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I’m Sober, But Not Immune

I’m Sober, But Not Immune
I’m Sober, But Not Immune

A Week In-Review

This week, so much has happened, and I was having trouble thinking of a topic to write about. So, instead of coming up with one topic, I’m giving you a week in-review instead. Something I’ve learned about being sober is, just because I’m sober, it doesn’t mean I’m immune to challenges in life. The only difference between my first day sober, and now is, I’ve learned how to cope with those challenges without drinking.

I’m Not Immune to Fear

Last Friday, I rose above my fear, and signed up for online training to become a Professional Recovery Coach, and Professional Life Coach. This is something I’ve been talking about doing for a while now. I’ve had the dream of helping people in sobriety on a professional level ever since I got sober, but now that dream is becoming a reality.

I’ve held off on taking this step because of fear though. Fear that I won’t be any good. Fear of spending money on training. Fear of not having enough time for training. And, just fear in general.

But, I’ve learned in sobriety that I can be fearful, and still take the next step. I can work through my fear, ask for help from my Higher Power, and trust that everything will work out in the end. The next day, I was in a funk, but I didn’t go back.

Whenever I make a big decision about something, or make a big change, or spill something big about myself to someone else, I go into funk mode. I don’t know why. As far back as I can remember, I’ve done this. But, the difference today is, I recognize that trait about myself, and I’m able to work through it, instead of freaking out.

I’m Not Immune to Change

Wednesday the 18th was my 6-year anniversary at my job. I know I should look at it as an accomplishment, but I don’t. I know I should be grateful for that job, but sometimes I am not. This job has been filled with struggle, turmoil, and change over these past 6 years. There have been countless times where I wanted to walk out the door, and never look back. Countless changes: from the change of supervisors, to change of procedure, to change of store managers. A lot of change in 6 years.

There have also been many times when I’ve felt that, although I loved my job, it was time for a change. I knew that that job wasn’t what I was meant to do. That staying at that job was not fulfilling my purpose on this earth. Which is a blessing because so many people spend their entire lives trying to find their purpose, their reason for living.

I know I am blessed to know my purpose, my calling. What I was lacking at the time was, a way to carry out that purpose. I’ve known for a long time, even before addiction changed my life, that I was meant to be a healer. I was meant to help people. I just didn’t know in what form that healing would take place.

I had to go through those times of turmoil, change, and upheaval at my job to reach this point today. This point where I am not only ready for change, but also willing to take a step toward making that change. Deep down, in the past, I’ve been willing on some level to make a change, but the difference today is, I’m not letting fear hold me back from making that change.

I’m Not Immune to Bullying

If you’ve read my story, you’ll know that I have trauma in my past. Part of that trauma is from being bullied at school for most of my school career. It is a wound that I will carry with me forever. Today, that wound is more of a scar. Closed-up, but not fully healed. Sometimes it’s a scar that I forget about, because I surround myself with people who accept and love me for who I am. They don’t belittle me, or make fun of me. They are happy to be with me, and laugh with me at my faults and quirks.

I also surround myself with people who love and accept me for who I am online too. I’ve found a great, closed Facebook group called People Facing Addiction, and it has enriched my life and sobriety. It is an online community where we share experience, strength, and hope with each other, support each other, and bring problems that we have.

But, that doesn’t mean that this group is immune to bullies.

For a while now, I’ve been repeatedly bullied by a certain member. It hasn’t been constant. A snide comment here and there, with quiet moments in-between jabs. But, this week, I hit my limit.

This member was belittling me for a decision I made a few weeks ago, that I shared about in a comment. I made the decision to set a boundary, and a friend didn’t understand why I made that decision. In the online group, another member was having similar trouble with a boundary she had set, so I shared my experience in my comment.

The bully went on to question my decision, after I told her that I set the boundary for personal reasons, and things escalated from there. Thankfully, two other members were there and stood up for me, but I’d had enough. Inside, I could feel my bullying scar slowly open, could feel the fear and pain associated with that scar, and I said enough.

Instead of continuing a war of words with this woman, I decided to take action. I contacted the moderator of the group, and asked them if they could remove someone whom I felt was bullying me. They said yes, what was their name, and can you send some screenshots of the conversation? I gave them the woman’s name, and screenshots of the conversation, and proceeded to fight the negative voice in my head.

You see, I had taken the right action, by contacting the moderator, and telling them about the situation. But, since that scar was re-opened, I was re-feeling my pain from being bullied. That negative voice was saying, “they’re going to dismiss this you know. They’re going to say you’re just being petty, and not do anything about it. Or, they’re going to find one of your comments condescending, and say that you egged her on”.

Not an easy voice to defeat. Especially when I couldn’t call up the moderator and talk to them directly, and get an answer right away.

I still don’t know if this situation is fully taken care of yet. The response from the moderator was, “Got it. Thank you for sending that in.” Which, of course, my brain took as, “you sent them too many screenshots” (I sent 12, the whole conversation between the bully, me, and the two women who defended me). I know logically they are on my side. That “Got it” wasn’t meant as “geez, you didn’t have to send that many!” I think I know they meant it as “I received your message, and I will be looking into this matter”. Only time will tell though. For now, I can only sit back, work through my feelings, and move on.

Not Being Immune Does Not Mean Defeat

Today, I am still sober. I know that I am not immune to life’s daily struggles. But, I also know that I am not defeated either. I know that every day that I stay sober, I build up more tools and life experience to face the next challenge. I am more prepared today than I was 3 years and 9 months ago.

In closing, I will leave you with this. In sobriety, you will face struggles. You will face hardships. You will face good times and bad. Sobriety does not make you immune to life’s challenges. But, not being immune does not need to end in defeat either. Keep walking this path of sobriety. Continue to do the next indicated action. Do things you don’t want to do. Do the hard things over the easy things.

If you do that, you will overcome any challenge you face, and your life will be rewarding. If you do that, your sobriety will thrive.

Thanks for reading,

Mindy

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2 Comments
  • Patti McClellan says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I am going back to meetings after a long hiatus. Not because I didn’t need them, but because I live on top of a mountain 15 miles from everything, and I don’t drive. But now, at age 69, with 40 years and four months and 27 days of sobriety, I need to give back while there is still time. You are going to be a great coach!

  • Mindy F. says:

    Thank you for reading Patti. That’s quite a distance away, but I bet the view is amazing! If you find yourself unable to go to physical meetings, and feel you need one, there are online meetings as well. Not the same of course, because you don’t have the one on one interaction, but still a way to connect.

    Also, I appreciate you saying I will be a great coach. That really means a lot. I still have some fears about it, but there’s more excitement than fear now. A new journey to embark on.

    Many blessings to you on your sober journey.

    Mindy

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