There is no grief like the grief that does not speak. -Henry Wordsworth


I have a lot of reasons to be crabby today: I’m tired, I have a ton of papers to grade, and I just feel sad. I didn’t have power yesterday due to large storms and my shoes don’t match my outfit. But these are all the surface reasons why I feel crabby. These surface reasons are a part of the reason I drank. I am not blaming the surface; don’t misread me here. Maybe I drank for the surface reasons.

But actually all of the above (barring my buddy Henry’s words) is a bunch of crap. I am not crabby today. I’m grieving, and I don’t want to talk about it. All day, I have found myself swallowing and not breathing. Shoulders hunched over, I have barely made eye contact with anyone. On Day 12 of sobriety, I decided to make a pact with myself to determine why I drink  and to keep looking no matter what. So with an awareness I’ve never allowed myself permission to have, I began an investigation of my behavior today- a third-party evaluation if you will. Here’s what I have found:

1. I’m grieving the fact that I don’t get to stuff my feelings anymore. They are flowing out of me like a toilet clogged with a child’s Lego set, all 3,000 pieces. It was so much easier to drink than to behave like an adult and have follow-up discussions with my husband when I have misspoke or misrepresented how I felt the first time around.

2. I’m grieving the fact that I choose alcohol over _____________________ (fill in the blank- my kids, my spouse, my students, my happiness, my life, my health, my sanity, my memories of people…)

3. I’m grieving the fact that I was never taught nor did I self teach how to respect myself, my feelings, my voice. It pisses me off that I grew up in a home where alcohol was the scapegoat for everything. Why couldn’t I have been born into a “normal” family with “normal genes?”

4. I am grieving the fact that the next time I am in a social situation with alcohol that I must say, “No. I’ll have water, thank you.”

But again, most of this is crap, too. Let me clarify: All of the above is constituted as true in the realm of black and white is that the truth. The reality is I haven’t been sober long enough to know what my real grief is all about. When I am ready, my mind will allow all of the truth to flow. By that point, I hope to have a sponsor, have attended meetings, continued with my therapist, read more great blogs and advice and all of the other great suggestions that help with sobriety.

So when Wordsworth says the saddest part of grief is that which is not addressed or given a voice, I agree. Because if the sadness could speak, it wouldn’t be masked in alcohol.

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