told were just manipulations to get and buy and be things that are false and made up and useless. Women who have been fed unreal expectations and told lies over self-image and self-worth are filled with a sense of dread and shame. But the thing that’s lovely about AA, and you don’t have to be a fan or believe in the 12-steps to know that people who have been there, done that and come out the other side, are there to tell you about it and to tell you it’s okay — you can be who you are and no one will judge you, no one will point fingers and blame.
You have two years — and what’s happening to you is one of the promises and gifts they always talk about. Finding a new life. But more than that, you gain empathy, an understanding we’re all in this boat together. Sure, there are assholes — lots of assholes- the Bro Culture is alive and well and we’re saving seats for them. You just don’t have to be part of it — you don’t have to participate. You get to be yourself — and fuck them if they don’t like it. For the first time, you get to like who YOU are — and it shows. Believe me, it shows.
In essence, you GO girl!