I’ve been thinking lately about why I am so attached to secrecy with regard both to my drinking and my quitting drinking. I was also highly secretive with some pretty serious binge eating in my early twenties. The answer isn’t obvious. When I try to peer in there, it’s muffled and fuzzy.
The obvious answer is shame. But I don’t really feel shame. To me, there’s not a lot that a human being ought to feel ashamed of, outside the realm of unethical action. Sure, if you embezzle money from your employer, shame (among other things) is warranted. If you cheat on a test or your spouse or your taxes, go ahead and feel ashamed. But as far as the business of being human and doing our best and expressing our needs and ambitions and joys, there’s no shame in there that I can see.
Now I do feel some embarrassment regarding my drinking, but I don’t think that’s driving the secrecy.
What I’ve come to perhaps see through the fog is that the secrecy is sort of an obvious consequence of the reason I even drank — a need for “everyone to leave me the fuck alone!!” and be peacefully by myself with all my urges, imaginings, visions for a life, visions for the world. It is a wiley, complicated, still hard to see and probably mostly invisibly anyway, need. A la cabin in Vermont. It makes some sense that if this (almost comically misguided, physically damaging) coping mechanism was an attempt to get nice solitude, that I might want the fact that I even tried the coping mechanism to also remain just between me and me.
I don’t particularly feel the need to overrule my desire for secrecy — I want to respect this whole issue of mine that’s in the process of working itself out in the absence of alcohol (and the presence of some positive things). Though I do see the value in, need for, having some people know what I’m doing. You guys are simply awesome! But I need the person or two in real, proximate, physical life who knows.
So I will say here that two people currently know that I have issues with alcohol and am in the process of cutting it out of my life for good. One is my writing coach and one is another blogger who I met in person a few weeks ago — oh my goodness was that wonderful! In addition I have told my partner that alcohol is not good for me and I think I should cut it completely out. He doesn’t drink himself and is more than fine with my not drinking — but telling him this will keep him from innocently suggesting a beer to me 🙂 And two other people who I think would be excellent people to talk to are my downstairs neighbor and my brother, both of whom call themselves recovered/ing alcoholics (sober 30 years and about 8 years, respectively). (Oh, I didn’t tell you I have a brother who hit rock bottom with alcohol 8 years ago? I do and he did. He went through treatment and has been fine since and is doing great. We’re good friends and it would be a big relief to me to tell him about my struggle.) (I also had a grandfather who was a life-long alcoholic. Yes, it’s around me.)
So, wish me luck in having these conversations sometime in the next 1.3 million years.
Happy Saturday! Have a good one.