Recovering Out Loud: Putting Myself on Blast for Others

Recover Out Loud

On my two-year sober anniversary, I received a text from my buddy that read: “Your sobriety helps more people than you will ever know.” I thanked him, said “yeah right” to myself, and forgot about it. But a bit later on, I realized he might be right. And that’s because since I got sober, I have been very vocal about my recovery. 

To celebrate my anniversary, I posted a message on The Wagon to share with our audience. I also posted it to our Instagram. At this point, our Instagram account is made up predominantly of my personal friends and family that I coerced into following the page so we could have some followers while we continue to build our social media.

In that post, I listed a myriad of embarrassing behaviors that accompanied my drinking, including doing drugs, driving drunk, puking in the shower, etc. Why on earth would I admit to that in front of the people in my life, knowing they may judge me for it? Shouldn’t I keep that shit quiet? Shouldn’t I be embarrassed? Shouldn’t I be ashamed? 

I’m not, and here’s why. 

When I was in active alcohol addiction, I was certain I was the only person on earth who drank how I drank, did what I did, and felt how I felt. I thought I was a terrible person, that I was defective, and that my situation was horribly unique. I also thought there was no one else on the planet who could understand me because my life was too fucked up.

On account of that, I lived with a lot of silent shame, guilt, and psychic discomfort. Feeling the way I did and thinking I was a lost cause kept me drinking for a long time because I was drowning in those feelings. It wasn’t until I got into recovery that I realized I was not unique at all and that the addiction experience for most people is universal. While the circumstances and experiences are different, those who suffer from addiction often feel the same. 

I have always been a bit of an open book and there was never anything I was ever really closed off to talking about. So when I got into recovery and was instructed to be as honest as possible about what I was going through, it wasn’t hard for me to say, “This fucking sucks” or “I wish I could drink” when I was early in my recovery. As it turned out, I was not the only person thinking that and people shared with me that they felt that way, too. 

Someone dies every five minutes from a drug overdose, 140,000 people die from alcohol-related diseases every year, and alcohol use disorder is involved in one in four suicides.  

So, no. I am not embarrassed about sharing my experience if I can help one person avoid  becoming one of those statistics. If anyone wants to judge me because of that — that’s cool. I really, really don’t care. Since getting sober and being vocal about it, I have had friends and family members confide in me for help and that’s more important to me than what somebody else thinks of me.

The things I did while I was wasted were far more embarrassing than sharing my story now that I’m sober. But the thing is, when I share my experience it’s actually not about me. It’s about showing someone who’s struggling that they are not alone, that they can recover, and that things can get better. So, I’ll continue to shout my message from the rooftops if I can help just one person – even if it’s to my reputation’s detriment.

Have you been vocal about your recovery? Let us know in the comments


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