Out and proud…?

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?

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7 thoughts on “Out and proud…?”

  1. I hear you on every level. In all the talk about “recover out loud” I’ve never heard your simple question: “are you publicly sober.” I would say that, yes, I am, though I know some would disagree. I say “yes” because literally every person in the world who knows anything meaningful about me in my current life knows. I have not “announced” it on Facebook, because I have too many people on there who in reality are not really friends. But, my real friends on Facebook, do know. Similarly, I go by HD on twitter because not is that actually my nickname, but because I want random strangers on the internet to at least have to do “some” work before finding out who I am. And maybe where I live, etc. So back to your situation: I’d think about whether these 4 people are actual friends or are “just” acquaintances whom you happen to be connected to on Facebook. I do think that a service we can provide is to be “known” for what we are, but in a manageable circle. Speaking of rambling! Wish you the best!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks HD. You are right of course, and I need to think about the people that I will be announcing it to. Most friends and family know, I guess, but not necessarily the extent or what it means for me today. I think I’m just torn between potentially being able to help by being open, you know? Thank you my love. I hope you’re feeling a little more human x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would imagine this would be a difficult thing to do, but personally I feel you’ve done the hardest part already. Acknowledging it to yourself and doing what needs to be done is just an amazing achievement. It’s one of those things that, like “coming out” is actually nobody’s business but those immediately surrounding you. Do it, don’t do it…it’s your decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My journey started for health reasons but I struggled with the whole idea of cutting alcohol out of my life. STRUGGLED. That struggle made me realize I had a problem. Only a few very close friends know about the struggle and the many multiple attempts it took for me to ditch alcohol altogether. I would say most who know me just know I don’t drink for health reasons but not of the long road to get there. If someone comes to me and wants to talk about alcohol in their life, I am open but otherwise I don’t share much about it publicly. I follow the posse on twitter because we have common goals/thoughts about sobriety so if someone looked they could figure it out but I don’t talk about it much. How’s that for an answer 🙂

    Like

  4. As you know, I am not really a Recovering Out Loud person, nor is it my favourite expression especially when those who do consciously or unconsciously shame those who are Recovering Quietly. I don’t owe the world the journey of my recovery. But I am willing to share it in the way that makes me comfortable. Just because I don’t post publicly or announce to everyone at work, doesn’t mean I have shame around it (some will argue I do, but screw them…lol).

    Anyway, see how I made that about me? Damn alcoholic.

    Regarding your post – do what feels right for you. Don’t feel that you need to join the gang. You may or may not be on a crusade. I get the sense that you are happy where you are right now. Your blog is reaching others, and you help others on Twitter. You are very empathetic and are opening up more. That is how I started too. I will never be leading crusades on alcoholism or recovery. It’s not my jam. Others do it and it’s great. But it’s not me. It may not be you either.

    In the end, if you want to privately message others ,that is something. But we’re not out to “save” others. We can be there if they need us, and we can share our story, and how we got and stayed sober, and we can carry the message of hope, but I don’t have a cape and I also can’t help someone who isn’t interested in being helped.

    Great post…keep sharing 🙂

    Paul

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As you know, I’m pretty much “out.” I came out being sober on Facebook to all of my friends and acquaintances quickly (like day 1). I knew I needed the support of my friends at the time. I also had posted about my stints with sobriety before. I had a friend hit me up via messenger asking me what was going on. “You seem to do this quite a lot,” she said. And I did, but I got honest with her and told her that I was going to meetings and that this time, it had to stop.

    I also called all of my closest friends, my fraternity brothers, and talked extensively with them about what was going on in the first few days. It was amazing how my college drinking buddies were supportive — that’s because they are true friends, more than drinking friends.

    I have also vacillated between being fully public and semi-public. I don’t always publish my writings with my full name and I don’t (currently) have my full name on my sober twitter profile — but I’m conscious that if someone wants to find the connection it wouldn’t be too difficult since I regularly retweet from @soberboots to my technology profile and vice versa.

    What I can tell you about my non-anonymity is that it has brought nothing but good things my way. I am sure that won’t always be the case, but so far, nothing bad has resulted. I’ve had several friends and acquaintances reach out with questions about how to get sober. Some have embarked on the journey and others haven’t — it’s that readiness thing. Recently, an ex-girlfriend who I’d carried a grudge against for 16 years reached out via my blog’s Facebook page with her own struggles with opiates. I finally was able to forgive her and be forgiven for our past. She’s struggling, but she seems to be on the right path.

    I’d like to think that I don’t shame anyone about staying anonymous. It’s a highly personal decision, and I respect everyone who chooses to stay anonymous in the same way that I respect people who chose to be “out.”

    Finally, I’d be super psyched if you found me on Facebook and became my friend there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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