I remember in the first few months of my sobriety, crying and telling my husband through smeared mascara and snot that I didn’t know who I was. More importantly, I didn’t know who I’d end up being without alcohol. My drinking had become so much a part of how I viewed myself and how I behaved, that I didn’t know what the hell was going to happen after it was gone. What if I didn’t like who I was sober any more than I did when I was drinking? Even more scary, what if…way down deep…I was really like the rest of my family? Selfish, narcissistic and self-serving with no capacity for real love. Oh shit…just shoot me.
Of course, as time passed I began to realize that I am my own person. Little of them, little of me, lots of life all mixed into one human being. Still haven’t figured that out entirely…I’ll get back to you. I have some hurdles to jump before I’m there. Starting with my face.
See, I’m not very kind when it comes to myself. Many beat downs from that inner bitch I have (in addition to those provided by my family while I was growing up) have resulted in a severely skewed viewed of myself. For years I’ve carried this view and, no matter what anyone says or does, that’s my view and I’m sticking to it. No amount of compliments, or accolades, or awards or unconditional love will change my mind. In fact, I dismiss them as easily as swatting a gnat on a warm summer night. Sometimes I even squash them.
For example, I don’t like having formal pictures taken. The reason is simple, I don’t like my face. Before you freak all the hell out, let me explain. It’s not that I don’t think I’m pretty or that I do think I’m ugly, I can’t get that far or be that objective. It’s that all I can see when I look in the mirror are my mother and sister. They weren’t/aren’t nice people. Ergo…I don’t like my face. It really is that simple.
Now I ask you – what the hell kind of attitude is that? If I was mentoring a young woman and she made that kind of statement to me, I’d be appalled! And then I would try and convince her how beautiful she was in her own right. But it wouldn’t work. And do you know why? Because those kinds of scars go way too deep to be healed with words…or even love. Those kind of scars can only be healed from within.
And that is exactly what sobriety is helping me do. Some of those scars are open wounds that need to be disinfected and closed. Others are battle scars of which I should be proud and learn to love. And still some are self-inflicted – those will take the longest to heal.
I hope that along the way I learn to see myself more objectively and honestly. I hope I learn to see myself as my husband and children see me. I hope I learn to be kinder and gentler with myself. I hope I learn to heal.
After all, I deserve it.