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Coming out...

Old 11-07-2009, 06:38 AM
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"I think I can. I think I can"
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Coming out...

Normally not a term I thought would apply to me but in this situation it does. I think in some respects I understand how a gay person feels when it is time. I am sure there are major differences and won't pretend to know how the other feels but I know I feel anxiety and fear. I feel I will be treated differently, looked at differently, spoken to differently, whispered about, pointed to, pitied, misunderstood and isoslated. I feel all things things will be how I am reacted to the rest of my life. I already am deeply concerned about the rest of my life without alcohol so this definitely doesn't help.

On the other side of the coin and there are always two sides. I am ready to admit I am an alcoholic. Me and hundreds of thousands of other people. I am not abnormal, I have a house, three kids, loving husband of 8 years, I am class Mom, member of PTO, take my kids to sports on weekends, I have a masters degree and was a teacher for ten years. I am the mom you see in the grocery store, on the sidelines, dragging kids around the mall and out in big groups of women for a girls night out where everyone has a well deserved drink. BUT I am different I can't have one well deserved drink. I have many. I cannot no matter how hard I try need more. I need it everyday. I want it everyday. It is usually the first thing in my head in the morning. I think about that first drink all day. It took me two weeks to realize I had a problem bigger then me. Two weeks of trying to not drink. I couldn't do it. Through research I found out I had most of the symptoms of alcoholism, I failed all the tests on-line, even worse I craved it every night and would always break down and drink perhaps more then before, but I never had a rock bottom. I got the big book and it hit home. This is me. I am one of them. Complete shock. I had no idea (looking back now, maybe I did). I am still getting used to the idea so I know friends and family will be just as shocked if not more.

I went to a meeting I need to go and want to go to more. How can I hide this. I have three kids someone needs to watch them. I hate to lie (not to myself, but to others). The one person I would need to tell right now is my mother, my babysitter, the grandma. She would be so supportive, maybe even happy I know she has questioned my drinking in the past. At that point I would be an alcoholic it would be out there. I would eventually have to tell other family members...part of me wants to. I didn't hide the fact I had diabetes...isn't this also a disease? To me it has become that simple but to others I am afraid they will not understand.

I am off to a meeting but my Mom thinks I am going to the gym. I am even wearing gym clothes. I feel the guilt of a teenage girl. I need to know what you did...how you started to come out...how it has helped or hindered your recovery. Thanks!

Off to my second meeting on Day 11!

Jo
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Old 11-07-2009, 06:53 AM
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great post. you're a really good writer. you made me feel your pain about coming clean. i can't really say i know because i haven't even told my mother that i've quit...and i'm 50...lol.

i think she knows because i'm sure our phone conversations are more coherent now. but i've told her i was quitting in the past and started drinking again. my sister just went into a rehab clinic and my brother is on and off again with his alcoholism. i just didn't want to say i've quit and then fail again.

the only people that really know about me is my immediate family, wife and 2 sons. about 4 guys i work with that pretty much know everything about me. i just told them i couldn't drink anymore. they understand. one of them is a heavy drinker and i think it has actually rubbed off on him a bit.

btw, i failed every one of those online tests too. but today is day 61 for me. it's a big one as it's homecoming for the local university. i want to go up to tailgating early and visit with people but it usually entails lots of drinking. i've made it through 3 tailgatings so far and been okay but h.c. is tougher. but i promise not to drink today. it truly is a better experience straight.

back to you, it sounds like your mom will be very supportive. don't be surprised if she doesn't already know what you're doing. we can try to be secretive but our parents know us well. i'm sure she's already seen a difference in you....a good one. i wish you luck and have already said a prayer for you.
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Old 11-07-2009, 06:54 AM
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Thank you for the post Jo. I'm anxious to see what othes have to say as I'm in somewhat the same position as you. I've told my husband I quit drinking (again) but I have not told him I went to my first AA meeting last Sat and that I'm going to one this morning. He's out with the kids today so no biggy. Last week I went 'shopping'. So, I will probably tell him this weekend about AA, but like you there are others that I feel should know but I'm just not sure how to bring it up. It was easier for me to talk after I'd had a glass or 2 of wine
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Old 11-07-2009, 07:01 AM
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I'm glad you're doing well, Jo.

When I first accepted that I was an alcoholic, I remember feeling that people would know, just by looking at me. I felt as if it was something that others could see. Of course, it wasn't like that.

I find so much love and support here at SR, and people understand. It's the knowing that we are not alone in this journey, that helps so much.
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Old 11-07-2009, 08:47 AM
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Jo - I completely understand where you are coming from. "It can't be me! Or can it?" ... was always going through my head.

What you are describing is very very typical shame that we all feel when we finally are honest with ourselves.

What I tell myself and people I am working with is that you should not be ashamed of your alcoholism. I'm not saying that you have to tell everyone about it (e.g. it is your choice who and when you tell them), but if you do tell someone, you need not feel ashamed. Here are some good points I think about whenever I start to feel ashamed:

1. I am not alone. (By the way, I have seen this really sink in with you over the past few days.) There is strength in numbers. I am just like you as are many others here.

2. Alcohol is likely genetic and passed down from my relatives. And, I'm bald too. So, who can I blame for that! Once my genes kicked in, I didn't have chance. I can't control it; I can't change it -- so why worry about it. Why be ashamed?

3. Alcohol is like a peanut allergy. If I was allergic to peanuts, I just wouldn't eat peanuts! Sort of simple, right! If you know something will kill you (e.g. cause your airpipe to be constricted), you would not have any fear of telling someone that you don't want to eat a peanut. In fact, you would be motivated to be proactive about avoiding peanuts or situations where peanuts could be ingested. I'm sure there are a few people with peanut allergies who are sad that they can't have a PB&J sandwich, but they probably got over it. (And so will you.)

4. Think about the gift I have! There are some people who have cancer or another serious illness for which there is no known cure. All I have to do is to (1) stop drinking and 2) work on new life coping skills to make me a better person overall. Hard, yes, but it is doable. We have been given a gift to learn this at an early age.

5. Would I rather be ashamed of being a great/trusted/happy/dependable father/husband/friend/citizen who happens to be a recovering alcoholic ... or ... be the angry/violent/distrustful/drunk dad who has lost his kids to child protective services?

I recognize that there is a stigma about alcoholism. We would be foolish if we didn't acknoweldge that it was out there. But, interestingly, I am finding that many of the people who have negative reaction -- they could probably use our program.

So, in summary, I think of my alcoholism recovery as (1) me avoiding the negative effects of an allergy and (2) me actively working to be a better human being and be happy while I do it.

There is nothing shameful about that. God bless. ME
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Old 11-07-2009, 10:11 AM
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I found it such a HUGE relief to stop hiding stuff and just be honest, it truly changed my life for the better and was a big step in my recovery. There were people in my life who "got it" and were super happy and supportive. there were lots of other people who would like to see me continue drinking so that they didn't feel uncomfortable getting hammered around me.

Now the phrases "I don't drink" and "I am going to a meeting" are just as common place to everyone around me as "I am going to grab some ice cream"

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Old 11-07-2009, 02:44 PM
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It was a huge relief for me to stop hiding too.

When I found this place I cried - I realised I wasn't alone, and I wasn't weak or depraved or evil or morally bankrupt - I was addicted.

I've dealt with the problem ever since...and there's no shame in that at all.
I've walked through hell and came out better for it I think. I can look anyone in the eye.

Hold your head high Jo
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Old 11-07-2009, 02:51 PM
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It's the fear of being different and having a problem that some see as a moral affliction that kept me drunk for years. Some people think it's a matter of will power, and that if we need to stop drinking, we should just stop, who needs meetings, who needs a program, just be a real man or woman and stop doing it, lol. It doesn't work that way for us and it's ok, it's nothing to be ashamed of, shame kept me drunk too for a long time. We think we need to always be in control, that we need to handle our problems by ourselves and it shows weakness to ask for help, but consider a guy who's gone skiing, hit a tree and broke his leg. Others on the slope will rush right over to help because he's injured himself, and so have we. We've hit a tree so to speak with alcohol and now we're busted up and need help. No shame for hitting a tree, it happens. Now we need treatment, set the leg, let it heal, rehabilitate the muscles and learn to walk again, no shame there, and with alcohol, it's just a recovery process from an addiction we developed. I know some people can't handle it, because when we show our weaknesses, they fear that they may also develop a weakness and that's not acceptable, we must always be strong, we must always be in control, and that's just a bunch of hogwash. No one is always in control, whether they drink or not, regardless of who they are or think they are. We're all human, and that involves all of the traits of being human; success, failure, disease, trial, trauma, and trees on ski slopes. It's just life and there is no shame in living it. Shame is a tool others try to use to control us and it works if we take it in and believe it. It stands in the way of true healing.
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Old 11-07-2009, 04:00 PM
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My mom is coming over to watch the boys tonight. I am going out. I told her I am having dinner with friends (i am sure she is over there now worrying if I'll have a drink) but I am going to a meeting. My 3rd meeting but this one is for beginners. Having a cup of coffee now (I drink so much more coffee these days) and kinda looking forward to a night out.

I want to tell her when I come home. It will be just the two of us without any children interrupting. My Dad will be across the street. I hope I get up the nerve...I have been going through it in my mind all day. I have no idea what is holding me back except my own resistance to accepting the truth. I am an alcoholic but I still have moments when I don't believe it. If I say it I will never be able to take it back. She too will start to think about the past and make the connections. She will believe me and that will be it. I will be Joanne the alcoholic who cannot drink ever. That scares the crap out of me but I don't have a choice in the matter. It is do or die time and I pray I have the strength tonight to come clean.

I say pray because todays meeting was about step 11. Today is my Day 11. My birthday is 11/11. Another sign. Today I started to pray...the right way.

Jo
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Old 11-07-2009, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by dojoro View Post

I will be Joanne the alcoholic who cannot drink ever. That scares the crap out of me

I say pray because todays meeting was about step 11. Today is my Day 11. My birthday is 11/11. Another sign. Today I started to pray...the right way.
Just don't drink for today... it scares anybody to think about anything in terms of forever... well, in terms of the physical world

Tell your mom what you need to and then let her take the lead in terms of questions... but you know that.

Happy 11

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Old 11-07-2009, 07:27 PM
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Jo,

You will be Joanne, the mother, the wife, the friend, the daughter and many other things, including Joanne the alcoholic. Being an alcoholic doesn't need to define who you are.

I hope your Mom will be supportive.
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Old 11-07-2009, 08:39 PM
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I told her. It went fine. She is supportive. Shocked at first. She had no idea. I don't like that I will have to convince people...it is hard enough convincing myself...but I know...my heart knows...my brain reminds me everyday around 5.

Going to bed after what was a great day...I really enjoyed my boys, I went to two meetings, I "came out" to my Mom and I haven't had a drink in 11 days!

Thank you God for giving me the strength you gave me today and for keeping me sober one more day!!!!

Jo
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Old 11-07-2009, 08:57 PM
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Congratulations on your wonderful day and wonderful new life. I'm 40-some-odd days sober, and I agree, the fear of being an alcoholic and all the stigma attached kept me from facing and dealing with it for years. The people in my everyday life know and have been incredibly loving and supportive. It really astonished me. Family and friends who live at a distance I haven't told. I don't feel it's anymore necessary than disclosing a wart on my hand... as long as I don't drink, that is.

You know, something I've come to in all my research and meeting the people here at SR is that there is nothing in the world wrong with being an alcoholic... as long as you don't drink. I'm allergic to melons and avocados too, darn it, but it doesn't make me less of a person.

I'm so happy for you. Keep it up. Life in sobriety is the tops!
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:08 AM
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mariechi, I feel the same way, to me it is just bad luck, for lack of a better word. First I was diagnosed as an insulin dependent diabetic and now I am allergic to alcohol. Fabulous.... but it could be worse...I can survive this and the best part is apparently life will be better as a result. I have been down...not depressed but down for years...I am excited to grow, to change to build confidence, to make friends and to be a good mom and never question if I am harming them because of my actions while drinking. Today it is all good and I am so thankful I have seen this light...I hope my journey is fairly easy but I will prepare for the worse and keep AA close.

I don't think I will tell anyone but a few close family members. I agree with the wart analogy but there are some I want to tell...need to telll. My sister is next

Jo
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:48 AM
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Dojoro, congratulations for your courage. I decided that if everyone knew, then I had no place to go and hide and drink without someone knowing that I shouldn't be there or doing that. I used it as a kind of insurance against taking a drink. I have only had a few bad reactions to my honesty about my addiction/recovery and they were always people who had had a very bad experience with a drunk/addict in their personal lives and couldn't forgive or forget the heartache that this person had caused them. I feel so very sorry for them because they are still suffering whether their alcoholic/addicted friend/relative/lover came into sobriety or not. Hope to continue to hear from you on this wonderful journey to a real life. John in Oklahoma
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