As I grow in recovery I still struggle with the “stigma” of telling people you are alcoholic. If you are lucky enough not to have this addiction it is very hard for anyone to understand what we go through. Then there are people who quietly believe they have a problem and look at you as an example.
Even in 2018 addictions such as drugs and alcohol are still viewed as almost disgusting. There is a stereotype that has you have to be destitute and a thief to reach those levels of addiction. I had this opinion too, I’m ashamed to say but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
Then I also believe that there is the male and female aspect. Men and women approach recovery in very different ways. In the main women seem to be very hard on themselves, carry a lot of blame and let down. Men on the other hand tend to have big egos and struggle with surrender.
I will caveat this by saying this is a generalisation and purely my own thinking and is most certainly not a judgment.
This stigma also extends to how we drink. The image I have put this blog is called beautiful alcoholic, I don’t see anything beautiful in someone with a problem with alcohol only pain. Someone mentioned in a meeting lately about drinking like a lady, but then turning into someone who drank like a man. That is a fairly irrational thought but is a definite sign of people’s ideals of male and female and how they act. Nothing about my drinking was manlike or ladylike, it was alcoholic.
I do wonder then how people view the same in recovery. Again I have seen men be applauded on their recovery and getting their lives together, but with women there is still that overhanging question. Whether this is disbelief or that they don’t deserve it I am not sure but I do know that out with AA I feel very different and that I stand out amongst my peers.
To this end I have come to a realisation today. In order to gain full and utter peace of mind I need to stop trying to please those who can never be in a position to understand. Because I held down a reasonably good job and held a mortgage on my own I believe I was seen to be ok, and maybe not that bad. I even got asked once ” you’re not one of those that don’t like other people drinking around you?”
To this end I have decided to make some positive changes in my life and work and hope that this will then give me the serenity I am looking for. I do know that I just want to be able to recognise what is good and not so good for me and manage this accordingly.