Grief. It’s one of those things that is hard to let go of and hard to handle. We grieve loss: Loss of people, places and things; loss of pets. But did you ever consider grieving over yourself? I’ll bet you never quite looked at it that way.
Recovery is a rebirth. We come into the rooms, the doctors’ offices and the out-patient programs beaten and broken. We are torn, tattered and abused; looking for something or someone to save us. We’re either meek and mild or loud and brazen. Some of us are a little of both.
When I first got sober I was a little of both. I was kind of shy (especially around women) and I dressed provocatively, stuck with the men, pulled up at meetings blasting my heavy metal. I needed to be noticed. I needed that attention to flip that self-worth switch on inside. Seeking outside validation is classic in alcoholics and I was (still am!) a classic alcoholic. I made all the conversations about me (I was really good at this!). Gosh, I could go on forever!
This self-seeking behavior (definitely a character defect) went on for years until one day…
I got serious about my program. I started hitting six meetings a week. I got another sponsor and actually talked with her and did step work with her. I listened at meetings and even started sharing at some of them. I started hanging with the women, giving my phone number to newcomers and even hung out with these chicks outside of the rooms. What was happening to me?! Who was this woman who stared back at me in the mirror every day? I didn’t know her, but I liked her.
She was different. She didn’t want to wear “hoochie mama” clothes anymore; felt comfortable around other women. She liked the image in the mirror.. sometimes.
Yes, I still blast my heavy metal but I definitely notice a change in me. So do a lot of other people. I like who I am these days. I no longer hide behind the insecure mask of “LOOK AT ME!” I know that sounds strange, but insecurity leads to external validation which is a band-aid that never heals internal wounds.
And I did take a moment a couple of years ago to grieve the old me. I sat down in a park with my journal and nature and wrote a letter to myself. I said, “Goodbye, Old Darlene. There are some parts of you I shall miss, but ultimately, not much. This is my new path, with my new life and a new me. I’m sure you’ll visit sometimes, Old Darlene, and that’s okay, but you cannot stay.”
Have you ever given any thought to an “old you” and “new you?”
- Top 11 Tips to Help Take Control of Grieving Through the First Year: A Year of Emotional Firsts (lifebalancehealthcoach.wordpress.com)
- You’re not crazy, you’re grieving (gateway-women.com)