I know I have alluded to my years of participating in a recovery program, but in true transparency, I wanted to expand on my experience. Let me start by saying when I went to my first meeting, I thought it was a cult. These people were laughing and looked way too happy for people affected by the disease of addiction. They saw humor in their participation with their alcoholic and owned their part so freely. That was foreign to me. I believed that he was the problem and I was simply a victim of unfortunate circumstances.
My image of how the meeting would proceed was far different from the reality that was in front of me. You see, I thought the hour would be spent bashing those family members who couldn’t get their shit together and then we would part ways. Every time I talked about harming my loved one by smothering him with a pillow, I was told to “keep coming back”. Those three words infuriated me, but I did and I have, for the last fourteen and a half years. I am a recovering reactor, control freak, know-it-all, and the list goes on….for several pages. Notice I continue to say recovering versus recovered. Just like the addict, I can slip and easily pick up where I left off. It is an ongoing battle.
Outside of those rooms, society dictates to not share your struggles. To keep it light and airy. Pretend all is well. When people ask you how you are, they don’t want to hear the realness, the uncomfortable truth, so we comply and respond “Fine”. And we are simply that – fine – (Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional). This is one reason when asked how I am, I try desperately to embrace a different adjective to describe my current state of mind.
I don’t flaunt my recovery process. I do realize that many may be uncomfortable with my sharing and that is okay. Take what you like and leave the rest is the perfect mantra for that sentiment. Pain is inevitable, but dealing with it is optional. Avoidance is common, but I chose to take my pain and turn into something extraordinary. When I sit my ass in those rooms, I am surrounded by my people. They are honest, strong, flawed, determined, and most of all, brave. Their realness comforts me and proudly reveals that I am not alone. We are not shattered, damaged or broken. We are repairable from the demons within our being. Truth be told, I was affected long before my marriage as both of my parents were adult children of alcoholics, so it was a natural fit – my spouse and I.
The road of recovery isn’t easy, but the benefits are life altering. I am a better version of myself and still working to be the best version of me. My life is not perfect, but it is better. My insides match my outside. I don’t have to pretend. I shed the costume that made others feel comfortable in an effort to accept the real me – warts and all.