You remember Kelly? you met her when she was on day 10. Today she’s on day 31 and she sent me an update.
I actually wavered a bit on whether to post this or not. y’all, it’s impossible for me to share on the blog all the emails i get like this… for fear of ego-boosting (and other shaming techniques).
But as Cat Girl (day 82) advised me this morning, the traditional sober world “hates any kind of perceived self-congratulation. *STAY HUMBLE. Stay down.* D’you know what, I have spent long enough down, secretly hating myself, listing my defects of character in my own head, I really don’t feel the need to do it all over again. Now, I feel like getting out of the sewer. Getting up. Being proud of myself for what I’ve achieved here, the power I’ve exerted in saying no to drinking.”
So fuck humble.
And anyway, Kelly’s email isn’t about me. It’s about her. And can you see how strong she is? How great she feels? That, my friends, is too good not to share. Get ready to cry:
Good morning Belle, I just recently stumbled on your “tiny gift button” on your blog. I could feel your angst as the words were literally cringing out on the page. However, I see it as something you are doing for those of us who really want to do something for you in return for all your goodness.
For me (without exaggeration or high drama) you have saved my life. Now you could have been very well put into my path by those pesky angels I’ve told you about, but you are the one that writes back to me each day and the all the other 100s of people. You blog everyday sharing your thoughts or share the thoughts of your penpals. You inspire other problem drinkers with common sense, you step forward courageously with your no nonsense, straight forward, telling it like it is wisdom and you virtually hug each of us with compassion, kindness and support.
So, to me, you definitely are on my Christmas list and deserving of a special treat. You have been a friend extraordinaire and without you, I may have very well fallen back on my drunken butt and into a hell hole of no return.
It is such a simple exercise but for whatever reason, I feel accountable to a woman I’ve never met, a woman I don’t want to disappoint or let down (even though I know you wouldn’t see it that way) and hell bent on keeping a promise I made 31 days ago. Maybe I was just ready to be accountable and stop lying or maybe, just maybe, I never found anyone who had the exact recipe with their words and actions, that I felt I could trust and do this really hard thing.
All this to say is that I will be pushing that tiny gift button in the coming weeks and hope you will treat yourself as you are so deserving. The song “To Sir with Love” has been playing in my head and I think there are parallels in all of this. How do I thank someone who has been instrumental in saving my life? Words are great, tiny gifts are lovely, but the best way I can repay you is by living my life well each and every day. I’m doing this humbly but with my head held high. I am no longer dragging my face into the sidewalk with shame. I cannot grow into the future if I hold onto the past.
Watch me grow Belle! Hugs, Kelly xo
You will be. And it really won’t take that long. Just a couple of weeks of not picking up that first drink (because we can never have one drink, can we. It’s always 4 / 5 / 6. There is no ‘one’) and you’ll feel like yourself again. IN JUST TWO WEEKS. I cast-iron cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die promise you that. Then after a month you’ll stop thinking about alcohol 58 times a day. You really will. And then, then your life really starts. All sorts of awesome is there, just waiting for you. All you have to do is not pick up that first drink. No matter what happens. Let us know how you get on! I know how utterly rancid you probably feel right now, so it seems like it’ll never pass, but it really, really will.
TheFace, I’ve just read your comment and it jolted, literally jolted, me. Back to a memory I have. I felt that way too, like I was sitting on the sidelines or trapped in quicksand, while life whirred by me, everyone getting on with happy lives. I remember one Sunday morning looking out of the window at around 11am. I felt like such utter shit I knew I was not going to leave the house that day. I knew I was going to have to cancel lunch with my friends because I might have shaky hands if I tried to pick something up. I knew that they’d be able to see that something was very wrong with me. This was in the last couple of months of my drinking, when I’d really started to shut myself away and see as few people as possible, particularly close friends as I felt they could see right through my facade, to the big ugly alcoholic mess beneath. Anyhow, this Sunday morning, I was looking out of the window and people were washing their cars, walking along laughing, eating ice-cream, just having a perfectly lovely day. And I felt like an alien. Like I’d totally lost touch with how to do that. Like I wasn’t human anymore. I don’t feel like that now. It went after just a couple of weeks. And I started to take Bambi-esque tottery steps back into the world. Hold on. It gets so much better, I promise you that.
three cheers for cat girl and bambi!
appreciate your encouragement and I want to be alive again..
I am digging your attitude lovinglife52! YES. We are not just alcoholics. I see sobriety as a blank slate, without the crappy bit of drinking, whereby I can build the new me. Oh the possibilities. I am excited about the future, rather than dreading it, for the first time in years. I definitely think we need to be aware of our defects of character and do work on ourselves. But for me, I am ALL TOO aware. I drank on that, for years. I wasn’t drinking and thinking ‘oh, I’m so fabulous’, I was drinking and thinking ‘I’m a piece of shit. A total fuck up. Why can’t I stop drinking? I am worthless.’ Now that I’m sober, I’d like to focus on the things that are good about me, rather than continuing to use myself as a punchbag. The more I like myself, the nicer I am to others. Fact. The more I dislike myself, the more defensive and grumpy I am with others. Also fact. I really like your way of thinking.
I really like what you are doing here. I think people really need support from others who understand the difficulties of putting drink down after using it to self medicate for a period.
You are right about the anti self congratulation part in traditional recovery programs. Most hard drinkers will have been trying to escape their own low self esteem, by blotting out life. It takes tremendous courage to change and is a difficult thing to do, especially when the emotions hit and you have nothing to take it away. I worry that many lower their self esteem more, by claiming they are powerless and branding themselves an alcoholic every day.
I found that to be the case and only changed my self image by taking up lots of positive type activities, such as sport and music. I have been doing this for a while and I now think of myself as somebody who can hold his own with others in society and would rather label myself as a runner, or a swimmer than an alcoholic. Drinking was something I did in the past, and I can’t change that. Running and swimming for example are things I am going to do today. They are positive things, and they help me in so many aspects of my life. For me, that is a good way of thinking at the moment. I think it is good to have aims and ambitions when you are changing yourself and then try to work towards them. You can modify them when you want or try something different, but after a while you can look back and see how far you have come.
I bet a lot of people see their progress, in the emails they write to this site. Things that were hard at the start become easier while other problems take a bit more work, but at least you know others are doing the same thing.
Anyway, “fuck humble ” is my positive thought for today!
thanks for this, I really appreciate your perspective. I know that I tend to focus on the positive … and that I take some flack for that … but I’m over here nodding my head while reading, I soooo agree with you. Runner and Swimmer and Dancer and Father and Mother … and Sober. But being sober in itself doesn’t ‘define’ me, it just lets me be The Real Me. and yes I am proud of that : ) I don’t feel powerless. I have the power to NOT consume booze = my life improves dramatically. I know that AA works for millions of people and I’m super glad for that. I remember Paul telling me that he would have prayed to a radiator if he thought it would work… I am also glad that there are options other than AA that work for other people. Cuz really, the goal is to be sober. However you get there …
hugs from me
“I feel accountable to a woman I’ve never met… Someone I don’t want to diss appoint ” oh how I feel the same way. You given so many an incredible gift…You! …and your hugs 🙂 Thank you.
hugs from me…. well, I couldn’t resist!
I’m grateful to have this and all the sober blogs. I am coming up on 180 days and jan. 1 marks 200!!
When one is ready to learn, the teacher will appear. Belle has appeared to so many, so well and faithfully that success is happening Every. Single. Day. I love all of you for what you can accomplish as individuals and then as a group. A damn big group too !~!
Rock on Kelly, life keeps getting slowly better until it stabilizes in a place of contentment and sustainability. That will be the place to remain, becoming the woman you’ve always wanted to be. I hope you keep checking in with Belle and letting us know how you’re coming along. Thanks for sharing.
I could have written paragraph 4. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for your guidance. As I recall from our conversation after my sober jumpstart class, some time back, I said, “I know you’re not religious but there’s a special place in heaven for you.” That feeling still holds. Through you I”ve made friends and follow others journeys some like mine, some not. That following keeps me on track. Because of you I’m part of a team that’s trying to change lives for the better 130 days and going strong.
So glad you posted this Belle. We all need to hear each other’s stories – it keeps us sober and reminds us all of our beginnings. I’m coming up on 180 in a few days. It will be a day to celebrate with you and all the other sober syber sisters (and brothers, Paul).
Kelly eloquently says what I’ve been thinking but haven’t taken the time to put into words. I’m on day 17. I feel like a new person. I know that couldn’t do this without you Belle. I love the idea of the Tiny Gift button. Enjoy your treats. You deserve them. Lots of hugs.
I just hit day 30 myself. Kelly says it well 🙂
I am only Day 2..and have the strength to feel that way yet….but as I was driving to work this morning….I realized I dont just want to look at people jogging on the street, I dont want to be on the sidelines as I walk by people in shopping malls as they laugh and enjoy the world around them, I want to be in this journey and have strenth to be there without drinking and for me this is my NEW beginning this is my new chance to be one of the living….to feel alive….I cant say it yet….but someday I want to say FUCK humble.
and really it doesn’t take too long… by day 7-9 you’ll already feel much better than day 2 and day 2 is much better than day 1 and day 1 is better than regret. hugs from me.