Thursday, May 10, 2012


Years and years ago I had a different blog. I kept it up for quite some time, and even now it's interesting to go back and take a look at it and see how much I've changed - and how I've stayed the same - over the years. Back then, I was pretty indiscriminate about what I wrote there: I recorded everything. I'm grateful for my honesty back then, but there were some consequences. For one, sometimes I wrote about other people, and - in the case of my boyfriend at the time - sometimes those people read what I wrote, and got angry.

At the time, it was important to me that I write openly and honestly. I struggled with that a bit, because at the end of the day it sucks to hurt people you love, but more often than not I decided to write what I wanted and deal with the consequences if and when they arose.

I'm more circumspect now, I think. As I get older, some things - like not hurting loved ones - became more important and other things - like airing other peoples' dirty laundry online to complete strangers - became less important. These days, when I write online, I try to be respectful, especially of the people in my life, but that doesn't mean there aren't conflicts.

One of the things I prize about myself is my openness and honesty. I can lie, and do so when I'm scared, but it isn't a comfortable thing for me to do. I'm not able to put up a front for any serious length of time. I find it exhausting to pretend to feel something that I don't, or to bite my tongue when I feel strongly about something. I say what I'm thinking and don't have very much of a filter. Lucky for me I'm mostly a nice guy, so the stuff that comes out of my mouth isn't usually hurtful or terrible, though I'm certain that my tendancy to reveal things about myself has had a personal cost. Some people have told me that I appear inconsistent in my views and attitudes. I don't know that this is true, exactly, but it is true that I think about things from a lot of different angles, and so depending on where you catch me in my thinking process, I could end up saying very different things, including things that, at the end of the day, I don't really believe. But I more than likely believed it as I was saying it.

Sometimes in life, there are things that really affect me, and, for the purposes of this blog, affect how I feel about my sobriety, but they involve other people and won't necessarily paint them in a very flattering light. In cases like that, I struggle to figure out how to be honest and open about my feelings about living sober and not hurting people I care about.

This is just a round about way to get to the point, which is that two weeks ago someone close to me - who, in general, has been an amazing and stalwart supporter of me in pretty much everything - did something that hurt me pretty badly. What he did maybe wasn't that bad, but the timing of it, the nature of it, and how that interracted with my own history and issues, made it  feel bad.

So, that's been affecting my mood over the last few weeks, and it has sucked.

I'm writing about it now because since it happened we've had some chances to talk about it and we're coming out the other side.

I'm writing about it here because it's another bench mark in my sobriety, a sign of my maturity in how we handled this situation. Maybe if I'd been drinking I would have handled it in the same way, but I also might have used it as a trigger to go on a bender, or might have started a fight and lashed out, turned my hurt into anger and then hurt someone I loved.

Yeah, it sucks to feel hurt, and I was feeling pretty miserable about the whole thing for a while, but I know that I handled things as best I can. I was able to bring an element of thoughtfulness to the discussions, to keep perspective.

As a drinker, I handled a lot of situations as if I were a teenager, including temper tantrums and a self-centred attitude of entitlement, the idea that any crisis is earth-shattering and cataclysmic. Part of the sobriety process is finally growing up. And that doesn't mean not feeling things deeply (is it possible that adults feel things more deeply than we do as children? That the reason kids react so strongly to minor slights isn't because those slights feel worse but because kids lack perspective and can't tell minor issues from major? I'm too biased about my own feelings right now to say for sure), but it means that we have more tools and more strength to deal with those feelings.

It's a matter of being more aware of the subtleties of life. And it means that I can learn to write posts that are honest an d open, but that don't burn the people close to me.

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