I don’t mean to be harsh, but I have no time for unicorns.
Metaphorical unicorns. Obviously.
I had been invited to a women’s recovery group on Facebook while I was back in rehab after my last relapse. Facebook groups were never my thing but I joined thinking I could use all the support on offer…even if it meant using my real name/profile.
To be honest, I didn’t get much from the group, which is why I won’t mention it by name; lots of women love it and think it’s a great space.
But then, a couple of days ago there was a post so utterly brilliant it made me literally scream “YES!” out loud when I read it.
I will call this post “The Rant”. It deserves to be capitalised.
The Rant can be paraphrased thusly: Let’s all stop pretending that sobriety is all unicorns and rainbows all the time. Sobriety is great and all but life is fucking difficult and the problems we used to drink on are still there. Let’s just be real and acknowledge that.
YES! Yes! Yes! Yes! YESSSSSSS!!!!
Do you know how badly I needed to hear that? I read it the day after I was knocked sideways by my therapy session and left wondering what the hell is wrong with me that I am not rushing out to buy yoga pants and that I occasionally (frequently) bristle at the constant barrage of positive recovery quotes on Instagram.
Especially the badly designed ones. Goddam it, there are so many free tools that make designing shit easy, people. Use them.
I was legitimately struggling with how positive so many people in recovery seem to be, when I still can’t function well enough to eat three meals a day.
The rant legitimised how I felt.
I enthusiastically replied to The Rant with something equally rant-y about my grattitude list including the fact that I didn’t shit myself that morning (too much coffee, it was close).
Some people found it funny. Many were not amused.
Then things got downright hostile. Many women thought The Rant and my reply were raining on their recovery parade.
The Rant has since been deleted, as it has been deemed unhelpful to newcomers.
Hello! Newcomer here! Most useful thing I read in the group since I joined…?
But no. It was deleted, and then thoroughly admonished.
So I left the group.
My recovery is about so much more than not drinking anymore. That’s why this is a blog about recovering from a mid-thirties meltdown and not just giving up the booze.
Drinking was the “solution” (escape) to my problems: a totally unsatisfying career, out of control debt, out of control weight, codependency issues leading to marital problems etc.
If all I had to deal with was not drinking then things would be a hell of a lot easier.
But no, those problems are still there and guess what? THEY SUCK. Dealing with them sucks and it’s exhausting…but I’m doing it.
Sometimes I need to grit my teeth and swear so I don’t break down into a sobbing mess. I do not have the money for yoga pants or a wellness-based retreat in Bali or dairy-free, wheat-free anything.
I’m not saying I’m hard done by because I’m not: I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge and a lot of little luxuries that many people can’t even dream of owning.
What I do have is a giant mess to clean up. That means I have to acknowledge the mess, and accept the fact that cleaning it up won’t be easy.
That’s just the reality of my situation.
Don’t get me wrong: positive quotes (even the badly designed ones) do have a time and a place. I just don’t relate to a lot of sober bloggers who seem to have put down the drink and picked up a new wellness-based lifestyle without breaking a sweat.
So if you’re here, you’re going to read about the sweat and the tears and the things that piss me off. I’m not going to minimise the difficulty of being in recovery because maybe one day someone else will read this and think the same thing I thought when I read The Rant: “thank fuck I am not the only one who is struggling”.
I will also share my victories as and when they happen, but it’s early days and early days are the hardest (so I’m told). Not shitting myself was the best thing to happen to me two days ago. It will get better, I know it will, but I’m not going to wait until life is a bowl of cherries to start writing about it. My journey starts with the pits.
(I totally just ripped of the title of a Erma Bombeck book there. Sorry, Erma.)
By far my favourite quote I’ve read online so far is this one: “This too shall pass. It might pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.”
That is real recovery to me: optimism, sure…but with a healthy dose of reality.
And that’s the moppiness recovery philosophy in a nutshell: keeping this crazy but totally worthwhile journey real.
Getting sober is brilliant because I can deal with my problems now, even if I do so with the grace of a cow.
I’ll take that over the impossibility of a unicorn any day.
And that’s my rant, over.