December 9th, 2019
It’s been two years today since I had my last drink. Fun fact: that last drink was a small bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that I had sitting in my trunk; it was the last bottle of booze I had left. I drank it so fast I only tasted it afterword, and then I decided I was going to stop. At that point, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be forever. But I had to know if I could quit for at least a few days.
A few days later, I ended up in the hospital, hallucinating and completely broken, lost over who I was. I’ve written about this part before (some of it is quite funny, most of it was the worst thing ever and I don’t recommend it), but it led to me understanding that drinking was just never going to be a part of who I was ever again.
I talk a lot. If you follow me at all, you know that. On Facebook, I don’t just tell you what I’m watching, like a normal person; I write paragraphs and passages about what I think and how things make me feel that no one really asks for. On Instagram, I’m even worse; I break the “pretty picture, clever caption” rule like it’s my job, regularly composing page-long monologues about whatever it is that I need to say that day. I do this so often they’re the base of my new website (shameless plug, enter my name plus “dot com” and you’re there).
So, in celebrating this anniversary, I decided that I had to dig deep. Pick a secret that nobody knows and share it, with the hope that it can be helpful.
I knew which secret right away. I wish I didn’t, but I did, and here it is:
I was embarrassed to ever be yours.
Whether I was your friend, or brother, or son, or nephew, or co-worker, or significant other, or dad, I spent most of my life deeply ashamed that I was that person in your life.
My relationship with this shame and guilt, as you can imagine, was both irrational and toxic. I could love other people, but I could never love myself, because how could I? I wasn’t good at anything, and I was decent at best at the things I could do. I was naturally anxious, and awkward, and my relationship with the darkness of the world was confusing and fluid. Understanding right and wrong became a series of mistakes and rationalizations. And to even begin to get past this, I had to give in completely.
So why am I sharing this? It’s not for a want of pity or a cry for help.
No, I tell you this because I don’t think I’m the only one.
I don’t hear a lot of people talk like this. Not without it being drenched in humor or diluted as a meme. And I think it’s important to say and normalize, because it wasn’t just killing me emotionally; I was literally killing myself slowly every single day, and I didn’t know how to get out.
I don’t give advice. At least, I try not to. So all I can do is tell you what I did.
And what I had to do was believe in something.
And by something, I mean anything. Anything that wasn’t myself, and anything that was more than a drink. Something that made me want to be better, something that made me want to be kinder. And I had to hold on to that something like my life depended on it because, like I said, it fucking did.
And then once I fully believed in something, I added another thing to believe in. And then another one. And another one. Until I had a collection of things that were bigger than me that I completely had faith and believed in.
And then I understood if someone like me could believe in all these people and things, then I could believe in myself.
And I do.
I like me. I think I’m a valuable piece of this world. I’m not perfect, but more importantly, I know that. I spend a lot of time thinking about and doing things that I believe make me and the universe better.
And that’s the lesson.
As I start year three, I have new things I want to do. I have new goals I want to achieve, and a whole galaxy to explore.
But on a day like today it feels so good to say:
I feel proud to be yours.
Thank you. ❤