Do you know how it feels to look at yourself and never really SEE beyond every flaw? What it’s like to dread the mirror because that voice in your head is lying in wait to point out all that is wrong with you? I suppose I never really needed a mirror for that, but having to look at myself made the voice much louder and insistent. I have struggled with how I look and who I am all of my life. The only time I could look in the mirror and be okay with what I saw, was when I was drinking. It seems funny now, but through the haze of alcohol, I was acceptable; I couldn’t see the darkness that lived inside me.
Alcohol gave me an identity that I could live with while I was drinking. I was funny, smart, sexy, pretty, brave, and likable. When I was drinking, I could look into that mirror and that voice that told me that I was worthless was silent. I was willing to go to any lengths to have that relief from judgment; to silence the ugliness that I faced every time I sobered up and had to confront myself. The ugliness I saw on the outside, looking into that mirror, was merely a reflection of how I felt on the inside.
As a child, I wasn’t taught how to love and accept myself. I was taught that who I was, the way I was, was somehow wrong. No matter WHO or HOW I tried to be, it was never right. Never. I can’t remember a time in my life when that voice inside my head wasn’t there; telling me that I was flawed and not right, that I was ugly, fat, and stupid…worthless. But alcohol…alcohol never judged me and found me wanting.
Alcohol told me that I was the opposite of everything that I was taught to believe about myself, and I needed that more than anything.
Alcohol made me ok.
So when I sobered up, I didn’t have anything to “protect” me from the hatred, disgust, anger, shame and loathing I had for myself. The ugliness and judgment that was inside of me, that lived and breathed as the sole source of who I thought I was overwhelmed me. I realized that unless I faced it, unless I took a damn hard look at it, it would consume me.
So I did.
I looked deep into the pit of darkness that lived inside me and saw that underneath all of it was hope. Hope that maybe what I felt and saw in me wasn’t true; that everything I had been taught to believe was garbage. I lived there for a while, with that hope, until I was finally able to see that the only person that could ever value me, build me up or tear me down, and really KNOW me, is me.
I am responsible for what I think of me.
My worth lies in the hands of no one, accept me. Once I faced that darkness, once I challenged all I’d been taught to believe, I saw who I really am, a beautiful soul that rose out of a hell of my own making.
Sobriety gave me that.
Accept yourself; not what others would have you believe.