In the past few days, I’ve heard of four people I know with an alcohol problem, or problem drinking. Some I knew about, others I didn’t (and won’t be naming here).
At one point, in my early futile attempts to get sober, or in my early sobriety, I was looking for signs that everyone had as dysfunctional a relationship with alcohol that I had. Whether to justify my having a drink, or to feel less bitter about the fact that they could drink and I couldn’t, I’m not sure. But nonetheless, I was hung up on that for a while.
And now, I hear things that sound the warning bells and flash the red lights and I feel sad. The things I’m relating to are worrying, as it’s the sort of thing I did when I was desperate and drowning. One is drinking again after AA meetings, and laughing his destruction off as ‘over dramatic’ and ‘I still like a party is all’. But I also see him isolating, apologising on Facebook days after a session, and being extremely depressed. Another is adamant they barely drink, but smelling of alcohol at work and getting shaky hands before their scheduled lunch (away from their desk and the office. Returning full of cheer and smelling of slightly less stale booze). One is arranging for their partner to hide several full bottles of wine for her nightly tipple, while discreetly taking the empties, so family and visitors don’t know she is drinking at all. And another has celebrated six months of sobriety, decided it’s boring, and is now trapped back again in the cycle, isolating and portraying that she’s having a blast (I’ve spoken to her prior and I’m not buying the latest twist in her story).
And now, I’m wondering if I should be more open about my own alcoholism and subsequent sobriety. On Facebook (yes, I know) as that’s the only connection to some. I know when I was struggling, I wanted to talk to someone who might understand, but I knew of no one. I felt alone. And yet I read about celebrities sober stories, or rehab stays, or tragic demises due to their drug of choice, with a fever – I am like them. But I don’t know how to start getting well.
I know I can’t help everyone. I know that not everyone who drinks heavily has a problem. And I know that if they do, I can’t really do anything until they can admit to themselves that they have a problem and want to stop. But I feel I should do something, and that being more visible may help that. Maybe they’ll just know that if they need to reach out, they can. Or that I might understand or relate.
If I do, I’ll need to speak to my family first, and others before, as I’d hate for them to find out via Facebook. I seem to be pondering an awful lot at the moment without actually doing anything about it, I’ve just realised! At least I’m getting it durn here, rather than staying in my head, I guess.
Are you publicly sober? And if so, how did you know it was the right time to go public?