So I am a teacher and I am back to school this week. This year was so different: I wasn’t anxious, nervous, running like a mad woman with no end in sight. I was calm, slightly coffee-charged and happy. When I came in the building, I received some pretty great comments. “WOW. You look great. What are you doing?” “What’s your secret?” and so on.
Don’t get me wrong. I am an alcoholic. I loved the positive charges. I’m humble, but this old gal likes a few positive strokes now and then. So, I would politely say thanks and go on to mutter something about T25, some shakes for breakfast and coaching my little boys’ baseball teams.
The Truth is people, I am no longer drinking Captain and Coke like a great sand storm is upon us and no fluids will be available for decades.I was easily consuming 3,000+ calories a day in alcohol alone. Because I am not hungover all day, I have the drive to get off the couch and play with my children. I have the ability to work out now and stick to it because it makes me feel good about me. One gal said, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but you look 20 years younger.” THAT one is a stretch for sure.
So why can’t I just tell my coworkers that I am an alcoholic? Damn. Sometimes the Truth eludes me. I don’t want the judgement, the looks of pity, or the tsk tsks that will follow. I spent the greater part of 45 years putting myself down with shame that I want a fresh start. Quite frankly, I’ve worked hard. I’ve been going to meetings, listening to my sponsor, monitoring a meeting, seeing a therapist, journaling, praying, praying, did I mention praying? It hasn’t been easy. This summer alone I had another death of a good friend, a daughter had to be picked up by a transport team to take her to a boarding school for the next year and a half (she’s too much like me in the addiction department), I lost some close friendships because I choose not to drink. The list goes on and on. Simply, life went on.
Starting a new school year was exactly what I needed. I eased into this because I wasn’t worried about drinking all summer. I wasn’t thinking about how hungover I’d be going to work. I didn’t have to have the fear that my skin would be oozing of alcohol the day after only a good drunk can produce. The best part, though, is when I put on my big girl panties- and they were too big.
Meaning, I am on Step 9- making amends. My Higher Power graced me this week with His presence so I could make amends to a coworker I had deliberately been putting down for the past three years. I stirred the pot, I acted smug, I took cheap shots. This week, I was provided with an opportunity to look her dead in the eye and say, “I’m sorry. I have not only NOT behaved like a professional, but also I have acted in a way that is less than becoming as a person.” I was able to take full responsibility for my ways and I felt it in my heart. I am sincere and it shows. My coworker then started to take ownership… I had to politely tell her that this was not about her wronging me. See, anything she may have done was in direct response to me being nothing short of a bitch. She owed me nothing in the way of an apology and I told her so. I let her know that I had to wait for the right time so that my heart was in the right place and that I would make this amends without regret or leaving out details I HAD to own. Was it easy? Not really. But it was much easier than my mind played it out to be. So, my underwear don’t fit anymore. I’m physically smaller, yes. But my emotional burdens are shrinking, too. The sense of relief I have in my mind and my heart are amazing. Who knew an apology could be so liberating?
So when my coworkers want to know what I am doing? I am working on getting real. If I am losing physical weight in the process so be it. But the real weight loss is the albatross who formerly had a place around my neck.
I feel empowered today but in a quiet, humble way. It sounds contradictory, but if you have made amends to others, I think you get what I mean.
I don’t have to live in turmoil, shame, guilt. I can live in peace, happiness, serenity and joy.