It's funny the things that we are afraid to admit.
I have no problem telling people about my sex life (or lack thereof), my poop habits, my deepest insecurities. Let's talk about how much coffee and pastry I consume, how much I struggle with not ending every sentence with the word fuck, or how terrified I am every day I sit down to work on Hip Sobriety. I have this eye fungus from my mascara that won't go away. Sometimes I'm too lazy to brush my teeth. I still text ex-boyfriends and tell them I miss snuggling with them. I look at my ass in mirrors way too much. I don't have health insurance.
I shamelessly and unapologetically admit all. Weelll, mostly all. Okay fine. All except for how I really feel about addiction, sobriety, recovery, relapse, AA, stigmatization, 12 steps, sponsors, that I fiercely reject the label addict...
So you know, all. All except the risky things. All except the reasons I started Hip Sobriety in the first place.
When it comes to admitting THESE truths, it's a totally different story. It's a fear story. The kind of fear that makes me want to vomit. The kind of fear that makes me want to take naps and eat chocolate and watch Bravo. The kind of fear that makes me want to look for accounting jobs.
Steven Pressfield said it best. "Fear tells us what we have to do." And my fear is telling me that I must admit more than my eye fungus or how many ounces of Starbucks I had today. My fear tells me that the power of my story - and the power of this thing I call Hip Sobriety - lies in voicing and establishing the things that distinguish it and myself from the rest. My fear reminds me that my duty in Hip Sobriety is to not please everyone, but to create something for those that can relate to my experience and my offerings. My fear insists I always speak my truth, without attachment to the outcome, and demands I admit the things that I am afraid to admit.
Does this post reveal everything I need to admit about where I stand, and where Hip Sobriety falls? Hell no. Far cry. It's 5 things out of 5000. But it's a start. And we have only to start. Sigh, gasp, sip of coffee...here we go.
5 Foundational Hip Sobriety Admissions.
Admission 1. I am not an addict. Not at least in the separating, labeling sense of the word that our society uses to distinguish those with addiction to alcohol or drugs as opposed to other addictions. The truth of the matter is, we are all addicted to something. Whether it’s food, porn, coffee, alcohol, pills, drugs, gossip, co-dependent relationships, TV, selfies, social media, work, money, FitBits - or any combination of these things - we all have a drug of choice and things we are wired to reach for habitually. The word addict in its traditional sense is a highly stigmatizing word that tells people who suffer from addiction to alcohol and drugs that they are different than the rest of us, that they are their disease, and they forever will be these things. I am a survivor. Not an addict. End of story.
Admission 2. I do not miss alcohol nor do I struggle when I'm around it, and I never have. I'm indifferent. There are many reasons this is true for me. First and foremost, I credit it with an undivided decision to quit, and Never Questioning The Decision. There's no conflict in me over it and if there was - meaning if I wanted to quit but missed parts of it - I would still be drinking. For sure. It's conversely the same reason I can't quit coffee - I'm torn about coffee and I keep failing when I try to give it up. But when it comes to alcohol, pot, and cigarettes - the things I have unequivocally decided to ditch based on a firm belief they no longer serve me and my purpose - it's a success story. I further credit this indifference with the methods and tools I used, and the mindset I adopted. I went into sobriety prepared, empowered, and excited about what it would mean to NOT drink or get high. It was my choice of lifestyle, like veganism or driving a Prius. It was my thing and it was powerful - not shameful or sad or the least bit depriving. Am I different than other people? Am I making something that is terribly difficult for many seem too easy? I don't know. But it's my truth. It's my story. I go to bars until 2am and act a fool and I did from day 1. I walk pub crawls. I meet people for drinks. I keep it in my apartment for guests. I go to parties, shows, and many drinking centric events. The world didn't change, I did.
Admission 3. I did not work the 12 steps, nor do I ever plan to. AA didn't resonate. I tried it. I truly, really did. But every time I went to a meeting, and had to repeat that I was an addict, I got sick to my stomach. Every time I read in step 1 that I was powerless over alcohol, I cringed. I disagreed with step 3 - I found I couldn't turn my will over to anything else - I believed that I was here to use the free will God gave me, not hand it back to Him. And step 5 and 6, asking God to remove my defects of character and shortcomings? Hadn't I been asking for that my whole life? I'm a chic who lives in America in the 21st century - I had spent FOREVER trying to not be defective. I'd spent my life humbling myself for love despite my shortcomings. I drank BECAUSE I wanted those shortcomings and defects to go away and they wouldn't. I tried facing them and accepting them instead. Not doing the 12 steps or working AA was part of my path, and a huge underlying factor to why I started Hip Sobriety. Does AA work for some? Absolutely and undeniably. But it did NOT work for me. I got sober despite my experiences there.
Admission 4. I am not afraid of relapse. What is relapse anyway? It's failure. That's what it is. If I am afraid of relapsing, then I am afraid of failing. And I am not afraid of failing at this. Because at least I tried. The only real failure in life is to NOT try something. Trying and failing is normal. Trying and failing says nothing bad about us, our willpower, or our self-esteem - it says we had the balls to go out and try. People fail at things all the time. It's how we learn what works and what doesn't. Not trying in the first place is the only thing we need to fear. To evolve, we must dare to fail. If I drink again, I drink again. I will for sure try to stop again. That's it. I can't unlearn or unexperience sobriety. It happened, for whatever amount of time, sobriety happened. And it will keep happening again, and again, and again. Because by trying it, I have found that I actually prefer it.
Admission 5. I am not in perpetual recovery because of alcohol or drugs. I am in perpetual recovery to be my best self. The definition of recovery is a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength. And this is why I am perpetually in recovery. Because what the hell is normal? Who has achieved this? Recovery is not about alcohol or drugs. Recovery is a path to being my best self. And it is a path afforded to every other human being on this planet. Whether we like it or not, our souls calling is always there. And it will always push us to perpetual recovery. No matter what our path looks like or whether it includes a detour into drug and alcohol addiction.