I recently passed the 6 month mark of my most recent attempt to get sober. As my thoughts got clearer and the nights got longer my brain eventually started to think analyse all of the drunken encounters I had had over 15 years of drinking too much.
The things I’ve said, the nonsense I’ve talked, the friendships and relationships I have ruined (most likely beyond repair) the people I’ve hurt… so much of my life lost.
THE SHAME OF IT ALL
Alcohol was a happy little bubble. Anytime I started to think about my past actions too much I could reach for the bottle and I would instantly start to feel better and better and better, until inevitably, it would cause me to do/say something stupid, ignorant or thoughtless and the whole bloody cycle would start again.
Without the aid of booze its much harder to drown out the shame…
I know recovery is about looking forward (as opposed to backward) and though my drunken actions were not at all in character, it does not mean that I should not accept responsibility for them (whether I remember them or not)
I feel that all I have done for the last 10 years is apologize for things I can barely remember, so much anger directed towards me that I cannot really remember why its there. This is the time for final apologies, there is a lot to say sorry for so lets not add to the pile.
If I was to focus on this shame alone there is no doubt that I would eventually start to drink again (just to make the shame stop for a moment) and honestly end up in a worse place than I am right now.
While I don’t think the shame will ever be completely gone I have recently started to embrace my past and using it as a strength to keep going on my journey of sobriety. The memory of it keeps me in line whenever I start to stray.
-Lets end with a terrible analogy-
I’ve packed my shame into a box inside my mind for safe storage, I’ve put it on top of the box that has all of the alcohol. Any time my mind wanders towards opening the box of booze I’ll have to move the box of shame and a little bit will fall out and remind me of why the booze box has been taped shut.
As the years go by my mind will fill with other boxes and the shame will seem small amongst the others, but it will always be there for safe keeping on top of the booze box. In case I need a reminder.