Recently a friend of mine told her husband about some of the things I did while I was drinking. He said he couldn’t picture it – any of it. While I was thankful to hear that, I also thought about the fact that I don’t remember all of it. I started to think about the people who might remember who I was back then and all the things I did.
When I got sober, I couldn’t wrap my head around why everyone was still so angry with me. After all, I was sober; which is what they wanted. I was no longer walking around spewing God-awful things or acting like an idiot. I was working hard on my sobriety.
Why wouldn’t they talk to me? Why weren’t they inviting me over?
And then I remembered.
I wasn’t a very nice drunk or someone people wanted to be around. I was mean and angry, and blamed everyone and anything for everything wrong in my life. How could I expect everyone to forgive me, just because I had been sober a whole year? How the hell had I even imagined that at 30 days sober. I said and did things that, for some, are unforgivable. Others needed time — time to be sure I had made the changes in my life. My apologies didn’t mean anything anymore. I had said, “Look at me! I’m sober for good now!” too many times and for too many years. It took me four years from the time I first said, “I am an alcoholic and need help” to actually get that help and stay sober. During those four years I left a pile of shit wherever I went.
Today I am sober. I have friends, and when I apologize it means something. I can be depended on today, and people want me around.
The world is not always ready to forgive us just because we get sober. People don’t have to believe us just because we mean it this time. Everyone deserves their time to heal – even us. We have to learn how to forgive ourselves, too. Just as our family and friends have to let go of old hurts, the mistrust and guilt, so do we.
I haven’t figured out how to let go of all the guilt yet; and sometimes I think it’s a blessing. I’m still able to call upon memories of my past and understand that picking up a drink today will never solve my problems. However, it’s also a curse. I cannot seem to get past all of the things I missed, the words I said, and all of the pain I caused the people I love. All I can do is keep trying, keep believing in myself, and that I deserve forgiveness. I know I deserve love today, and if others can forgive me, why cant I?