I celebrated 2 years of being clean and sober on May 2nd. What a blessing! I would have never guessed that to be possible. It hasn’t always been easy but it’s always been worth it. “More will be revealed,” is something I hear a lot in the recovery community and that is so true. I learn more about myself all of the time and it’s such an awesome journey.
The thing on my mind lately is how I am finally starting to be comfortable with who I am. I don’t always know who I am but on most days I have a pretty good grasp of that person. This is something that before sobriety I could not have said. I had no clue who I was. I was whoever you wanted me to be. I was whoever I needed to be to be accepted in whatever situation that I found myself in. I had no idea that this was an alcoholic trait. This was something that I struggled with my entire life and I just thought I had low self-esteem or that I was crazy (that is still up for debate…HA!).When I was younger I always felt like I didn’t belong. No matter what group of friends I was in, I felt like I was on the outside looking in. If the group of people that I wanted to belong to liked to do certain things on the weekends, then I liked that too. If the cool thing at the time was to like country music, then I liked country music. If it was to like rap, then I liked rap. I really had no idea what I liked though.
In college it became even worse, especially in the dating world and the bar scene world. My best friend used to refer to me as a chameleon and we thought it was so funny. I could go into any situation and change myself into someone that those people would accept and like. We are going to a sports bar? Okay! Great! I will put on my baseball shirt, suddenly become an expert on whatever team YOU like, and I will drink beer with the boys. We are going to a wine event? Okay! Great! I will put on a pretty black dress, suddenly be very interested in things people with money are interested in, and I will have some wine and be able to tell you everything about said wine. This was my life. I saw nothing wrong with it really. I had no idea that this was an alcoholic trait that I had always had and would only get worse as my disease progressed.
The six months or so before rehab, I really became the ultimate chameleon and became someone that looking back, I don’t even recognize. Even if I HAD known who I was, I would have certainly been afraid to be that person around the people that I surrounded myself with. I’m sure that whatever I TRULY liked to wear, to listen to, to do on weekends, etc. wouldn’t have been considered “cool” so therefore I would have shut that down and went with what everyone else was doing. I became afraid to read certain books I might have liked because what if someone thought I was a nerd for reading that book? Or what if I listened to a certain genre of music and people thought I was uncool for listening to that? Or what if I liked a certain outfit and it wasn’t what was “in”? No way. I wouldn’t wear it. I was going to be whatever you wanted me to be, even if it meant losing myself and hurting those around me.
Here is the good part of all of this though. That is over now. I won’t say that some days that character defect doesn’t creep up and I don’t all of the sudden look around and think, “Holy crap I don’t fit in here. I am so different than these people.” This happens especially at events not related to recovery. That feeling of being “less than” can creep up quickly. Today though, it passes. I am okay with myself. And you know what? I am a big nerd. I am okay with that. I like jigsaw puzzles. I like word games and words in general. I like country music but I also like pretty much all other genres and today what I listen to depends on my mood, not on who I am with or who might hear what I am listening to. Today I love to read and I don’t care that people know that sometimes I like to read young adult books or something completely cheesy like Fifty Shades of Grey because next week I might be reading Catcher in the Rye. Again, it’s all in my mood and today that is okay. On the 4th of July this year I wore a Duck Dynasty shirt with a red, white, and blue bandanna because that is ME. I carry expensive purses but I am a country girl at heart in a lot of ways. And that’s OKAY. I am not a religious person at all but I do consider myself a spiritual person and I do believe in a Higher Power who I pray to every single day. That is definitely something that in the past I would have been afraid to admit to any of my “friends” around me because I wouldn’t want to hear the backlash. My friends today though all love me exactly the way that I am and I am grateful for that.
This is a journey of discovery and I look forward to learning more as I go along. Remaining teachable and learning more all of the time is such a gift and I am grateful every day for the life I have been given.