Erm, what, Jen? Yup. It’s my 2nd birthday today. My two-year mark and going into my third year of sobriety. And I feel like celebrating.
I celebrated last year, but it was a very small sort of celebration. I’d only talked about my decision to stop drinking with a few close friends and it still didn’t seem particularly real or permanent. In some ways it still doesn’t. But I’m at the point now where I want other people to know. I’m tired of hiding and being ashamed about this struggle. It’s not something I chose. Or something that’s “wrong” with me. It’s one of the many tiny parts of me that’s made me who I am. And I’m coming to realize that that “me” is pretty great including those flaws.
Am I embarrassed that I have to take this extreme stance against alcohol? Yeah. I am. I wish I could enjoy it like lots of other people. When things go well, alcohol is so fun and good. And when things don’t go well (and this isn’t a rare occurrence with me) it’s so so bad.
I’m not saying this because I want pity or for anyone to feel any differently towards me. I’m writing this to free myself of this huge weight that’s been on my shoulders. I want it to be known that this is a part of me. Because some day I may need help from my friends. And it’s so much easier if I don’t have to tell the story from the beginning.
And maybe it’s a part of me that someone might be wondering if it’s a part of them, too. I have been so fortunate to have the friends and mentors that I have around me. (I would give them a huge shout out here, but, you know, anonymous) But they’ve let me hear “me, too” about their struggles and honestly? It made all. the. difference.
To know that I’m not alone. Not a freak. Not even a bad person. I’m a person. Human. Flawed. Wonderful. Person.
Recovering alcoholic is just one of the long list of terms that can describe me. That’s an important distinction. It describes me. It doesn’t define me. I define me.
So with this new year (and I’m kind of happy January 1st is my birthday; it lends itself to optimism) I’m looking forward with hope. And a fair bit of wariness. I’m not a new person overnight; I worry (another word that describes me: “worrier”).
I don’t know what this year brings. Except that I know it will bring happiness, and tears, and anger and all their friends. It will bring life. It will bring death. But for now, I’m ditching “shame”. At least a little bit. It’s waaaayyy too heavy to carry around.
I’ll end this by saying, “Hi. I’m Jen. And I’m an alcoholic”. I’m taking the power back from that phrase, owning it and, if possible, finding a way for it to help me rather than hold me back. We’re all on Team Jen around here. Welcome, 2018.
About the Author
I’m just a PNW mama taking it one day at a time. I split my time between designing kids rooms and playing with my own kiddos. My heart lives in Seattle, Kansas City and San Fran. And I’m crazy about my sports teams.