I’ve been thinking about pride a lot lately. Probably because recently I had to suck up my pride and make amends to those I’d hurt while drinking. Though I was ready and fully willing to make those amends, it’s hard to have pride when you’re saying, “Yep, I did all those crappy things.”
Pride while drinking is dangerous, for sure. It’s what keeps a lot of people from reaching out for help. It did for me, anyway. I thought I had everything under control because I knew my risk of becoming an alcoholic. My dad went into rehab when I was 16 and it was then that I really learned my pedigree.
Genetics-wise, I was basically fucked. All kinds of relatives warned me that I had the potential to become an alcoholic.
What they should have said was, “Sara, you are already an alcoholic.”
But I didn’t believe I had a problem. I was too young, I thought. I only drank on the weekends (never mind that I blacked out every single time). I was still on the honor roll, still president of Key Club, still on varsity sports teams. I was a “model student” on the outside – as long as I kept the façade up, there’s no way I could be an alcoholic.
Even after I was raped three times while passed out, it was eight years after my father went into rehab before I let my pride go and admitted that I, too, was an alcoholic.
Since then, pride has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I am so proud of the strides I have made in my seven years of sobriety (particularly the work I’ve done in the last year). I feel like I’ve completely reset my thinking, and my inside now matches my outside. However, I know there are instances where my pride has bit me in the ass. I went off my depression meds because I thought I was fine. Cue the sad, the quick-to-anger, anxious mess I shortly became. My poor son had to feel the screaming and short fuse of Mommy Off Her Meds for a few weeks until I finally put my pride away and admitted that I do, in fact, need chemical support in this fight.
Me, the advocate who is always saying that antidepressants are tantamount to the insulin a person with diabetes takes, and that there should be no shame in taking them.
I let my pride get in the way.
So now I wonder. Does pride have a place in recovery? Where’s the line between healthy pride in how far you’ve come and sinister pride that sneaks up and sabotages recovery?