Shame is the Nemesis of Sobriety

When I was still drinking I felt terrible shame all the time. I was ashamed that I kept breaking promises to myself, that my kids sometimes saw me drunk, that I was too weak to deny myself a bottle of wine on a weeknight.

I woke up with anxious dread more often than not. And then the shame came in like black fog approaching and engulfing me.

It would make sense that if I felt shame and could identify the problem, I’d just cut it out. But I didn’t. I thought I couldn’t.

I felt like something was inherently wrong with me. I felt defeated and nearly worthless. All this while pretending everything was, “Great, thanks for asking!” I did the mom things and the professional things. I tried to look all put together.

And I guarded my secret like my life depended on it.

I’d feel the shame, lie and hide, isolate, and separate myself from my feelings. Then I’d be triggered to drink, by habit, and then by what seemed like need. Then I’d drink. Enough to try to forget I had an empty space where my feelings used to be. And the next day? Shame. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The cycle I didn’t think I could break.

I figured out the antidote for my shame. It’s genuine human connection and honesty. It’s the support and encouragement I get from my many sober sisters. It’s recognizing and carefully nurturing all my good character traits, and there are lots of them. It’s being honest when I’m struggling, when I’m overwhelmed snd anxious. It’s recognizing that feelings aren’t facts, and they don’t last forever. It’s showing up for myself in my life, and asking for help when I need help.

If you have trouble with your drinking, you’re not a bad person, you’re not alone, and there’s a whole community out here ready to support you. There’s always room for one more.

Happy Tuesday, sober family. Keep it simple today.

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