With a little over 2 1/2 years in Recovery and not a public “crash and burn” there are still many people in my life that don’t know I am IN RECOVERY. Many of my old friends and family know I am not drinking. Most of them have no idea the pain I was in before I made that decision. When I isolated, drank in private, seemed to pull it together when needed, I liked to consider myself “high functioning.” But like all things in Recovery, there are unexpected blessings and challenges that come with a quiet surrender over a public, desperate one.
I am grateful to my Sponsor and to people in meetings reminding me how cruel I was to myself. How I actually detested myself. And because I hated myself so much it seems, I put more energy into being cruel to me than to others. (Although I had my fair share of amends to make.) I have some family members that I have not told of my alcoholism. Many of them I don’t see, except big family affairs and Thank God I never acted out in their presence. I do have a favorite niece that I have wanted to tell. I only see her a couple times a year but she is a lot like me. She is 34 years old. She has a lot of my characteristics. She has a step-father that drank a lot, therefore, she barely drinks at all. The impression was made on her that “some people shouldn’t drink.” I had been looking for guidance to my Higher Power about what I should say and when should I say it.
This past weekend, my niece and her boyfriend decided to make the drive to our camp. He wanted to ski and she just wanted to hang out with my Mom and I. I did a couple 3rd Step Prayers but decided I wouldn’t force it or avoid the subject. I wanted to go to a meeting Saturday, I didn’t want to lie about where I was going.
It wasn’t long after they arrived, everything was unpacked we were sitting around listening to music and talking. She brought up something about her stepfather and his drinking and all of a sudden I just said, “Well, you know I stopped drinking a couple years ago, I learned I was an alcoholic.” She said, “Well Auntie, I knew you stopped drinking and seem lot more mellow these days.” I said, “Yeah, I feel a lot better. I had no idea what was going on with me until I started going to AA Meetings.” She said, “I am so happy for you and I am proud of you.”
Certainly, not how I expected to tell her and certainly not how I expected her to react. But I guess I got what my Higher Power decided was best. It was so much easier and natural. Honest. Not some kind of big family meeting, just she, her boyfriend and I in conversation.
The weekend went great. The skiing was great. And I am once again grateful. Just like the old timers say, “When I get out of the way, things go so much smoother!”