anonymous confession booth: things we can’t control

step right up. for one day only, i’m creating an anonymous sober confession booth on the subject of “things we can’t control”.

I want to focus on things we need to let go of. Like crazy in-laws, compulsive behaviours, and those people you are forced to visit where you’re afraid to eat in their homes because you’re not sure if you’ll get food poisoning or not. “I just scraped off the mould, they say.”

This came to me because of a one-on-one call i had with S. this morning (thanks!). We’re all carrying around this backpack of rocks of things we just need to let go of.

i personally hate dwelling in the past — unnecessarily. Yes, sometimes we have to excavate. But i don’t want to wallow. And there’s a very fine line between the two. And then there’s the shame. and the guilt. yeah.

So here’s the deal.

1. Post a comment below.

2. For this to work you MUST leave your name and your email and your website address BLANK in the comments form (if you forget, i’ll go in and delete that info manually). all comments are to be anonymous. one of the comments will be from me, you just won’t know which one.

3. I have no way of personally knowing who posts what. Promise.

4. In your comment, write two or three sentences (max.) about something that you’d like to stop in your life, some weight you’ve been carrying around, that being sober is going to help you let go of. For example, i’ll make one up: “I’d like to step out of the way of my crazy MIL and just recognize that she’s a flawed human and it’s my job to remove myself from her reach.” OR “I have been a compulsive laundry freak, the clothes I wore today must be clean and folded every night when I go to bed. Now that i’m sober I’m going to let that go. I don’t need to be in control of my laundry anymore. I’m going to let it go.”

5. Then take a second and post an anonymous ‘reply’ to ONE of the other comments already posted, and say something comforting, consoling, forgiving, kind.

i have a feeling that this will unfold in a lovely way. because you’re all lovely people. and we all have a backpack of rocks that we’d like to put down, right? What’s in your backpack?

PS. if your name/email automatically shows up when you start to enter a comment, you can manually delete them OR you can ‘log out’ of your blogging profile.


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • I wish I could control all of the future work events that I will be attending where alcohol will be present. I wish I could control those situations so I would not feel awkward and uncomfortable when drink orders are taken during the intimate business dinner or when the bar is open and available during the cocktail reception. They loom in the back of my mind – what will I say? -what’s my early exit strategy? I know I shouldn’t care but I still do. 38 days and counting!

  • I would like to let go of all the negative things I hear in the news, read in the paper and see on Facebook. I would like to stop holding onto these sad stories and stop worrying about these people who I don’t know but who have suffered. I would like to stop worrying that one day it will be me or someone I love. I don’t want to need wine to stop worrying about my health, especially seeing as adds to the worry. I want to put down all of it, and finally let go of my anxious mind.

  • I have never had a best friend. I have always found fault with people who tried to befriend me, but I have never felt as if anybody would “get” me if I opened myself up to friendship. I feel bad and maybe unlovable. I am the go to person for people to get their problems solved, but nobody thinks I ever want to be helped, or taken care of.

  • I truly want to believe that I do not need a man in my life to feel complete. As an almost 42 year old divorced mother of one, who is also living abroad, I have very little in terms of emotional support.
    When things are tough, I would like someone to just take me in their arms and tell me everything will be ok.

  • I really really want to learn to accept that who am and that i am just good enough.
    Logically i know that am, but emotionally i don’t really believe it, leading to this crazy search for perfection. It’s exhausting

  • I want to put down the resentment that i sometimes hold towards my wife for being able to cope with things that i find difficult.

  • I really would love to stop trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations, and to be able to accept myself for who i am, and not for what my perception of what others want me to be.

  • I want to let go of the feeling that I have to please everyone and that everyone is constantly looking at me and judging what I am doing, wearing, saying, how I look, etc. I just want to be myself and not worry about what others think. Now that the booze is gone I am starting to like myself more.

    • You’re not alone, I feel so much the same. I think for me that drinking is part of that mask, needing to be the person that others expect me to be. You deserve to like yourself as you are.

  • I want to accept that my husband has difficulty expressing affection and love. I have been angry about this for years. I have a choice, I can separate from him or accept him. I cannot change him. This anger is a massive fucking waste of my energy. I’d like to flush it down the toilet. It’s caustic enough to undo any clogs. I want freedom from anger.

  • I would like to stop trying to be the person I think people want me to be. I need to put my needs first and just be me. I’ve tried to please others for so long that I’ve lost myself. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

    • I so get this. The hardest part of sobriety for me is the blank space where I’m supposed to be. Kind of “who the hell am I and what am I supposed to be doing with all this free time now that I’m not spending all my time planning to drink, drinking, or recovering from drinking.” It feels like a blank slate and I’ve got writer’s block. πŸ™‚ Hopefully, time will help. But I think I’m also going to look for a therapist/counseler/guide who can help me find the way back to me. Otherwise, I spend a lot of time just being anxious and stressed that I’m 54 and clueless about who I am. Thanks for posting this one.

  • I have absolutely no control over a drink. One drink of wine to my lips is a drunk.. It is a lonely shameful all alone drunk.. I hate that it is this way for me.. I have everything I have ever wanted, except control over this one thing.. I have tried and tried over and over for me, for my children, for my straight up sanity.. But in the end this is control I have to give up completely or I will end up in a place of no return.. I will give this control up, no matter what..

  • I want to let go of the fear of being unattached (ie, not in a relationship) for the rest of my life. And I want to let go of the fear of how my single life affects my family members. They worry so much that I’m alone, and the worry manifests into diatribes about why I don’t “TRY HARDER to just meet someone, anyone!”

  • I want to let go of my anger at my partner about his drinking. My anger and his anger are spiralling into destruction of our relationship. I need to face forward instead of sideways and take care of me and my sobriety

  • Alcohol dependency has found its way into my life to help me deal with truly aggressive people, people who like to harm you and attack you by way of a 6 year unjustified civil lawsuit that I couldn’t settle no matter how hard I tried. To cope and find peace I drank. Now I have a drinking problem and I feel like that by drinking I am giving away my power. I want my power back. I want peace of mind! I want to be sober. I am on day 2 and then I found you.

    • You have the power in you all along my dear.. It is totally fucking cheesy and sounds so easy, but your happiness is within you.. Starting by giving up the drink, you will find it easier and easier to simply just be.. I know (because of my visit with this day again and again) that Day 2 is a complete exhausted and mind fuckiness day, but if you can just get thru and push to keep it simple and go to bed, Guess what??? You will be on day 3 tomorrow.. Peace of mind is yours my love..

  • I want to stop thrusting myself into situations that hurt me or wound me and make me feel bad.
    I need to listen and take care of myself instead of allowing people in my life to be unkind, hurtful or use me. I want to finally acknowledge how I feel, take an action or ask for what I want. Or if I don’t want to do something, not do it … and to stop going along because I feel I’m obligated, expected or should for some crazy reason.

    I want to look at myself in the mirror…. at my eyes ….into my soul …..and not feel guilty that I hurt myself again for the sake of someone else.

    • It’s hard, it takes courage. Love yourself, tell yourself how good of a person you are, and you will stop attracting those who are toxic.
      Surround yourself with people who have a positive affect on you and forgot those who don’t.
      Here is a quote:
      “People INSPIRE you, or they drain you. Pick them wisely.”
      Hans F. Hansen

    • I can completely relate to this. I’ve nearly destroyed myself for the sake of others. Imagine what we could do if we just listened to our inner voice. Wishing you peace! ((Hugs))

  • I would like to acknowledge that my last relationship ended for a reason and that if it ended the way it did, it surely was not meant to be. I would like to stop obsessing about this man and start believing it’s possible (at age 44 with two children) to find a love that I may be able to grow old with. But for now, I’d like to be ok concentrating on ME and my healing, so that I am at my healthiest ever – so that I learn to love ME- before I give my love to another.

    • I hear you. It sounds like you know what to do and I believe that as we heal and learn to take care of our needs, unexpected, life changing experiences will happen. Best wishes on your journey.

  • I’d like to let go of my negative internal dialogue about myself, and about my husband. Of little snide (i.e., passive aggressive) comments that make life a little less joyful for everyone. I hope sobriety clears the noise in my head enough to be more aware when this *voice* is taking over in my head, and that I can replace these destructive thoughts with more positive ones. And that I can learn to communicate in healthy ways when necessary.

    • I know exactly what you mean. You regret those snide comments as soon as they have left your lips, but you continue to zing them across the room. I think sobriety will give you the awareness and the inner calm that will allow you to catch those snide remarks before they escape, stop them in their tracks and at some point in time, those little buggers will give up. You will be free of unkind words and much happier as a result. Keep up the great work. It will happen:)

  • I need to stop the need to please everyone in my life, and learn to put myself first. lf I take care of my self, I will be able to help others if they ask, in a more healthy way. Like they instruct if an airplane goes down. The mom puts the oxygen on first, then the child. Why can’t I do this!

    • Because we are nurturers by nature…at least I am. But for now I come first, as does my sobriety. I am not only learning how to be sober, I am learning how to say no:]

  • I think you are all being amazingly restrained. I need to let go of f**king EVERYTHING!! Argh I don’t even know where to begin. πŸ™‚

  • I’d like to let go of my lifelong fear of doing the wrong thing and getting in trouble, because I believed for so long that my worth as a person depended on others’ approval. I drank to quell that constant anxiety of never being good enough. Facing my drinking is helping me see that I don’t need to be perfect to have value.

  • I would like to let go of my shame at not being the very best at everything. I am tired of feeling ashamed that i do not live up to the thousands of expectations I have created. I want to accept that I am enough just the way I am.

  • To let go of carrying guilt and the world on my shoulders…; anger to those who didn’t act like I had anticipated; and to stop thinking I know their thoughts and intentions, but to just move forward and live day by day on the “happy side of life”

    • I want to think I am capable of all the things I used to day dream about. I want me to believe myself when I say I can do it. Whatever it is. I want to stop thinking about when I’ve embarrassed myself, stole, let myself down, not been cool, or skinny or pretty or brainy enough, I want to let go of constantly not been nice to myself and others. especially my husband. I need to let go of hateful jealous and envious feelings. I need to stop beating myself up and battering my own poor confidence. I want to be free of my angry thoughts and make the most of the precious time to make a difference. I want to be the best mum I can be. I want to let go of it all. I want to be light and not hurt anymore.

      • I totally relate to this. Thru sobriety I’ve learned I am my own worst enemy. I treated myself like shit with feelings of unworthiness, shame and not measuring up to my unbelievable self expectations. I learned I didn’t love myself so I drank to self destruct at any given moment. I’m slowly learning to be nicer and kinder to me, but it’s really hard. I’m comforted knowing I’m not the only one who’s been beating myself up with awful self talk. Thanks for sharing

  • I have been lying to my husband about money for all the years we have been married. I quit my job to marry him and have no money of my own. He is a control freak about the money, and how it is spent. He compulsively checks the credit card spending.
    I have worked out a system with a friend. We grocery shop together and I pay for all the groceries, and collect cash, that I subsequently hide.
    I feel guilty about this, and would like to stop. I project my feelings about how my husband will feel about things I may want to spend money on, but never give him the chance to tell me his real feelings because I am lying all the time. It used to be about how much I spent on booze, but now it is just a pattern.
    The extra money stashed in a hidden spot makes me feel safe. I also have a secret bank account.
    Every now and then I have a panic attack about this.
    Vicious cycle.

    • It’s sounds like this system really comes from feeling vulnerable. It’s a way for you to feel safer.maybe talk this out with a counselor or trusted friend before considering telling your husband. You might just want to stop doing it and to move forward with more honesty without mentioning the past. I would explore ways to live that are more transparent. good luck.

  • I’d like to let go of the fact that it is not my wife’s job to take care of me. Or to make me happy. The longer I’m sober, the more I realize that it’s up to me to take care of me. My wife has her own life.

    • And me to my husband. I get so angry when he doesn’t live up to my expectations. Poor man. It’s so hard though! Any tips for turning it round?!

  • This couldn’t be more timely! I’d like to shed the weight of my self centred father in law. Accept that he will always place himself above his wife, my husband, my kids, and me. Recognize that no matter how hard I try, I cannot change his behaviour. Take charge of the way I react to him, so that I no longer dwell on, and stress over, how his behaviour impacts me. Sobriety will at some point allow me to let his behaviour slide off my back:)

  • I would love to let go of my mother’s craziness (certifiable), my need to take care of everyone which goes hand-in-hand with my need to be liked by everyone, and ESPECIALLY, my need to control my husband’s pot smoking. Oh yeah, and my fear of failure…it’s paralyzing.

  • I would like to stop pressuring myself to have an absolutely perfect body– at 46 after 4 kids why can’t I just accept that I am doing the best I can? That the amount that I work out and watch my diet is enough? With more sobriety, which decreases anxiety, I would like to let that go

    • I hope it’s comforting to know you’re not alone. I’m 47 and I have 2 kids and I put pressure on myself almost every hour of every day to lose weight or even just “look better.” By the way, this mental pressure only makes me want to seek more comfort with food. I think you are spot on about accepting yourself and loving yourself. With 4 kids, if you’re like me, it’s likely that you usually come last in line of who gets taken care of by you. Sending you a big hug, and permission to Just Be.

      • Oh I am in the same boat. It is a constant obsession with me too. I close up sometimes in social situations because I am uncomfortable with my weight. We need to take care of ourselves, cut ourselves some slack, and remember that we are worthy of love!

    • I understand exactly what you mean. I have that anxiety as well. I am trying hard to set lower expectations for myself. I’m no longer trying to weigh what I did in high school. I’m shooting for what I weighed at 37. It is 22 pounds more but I felt good and was healthy. As we stay sober, let’s try to set lower expectations for ourselves. I think we would do that for others. We can try to be as kind to ourselves as we would to our best friends. Love and very best wishes as you travel this road.