A Celebration of Women
has been inspired to share the life bloggings of a real woman in recovery … please welcome Alexis.
Ever stare in the mirror wishing your reflection had a voice of its own?
I’ve spent the past few evenings gazing at my image in the mirror, wishing that my id would speak to me. Unanswered questions, doubt and fear were written all over my face and I couldn’t grasp on to a reason why. Shouldn’t there be some deeper meaning, some philosophical reason or some epiphany that would hit me like a bolt of lightening and reinstate a sense of purpose for my day-to-day existence. Sound a little deep? Perhaps my thoughts were a tad dark? Do I really need to find an underlying meaning for everything that I attempt? Is it worth it to put everything on the line and let everyone see what I am capable of achieving?Being frightened of my own capabilities has kept me frozen behind the guise of words that are not my own. Playing it safe, living up to other’s preconceived notions of whom I ought to be and wasting time wondering if I will repeat the mistakes of my past have chained me into a position of complacency. It’s socially acceptable to be the good girl and dangerous to be the bad girl. I’m ready to find a harmony between the two. Both aspects take up equal space in my psyche.So now I’m ready. I am equipped with everything I need to do what I’ve always done best. Upset and anger the status quo.
I make my own rules, I live without expectations and I yearn to see how this current evolution of my life pans out. I’m finally ready for the ride of a lifetime.
5 Things I Took Away From Bill W’s Story
I cannot tell you how many times I have read Bill W’s story in the Big Book. I have read, re-read and participated in Big Book groups and discussed this chapter. I always take away something different when I read Bill’s Story. It’s almost like the Power’s That Be decided highlight different parts of the story depending on what is going on in my life. This morning I skimmed the chapter again, pondered on what I would write about and decided to emphasize the 5 things that popped out at me.
1. “Why don’t you choose your own conception of God?”
2. “Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to etablish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements.”
3. “My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs.”
4. It is imperative to work with others as he had worked with me.
5. “Faith without works was dead”
Are You In Or Are You Out?
The question of anonymity in the realm of those addicted is being questioned. For years, many addicts and recovering addicts relied heavily on the anonymous nature of traditional 12-step programs. With the increase of technology empowering those addicted and in recovery to have a “voice”, the curtain of anonymity is being dropped. The issue being raised questions if anonymity is still safe due to the increase in recovering addicts coming out of the addiction closet. Fear is also rising regarding the protection of the anonymity of those that choose to remain anonymous. In my opinion, I truly believe the safety of anonymity remains.
While the controversy over remaining anonymous runs rampant, I figured I would add a few points to hopefully clarify the situation. Mainly, I don’t see a problem. I highly doubt that individuals who opt to be public about their recovery or struggles with addiction are going to start a campaign to “out” the entire community. Also, I don’t think that by openly declaring your addiction status threatens the anonymity of those that opt to no be as open. Individuals that wish to remain anonymous can do so and those that opt to declare their addiction or recovery to the world at large should be free to do so as well. I fall (obviously) into the category of people who decided to shed their anonymity. Why did I do this?
I made the personal choice to become public about my struggles with alcohol and drugs and subsequent day-to-day success of remaining sober and thriving in recovery. I did so because I am lucky enough to deal with the stigma on my terms. I am not in a position to lose employment and I am willing to deal with personal backlash because of my public admission of addiction. I am extremely lucky that I have not had to bear a stigma cross for this blog, my activity on twitter or recovery status updates on facebook. The heart of this debate all comes down to independent thought.
Make A Choice
My response to the anonymity debate is, keep your side of the street clean. If you want to come out of the addiction closet then do so, if you want to remain protected by anonymity that is your choice and right as well. There is not room to sit on the fence. I take issue with individuals who wish to use addiction and recovery only when it suits them and then run and hide behind the curtain of assumed anonymity when they don’t care for the reaction. Therefore, one must put on their adult panties and make a decision that they can live with.
In the end, it comes down to choice, that nasty responsibility of free will. Simply make your decision based on your comfort level. I don’t see people walking around with signs demanding that you out yourself as an addict or an addict in recovery. Nor do I see signs being waved that all addicts and recovering addicts must remain anonymous in order to keep the collective whole safe. The stigma of addiction will not end until society becomes comfortable with the word “addict”.
My personal hope, by coming out and declaring myself publicly as a recovering alcoholic and addict is that people will gain a better understanding of the disease of addiction. That just maybe, a person will look at me and accept me for being a human being that was once very sick with an active addiction. My hope is also that I can be someone that provides information and resources to those suffering that do not have anywhere to turn. Being addicted is a very lonely disease; I’d like to make a declarative statement that recovery can provide the family we all desire.
Whichever choice you make, embrace it, be responsible for it and take ownership. You are not being forced to choose to be public or private. Both have their benefits and detriments. As long as you are not lying to yourself, then your personal choice becomes irrelevant.
By Alexis Chapman
Women in Recovery ~ Addiction + or – Bi-polarism, Alexis Chapman
April 1, 2012 by Leave a Comment