I feel that I’ve lost my voice in my writing. Since I started this blog, my posts have been largely confessional in nature. Early on, a lot of my posts were about my struggles with various aspects of the 12 Step world as I understood it at the time. Some, but not all, of those misgivings arose from my own misunderstandings of things.
Between years four and five I became much more comfortable with the program, largely as a result of allowing myself abandon the god of my childhood and embrace my own understanding of the mysteries of the universe. And as a result, my writing slowed. But that’s not the only reason.
Over the past two years there have been a series of events in my life that have been incredibly difficult. These events have involved not just me, but my family. They are our story, not exclusively mine, and because they involve others I have not felt that it was appropriate to write openly about them.
This has been difficult for me, because writing about my own struggles has been therapeutic, and I don’t enjoy the cathartic release that came from sharing my story when I keep it inside me. I have shared some of these details with trusted confidants and in meetings, but by and large they have not been on public display.
I have struggled with what to post here. On several occasions I have written a post and sat on it only to decide ultimately that it was not mine to share without the consent of others involved. I know this the right thing to do, but it’s not easy to restrain from publishing.
And so, I find myself at a crossroads. I am not sure that the stories I have to tell are mine alone to tell and I am not sure how to sanitize them in such a way that I can share them. I would like to continue this blog, but I struggle to come up with content that I feel is safe to share at the moment.
I suppose this is growth — this awareness of others. In the past, I might have simply published without regard for the others involved in the stories. I am sure there is a balance somewhere, but, for the life of me, I haven’t been able to find it recently.
On Saturday, my wife and I took a drive over to Easton, MD and had lunch at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Scossa. We ate lunch outside, despite it being 48 degrees. Admittedly, it is a bit odd to eat lunch outside in January wearing our winter coats, but it’s as close as we are coming to normal right now.
Yesterday, we met my brother and his wife and son for a walk at Cromwell Valley Park, north of Baltimore. We did a two mile walk and found an old rusted out car chassis. The engine block was an in-line six. The markings on the block suggest that it was a Chevrolet built in 1948 or 1948. Nature is at work reclaiming the natural materials that were used to build that car. It may take hundreds of years but nature always wins.
Today, I’m thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr. Our own African American pastor spoke about Dr. King eloquently yesterday and shard a recording of Dr. King speaking about his kitchen table experience in 1956, in which he talks about receiving a call around midnight with an ugly death threat, and finding the strength and courage to continue with his mission by calling on his God. My heart aches at the fact that we are still wrestling with white supremacy in this country, but I know that “the arc of the moral universe is long and bends toward justice.”
I am grateful for the day-date with my wife on Saturday, it was time together that was much needed. I’m grateful for the time with my brother on our walk yesterday, and nature’s gentle reminder that she always wins. And I’m grateful for the courage and strength of leaders which inspires me to be brave and strong.
I promise, this post will highlight some good things that happened in my life in 2020, but first I have to acknowledge some unavoidable and inconvenient truths about this past year.
There is no doubt that when the history books are written, 2020 will go down as an epic shit show of a year. In early 2020, it was evident that a major epidemic was brewing in China — a virus which would eventually break free of the Chinese government’s efforts to contain the damage and become the COVID-19 Pandemic. We watched in horror as first, Europe and then the United States struggled to control the virus. We watched an epic failure on the part of the Trump administration when they at first ignored the virus, then downplayed it, prematurely declared victory, and finally walked away from it while we suffer death rates in excess of 9/11 on a daily basis in the United States.
Our economy faltered and failed. The most vulnerable among us became victims as the pandemic ripped through communities and people who could not work remotely continued to go to their jobs so that they could put food on their tables, or lost their jobs. We watched as relief packages expired and our Senate Majority Leader blocked meaningful legislative action to assist those who needed it, as the chill of autumn crept in and people couldn’t afford food, let alone heat.
And if a Pandemic wasn’t enough, we watched again and again as police in America killed black men and women. Our cities burned during the summer as years of rage boiled over, but there were far more peaceful protests in the name of Black Lives Matter than there were riots. We watched as President Trump used protests as a politically convenient tool to further his agenda of hate and chaos. He used tear gas on peaceful protesters to clear a street in DC so that he could have a photo op in front of a church while holding a bible as a prop, upside down. He waged an very real press war on a very imaginary radical left that he calls Antifa. Let’s be clear, Antifa is Anti-Fascist. Every American should be anti-fascist — the Greatest Generation fought to destroy fascism in the 30s and 40s.
Yes, 2020 was a shit show. We have all suffered with isolation and fear this past year amidst the pandemic. However, I know that there were also good things that happened in my life this past year and I was reminded of many of them last night when I scrolled through the photos in my phone. Yes, it’s been a year of challenges, but I realized it wasn’t all bad.
Before I begin sharing some of the good things that happened this past year, I need to acknowledge that I am privileged. I work for an information security company that has been wildly successful during the pandemic. Our company has been successful in part because so many other companies were not prepared for a rapid shift to remote work and needed to make significant investments in their infrastructure as digital transformation accelerated as a result of the new realities of the pandemic. My job was 100% remote before the pandemic and the biggest change for me with respect to work was that I began meeting with my customers over Zoom rather than in person. I’m tired of this, to be sure, but I am also fortunate. Our company shifted to 100% remote for all employees early and has not gone back to in person work. We are truly fortunate because we get to work safely from home, day in and day out. This privilege has meant that I have been shielded from the harshest realities of the pandemic and for that I am truly grateful.
The year started off, much like any other year. I was blissfully ignorant of what has happening in China on January 1st 2020, as were most Americans. On New Years Day, we went to Harpers Ferry for a hike and enjoyed views of the Shenandoah. Over the course of the month, I began to hear the name “Wuhan” more and more frequently, but it was distant. It was something that was happening in Asia. It felt a bit like SARS to me. I was mildly afraid but not overly concerned despite the fact that during the SARS and H1N1 epidemics I’d been part of a planning exercise for a pandemic while working at a global media organization.
In February, news of the virus had started to become more urgent. My company typically hosts a technical conference in February for the global systems engineering and professional services organizations in Vegas. There was some talk about whether to cancel the conference, but it went forward. We were advised that our colleagues from APAC would not be in attendance and that if we felt unsafe, we could opt out of the conference. I went to the conference, despite some reticence. I have taken to going to couple of shows when I’m in Vegas now since I don’t drink or gamble. I saw Aerosmith on February 10th. It would be the last live show I’d see in a long time. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry put on an amazing show.
In the middle of March, I had my last in person meeting with a customer. I remember offering my hand for the customary handshake and my customer taking it and then saying, “oh, wait, we aren’t supposed to do this anymore.” Despite knowing that the guidance coming from the Trump administration that masks were unnecessary, I remember thinking that they would be a good idea. But they were hard to find and I felt that health care workers needed them more than I did.
In my town, there is a special place called the Donut Shack. The Donut Shack was a local independent business that was started 30 years ago and had the best donuts ever. In 2019, the owners retired and sold the shop. The first new owners, ruined it. They sold within 3 months. The second new owners, destroyed it. It sat empty for a few months. I was quite sad. Early in 2020, I was alerted to the fact that a third set of new owners was working with the original ownership to learn their craft. March was special because even though we got stuck in lockdown, the Donut Shack reopened and the donuts are as good as they used to be!
My wife loves San Diego Fish Tacos, and along with her quest to find the perfect Caesar Salad, she regularly orders fish tacos when we are out. They are almost always a disappointment. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but cheese does not go on a fish taco. Neither does lettuce. As the lockdown began to stretch on, we started to get antsy and she started talking about the foods that she missed. Fish tacos came up. I scoured the internet and found a few recipes. I tried a few and in April, I perfected Baja Style Fish Tacos! There was much rejoicing and even my picky son loved them!
If you know me, or if you have been following along for a while, you know that is love bicycles. As the lockdown stretched into May, I started looking for additional ways to get outside. I had done a 4 weeks to faster 5K training regimen in April and was getting tired of running. I wanted to get out on my bike, but I have been struggling with tight hamstrings as a result of too much time in the saddle for a few years. When I was younger, I rode mountain bikes but after a few gnarly accidents I’d put my Specialized Rockhopper into retirement. I was dying to get out in the woods and one day, I decided to take my bike to a local trail. After that ride, I came home and said to my wife, “I don’t know why I ever stopped doing that.” Thus began my re-entry into the MTB world and began my quest for a new ride which proved difficult because everyone in the entire United States was buying bikes last spring!
In June, the fact that we’d been stuck in the same 5 square miles was really eating at us. We weighed the pros and cons of going on a vacation heavily. I was initially very much against the idea, but after talking with a few friends I warmed up to the fact that I could quarantine at the beach just as I was here at home. We rented a place and went to the beach. It was lovely. There were very few people at the beach and we had all our meals in the house. Many of the restaurants were closed entirely, but a handful were offering take out. We were very careful and wore our masks and abided by the rules of Delaware at the time. One day, I went out for a paddle in a kayak on the Delaware Bay. As I was paddling I found myself surrounded by a pod of dolphins! They were so close to the boat I could have touched them with my paddle, which of course I did not do. It was a special moment.
I’d long wanted to upgrade to a full suspension mountain bike, but since I hadn’t been riding on the trails, I never felt that I could justify it. As I started riding on the trails more regualrly, it became apparent that my 22 year old bike was in need of an upgrade. I wrestled with whether to upgrade to a 29er or a 650b ride. After a few test rides, it was clear to me that I didn’t want a 29er. My buddy Eugene let me ride his Yeti SB140 and I was instantly in love. I ordered the last one I could find in June. In July, my new bike came after a long process (the original bike shipped with a crack in the head tube). I rode it a few times at my local trail system and in mid July, I went down to Virginia one Saturday for an epic ride at Fountainhead with my buddy Eugene from work. It was great to see Eugene after a few months of talking on the phone and team Zoom calls. We tore up the trails and it was one of the best rides of the summer on my new bike.
August found us feeling cooped up again. We made plans to go to NY to see my wife’s family for the first time since the previous November, but they got thwarted when Governor Cuomo announced quarantine restrictions on visitors from Maryland. After some searching we found that we could get a cabin on the grounds of the Greenbrier in West Virginia. We did not want be in the main hotel because we wanted to be as careful as possible and the cabin presented us with a way to go but maintain social distancing. When we entered the property, the staff took our temperatures. If you had a fever you would be turned away. We enjoyed our trip. Nearly all our activities were outdoors and by ourselves. When we were with others everyone wore masks. While we were there, a good friend with deep roots in the local area pointed us to an amazing little cafe in Lewisburg, WV.
In September, the restrictions in NY were lifted and we went to visit my wife’s family. Because we did not want to put them at risk, we stayed in a hotel rather than at their house and we met outdoors for a walk and lunch at an restaurant with outdoor seating. It was nice to get to see them and also to see some of the first fall colors of the year. And of course, September was also important because September 23rd was my 5th sobriety anniversary! I remember early in the Trump administration saying that it would be a miracle if I got through his presidency sober. Well, not only did I get through four years of ignorance and chaos, but I also got through the pandemic (so far) without taking a drink. Miracles.
In October, the restrictions on in person meetings of more than 10 people in Maryland were briefly lifted. This afforded my son’s scout troop the opportunity to meet outside with masks. We had about six meetings as a troop before it got too cold and the restrictions were put back in place as the virus began to rage again. We managed to get the only scout camping trip of the year in during the month of October. I vividly recall talking with other dads on the trip about how good it felt to be outside and how much we all needed that trip.
In November, we watched as 81,283,485 Americans showed the world that we don’t stand for fascism, white supremacy, and authoritarianism. Sadly, 74,223,744 Americans showed the world that these things are not deal breakers for them. The next 50 days would be filled with disinformation and flagrantly false statements from the president as he and his team of thugs worked to find any possible way to hold on to power. Every lawsuit that was brought was struck down by the courts because they were all baseless. It was a sad time in America. We have a lot to wrestle with as a nation. Somehow we need to find a way to bridge the gaps that exist between so many people. I genuinely believe that the vast majority of people vote more often than not out of fear than they do out of conviction. We’ve weathered a rough few years that nearly tore the country apart. But I have faith. Faith that things will get better. Faith that truth and justice will prevail. As Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently said when he paraphrased the 19th century Unitarian Universalist, Theodore Parker, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
December didn’t feel much like December. We lost my uncle Danny to cancer in December. He had been sick for a long time, and while it was sad to see him go, we all knew that he was finally at peace. Still, his death hit me more deeply than I originally thought. I’ve lost a lot of people over the years and many of them have been 65 or younger. As I am now 48, this can be scary and overwhelming. I know that I’m doing the right things to maximize my time on earth, but it’s still scary to see so many people die early in my family.
Between Danny’s death, the general malaise of the pandemic, and the aforementioned disinformation campaign coming from the White House, it was really hard to get into the Christmas spirit. There were no holiday parties to attend, and we didn’t get together for a family meal on Christmas Day. Still, we had a nice Christmas. I built a custom gaming PC with my son for him for his Christmas present and we got got a few more hikes in as well, including one at one of our favorite spots on the Chesapeake Bay.
Yes, 2020 was a shit show. There is no doubt about it. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. We did a lot less than we would have in a typical year, but we were also lucky to be able to do a lot more than others. We were cautious about when and where we went and we wore our masks religiously. I’m sure that some may judge us for all the activity that we partook in. That’s fine, we made our choices based on our circumstances. When we were home, we were isolated and so we were reasonably assured that we were not carrying the virus. We were fortunate that we did not come in contact with the virus in our travels. Thankfully, we have our health and there is hope on the horizon in 2021.
I have loved boots as long as I can remember. I remember having rubber boots that buttoned around the front when I was very small, wearing sandwich bags over my feet to go out in the snow. When I was in second grade, after we moved to the sticks, I started asking for a pair of cowboy boots, and a insulated vest, because that’s what the kids who’s parents had farms wore to school.
My parents got me a pair of cowboy boots for Christmas and I wore them long after they were too tight for my feet. The were the coolest — the toe, vamp, and heal of the uppers were light brown and the shaft was dark brown with white stitching on the sides.
In high school, I was one of the kids who wore combat boots. I wanted Dr. Martens desperately, especially in the ox-blood color but they were expensive — and the skin heads wore the ox-bloods. The rumor was that you’d get your ass kicked if you were wearing them and were caught by the skins. To boot (pun intended) they’d steal the boots right off your feet. One of my childhood friends got caught up in the skins, and he was the one who told me these stories. I believed him, whether they were true or not.
All this is to say, that I come by the boots thing honestly.
When I got sober though, boots took on a new meaning for me. I had tentatively started tweeting about my sobriety, under my original handle “ddeville.” As I learned more about the Traditions, I felt a need to anonymize my handle. I started out with “sobercyclist” but there was another person who was using this in place of her name and it was confusing to folks. As I sat at my desk one afternoon, wearing a pair of harness boots, I came up with “soberboots” and I hastily registered this domain name. And I quickly developed a sense of an identity around the name soberboots.
I remember feeling out of place at meetings. I had no criminal record, no DUIs, no arrests, no fights, none of what I saw as the trappings of an alcoholic. I thought that I needed to be a hard ass. That I needed to craft an identity that fit the picture of an alcoholic in my mind. I don’t know where I got this, admittedly insane, idea. But I confess that I liked the name “soberboots” because it came with an air of toughness that I felt I needed to be a person in recovery. And I started buying more boots.
The first pair was a legitimate replacement for a worn out pair of ankle high boots lace up boots that I already had. It was a pair of Red Wing Moc-Toes with a lug sole. They were super stiff. They were hard ass. I felt like a bad ass in them.
Next I bought a pair of Red Wing Beckmens in Cherry Featherstone leather. They were a glorious shade of oxblood. I loved the color and I was no longer worried about skinheads beating me up and stealing my boots. And like all Red Wing boots, they were hard ass. Super tough.
Here’s the thing about Red Wing boots — they aren’t fucking comfortable. I know that some hipster out there will argue with me on this, and frankly I don’t give a shit. They are stiff as hell, completely unlined, and most people complain that they take for ever to break in. I’m here to say, that I don’t think they ever break in. I tried my damnedest and I don’t think I ever got them fully broken in even though I wore them nearly every day for a couple of years. And, they are super expensive. I’m embarrassed by how much money I spent on those boots to be honest.
A few years into my sobriety, I tried on a pair of Blundstones which are originally from Australia and are classic Chelsea boots. And they were like slippers — super comfortable boots. Like no pain at all. They look great and while they aren’t cheap, they don’t even come close to what Red Wings cost. Once I bought these boots, I almost never wore those hard ass Red Wings again. I still loved the look of them, but every time I put them on I found myself taking them off as soon as I could. I recognized that I wanted to be comfortable more than I wanted to look like a hard ass.
At the same time, I was becoming more comfortable in my sobriety. I realized that I needed to be me, not some insane idealization of “what an alcoholic looks like.” I found out that some of the dudes in the rooms who looked the roughest and toughest, were actually really compassionate. I learned that masculinity is not defined by boots and muscles, but by the ability to connect with others. I learned the difference between toxic masculinity and being a man.
Sometimes I think about changing the name of this blog. But I don’t think I’m going to. For one thing, my buddy Mark has said that the name is one of the greatest names he’s ever seen for a sobriety blog. And secondly, I feel like there’s still a metaphor in the name. I am walking a path of recovery, and I often wear boots, which provide me with protection and support — kind of like recovery does.
As the pandemic reaches the seventh month here in the United States, and our death toll continues to climb — in part due to mismanagement and disinformation on the part of the highest levels of our federal government — we are assaulted by science denial and lies on a daily basis. We watch as the President intentionally sows distrust of the electoral process, spreads baseless conspiracy theories, and has calls for his cult like followers to actively participate in voter intimidation at the polls, as it becomes more and more likely that he will lose the election.
We are, rightfully, wary of our fellow humans — no one knows who is infected or who has been exposed. Most of us wear masks, but some refuse to do so — I don’t believe in hell, but if I did, I’d be sure that there is a special place in hell for these people. For those of us who are practicing sanity, we have forgotten what life without masks looks and feels like. We don’t see other people smile.
For many of us, life has taken on a tone of monotony, as if we are living the movie, Groundhog Day, were we are going through the motions and every day feels the same. Blendsday — waking up on Saturday often leads to a moment of confusion about what I have to do for work, only to realize that it is the weekend.
But having the weekend has become small comfort — we can’t really do the things we’d normally do on the weekends like gather with friends and family. Put simply, life doesn’t feel much like the life in the land of the free and the home of the brave lately. It feels dysfunctional because it is dysfunctional. We aren’t living through a time that simple feels dystopian, our time has actually become dystopian in many ways.
This weekend has been different. My son’s scout troop went on it’s first camping trip since COVID started. Things were different on this trip. Each boy slept in his own tent. The adults prepared all the meals. We wore masks all day and gloves during meal prep. We used disposable plates, cups, and flatware. We camped on private land rather than at a campsite — the county parks are still closed to overnight camping and all the state parks are booked.
And yet, it was a change in homeostasis. We were outside. We were together. Doing things. Building fire pits and fires. Boys learning to use tools like axes and saws. Tug of war. Ultimate frisbee.
It was clearly not Blendsday.
Yesterday, in the middle of the day as I was prepping and serving lunch to middle school and teenage boys, I felt something in my chest. A peculiar sensation.
Buzzing. Tingling. Warmth. Excitement.
Moments of joy have been few and far between for so long I almost didn’t recognize it. I mean, I literally felt the feelings in my chest and wondered what was going on. As I made another sandwich, I took inventory of the rest of my body. It was only when I recognized that I was actually smiling under my mask that I could name it.
It was a feeling brought on by doing the next right thing. In this case, being a responsible father, serving young men, being a role model for them, and knowing I was making a difference.
One of the other fathers said it best while we were lounging around a fire mid-day yesterday day, “I needed this.” He was referring to being out in the woods, the fresh air, the petrichor of the forest floor after a passing shower, and the physical activities of camping.
And while I needed all of that, it was not just the experience of getting out in the wilderness that brought on joy. My higher purpose in life was being fully actualized in the moment. That’s what life is all about. That’s how we get through the dystopia.
“People need to hear your story. I think it’s inspirational. I mean you used to be a guy who didn’t do much besides go to bars and get drunk. Now, you do cool things. You love your wife, spend time with your son. You run. You hike. You bike. People need to hear your story.”
“Well, bud, some do. They hear it on my blog. They hear it at meetings. It’s why I have so many followers on Twitter.”
“Dad, you’re semi-viral on Twitter. Anyone with more than 1000 followers is semi-viral.”
“Well, that’s why people follow me on Twitter, bud. Because they get to hear my experience, strength, and hope there. And that’s why they follow me.”
I had this conversation with my son on Saturday as we finished a run that I’d made him go on. Not a long run. Not a fast run. An easy walk/run exercise to try to get him interested in running.
He fought me when I suggested it. He’s 12. He doesn’t want to run with his father. He doesn’t want to run at all. But I know it will be good to help him develop a habit of exercise. No one ever taught me this important life skill. I’m trying to break that cycle in the family.
He’s right. People do need to hear my story. People need to hear all our stories. And telling our stories is important. It’s cathartic. It helps us process the pain that caused us to drink or drug in the first place.
Sharing our stories helps others who may be struggling with similar challenges. As I’ve learned to get vulnerable and share from the heart in meetings, I’ve had many people tell me that my story gives them hope. Hope that they too can get sober. Hope that they can stay sober when the going gets tough.
I have heard enough stories in my recovery community that are like mine to know that I’m not unique. There are thousands, no millions, even hundreds of millions like me, who have given up the drink or the drug and are living extraordinary lives. We are the lucky ones.
But, in the eyes of my son I am extraordinary. That’s all I can ask for. Small recognitions from my son that I’m living up to my Higher Purpose, being a good husband and father. Doing the next right thing.
In the eyes of a 12 year old having thousands of followers is important.
The first wave shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it still knocked me off my feet. I’d seen it coming, and with all the confidence of a young boy, I stood and faced it head on, fully expecting that it would be no match for me. Quite the contrary, I was no match for it.
The second and third ones seemed to come out of nowhere. Gasping for air and trying to stand up again another wave crashed on top of me, driving me into the sandy ocean floor. I don’t remember being scared, but I’m sure I must have been — I was probably around 9 or 10 years old, and the Atlantic was having it’s way with me.
I suspect that most people who have grown up going to the beach know this story. Most of us have thought that we were stronger than we were at one point or another in our lives. And kids who’ve grown up going to the beach have certainly had experiences like mine where they were caught in the breakers and were getting pummeled by the ocean.
At some point, I realized that I needed to stop fighting. That the only way to escape, was to let the surf carry me further in toward shore, where the waves would be less forceful and I’d be able to stand.
This year I’ve felt like I’m that little boy again. Month after month there have been challenges in my life that have hit me hard. It’s begun to feel like things may never get better, like there will be more and more waves with no end in sight.
I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’m ready for a break.
Perhaps, the key is surrender again. Perhaps, I need to stop fighting the flow and just go with it. But that feels impossible at this point.
So, I persist.
I do the things that I know work. I go to meetings. I call others who I trust. I talk about what’s going on in my life and how it’s impacting me. I tweet to the #recoveryposse. I And most importantly, I don’t drink.
I don’t drink.
Its a fucking miracle, but I haven’t picked up a drink through all the turmoil of 2019. And I don’t do that because there’s nothing happening in my life that a drink won’t make worse.
Sooner or later, these waves will come to a stop. Sooner or later this too shall pass. And when I’m through it, I’ll know that Nietzsche was right.
“That which does not kill me, somehow, makes me stronger”
Coming out publicly about my sobriety has changed my life. I wish I could tell you that I’d planned it out, that I gave it careful consideration, that I’d done it with a complete understanding of what I was getting into, but I can’t. That would be a lie.
I maintained another blog for several years that had almost no focus (surprise, I was a complete mess drinking all the time…) and one day, I just posted that I’d been sober and going to meetings as a way to get the word out to my friends. Over the next few weeks I posted a few more times and thought a lot about whether to keep these posts as part of the old blog or to start a new one. When I had the clarity that I had a lot to say about my journey, and that my journey would be life long, I knew it was time to split out these posts and start this blog.
In doing so I’ve made myself accountable. Most of my good friends, people in my local fellowship, as well as thousands of people around the world have read my posts, many with regularity. By writing about my journey, I’ve let the cat out of the bag and sometimes that’s what’s kept me from taking a drink.
There is also something highly cathartic about writing — I think that’s part of what many find so incredible about the fourth step. When we put our thoughts down on paper (or in bits and bytes as we do today) they stare back at us in black and white. We can’t escape them.
There have been times when I was a little freaked out about being so public about my sobriety. Last spring, while I was talking to my new company I was waiting for the shoe to drop that someone had found my blog. I don’t know what I expected to happen, but I feared that this might hinder my chances at a new job.
There have also been times when I’ve worried that my openness may impact my family— more specifically my son. I’ve coached his soccer team, and I’m about to step up to be a Den Leader for his Webelos den. I have worried that people will judge him because of me. Still, I share my story.
See, if people do judge me, I don’t know about it — and more importantly, I’ve received nothing but positive encouragement from people who know that I’ve made a decision to be sober. I think that this represents a turning point in people’s attitudes about recovery. There was a time when being in recovery may have meant a moral failing in the eyes of some people, but I think that the majority of people don’t see it that way anymore. I may be naive, but my experience hasn’t shown me the judgement that I once feared.
If anything, my openness has helped others. I’ve had several friends and acquaintances who’ve asked me about my sobriety. Several have decided that perhaps they might give this a go. Some who have explored it have remained sober, and others have not. I don’t judge anyone who has chosen not to remain sober after talking to me — I recognize that we all have our own path. What’s important to me is that they know that they can talk with me — that they can ask me questions and that I am in a place where I can offer my perspective.
That’s why it’s important for those of us in recovery to tell our stories. If nobody knows that we’re sober, they won’t know who to ask for help.