When Silence is Broken

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I see blogging people.

Last night I found out that my anonymous blog was not as anonymous as I thought. A friend of mine, who recently became a wordpress blogger, used the Find Friends tool and there was my blog’s name all bright and bold next to my public email address. Yes, my friend was shown my blog because we exchanged email addresses years ago. My friend, upon reading my About page and realizing I was not ready to go fully public, wanted to let me know about what seemed to be anonymity loophole.

I guess I should’ve known better when I started and used a new email account to register this blog. But what is done is done. I’m not going to make use of the privacy setting because I do want my blog to be a source of help for anyone who needs it. I can take the trouble to export the blog to a new username if I really want to.

But technical options are not what I want to talk about.

What do you do when social networking outs you before you’re ready?

My first reaction to my friend’s news was to feign nonchalance. “Oh yeah, no big deal really but thanks for telling me.”  I’ve known my friend for sometime and last night’s revelation would’ve only come from a place of kindness. I understood that at the time but less than an hour later I was sitting in my car outside of my favourite Chinese restaurant crying on the phone to my best friend.

Why was I crying? Because fear and judgment were skipping along hand in hand through my mind kicking up trails of self doubt and shame behind them. Even though I already knew better I could not stop thinking all those self defeating thoughts:

What will people say?

How many other friends on my emailing list, or facebook or twitter have found my blog this way?

Now everyone knows I’m broken. Damaged. Unworthy. An unattractive problem. 

I don’t want to be “That Girl!”

Yes, the pity party had started and even as I talked to my best friend I told her I knew better. I knew that I’ve been growing in leaps and bounds and I knew that I should be proud of myself for where I am at, but all I was feeling  was shame, doubt, fear and loneliness. It had taken a lot out of me to even call my best friend because I did not want to admit what I was feeling and that I needed to talk it out and have someone tell me what I already knew deep down inside:

You are not broken. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

What you are feeling right now is understandable. It’s okay to admit that you’re scared and upset. 

I am still proud of you.

(God I love my friend for saying that. If I hadn’t called, it would’ve taken me the better part of the weekend to get to the point of accepting my emotions, letting them go and treating myself gently again.)

Alcoholism has such a stigma attached to it as most people see it as only about self control when it isn’t.  I know I have to face the fact that one day more people will know about my recovery and it’s very likely that some people will not understand and I may be judged. I have to accept that sometimes I will feel embarrassed, fearful, misunderstood and alone. I have to understand that that’s okay and learn how to handle things with grace. I have to remind myself that it is not about what others think, it’s about what I think:

I know that I am doing the best thing I could have ever done for myself.

I know that I am doing a good job. Being in recovery is a good thing.

I know that I have every right to feel proud of where I am.

Phoenix.

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19 comments

  1. Hi, Phoenix
    in my first days of reading grogblogs and posting the odd comment, I noticed that some of the replies to those comments were actually labelled with the (I presume) real surnames of people who were clearly under the impression that they were “under the radar”. It was this that made me decide to create a new email address as part of the process of creating graygrogblog but I’m no techy so, as far as I know, the same sort of system that sees adverts for Internet radios populate the peripheries of every website I visit for 4 weeks after having searched for Internet radios on Amazon might well be whispering the connections between the “real me” and graysgrogblog to all and sundry. Like you, I reckon I feel this wouldn’t be the end of the world but it’s still uncomfortable, especially for someone who likes to be in control of his own destiny!
    It could be worse, couldn’t it? There must be folks out there who are blogging “anonymously” about current problems (those ongoing and “pre-solution efforts”) and, of course, some of those problems might well be far worse and/or more sensitive than over-indulgence in alcohol. Imagine all those “secret” affairs being discussed by “mrsbonkalot” and the undeclared child of “mrstrayseed”…… or the enchanting tales left under the pseudonym “cokeinmyofficedrawer” When the gods of google de-mask those folks, I reckon there’ll be far more ripples than you and I will experience …..

      1. Avec plaisir, m’dear :o) ….. but the message is real, too, isn’t it? :o) All anyone would be finding out would be your strength :o)

  2. It does take guts, but I created a new gmail account when I started blogging. No one in my family even knows I am out there in the blogosphere.
    Just a BTW and FYI, if you use Google chrome they have a stealth setting so you don’t leave dirty little internet footprints everywhere. And your advertisements aren’t geared for your searches.

    1. Thanks soberlearning! See? We learn a little every day! I do use Chrome but I’ve never looked into stealth settings…. although, to be honest, I still want an Internet radio so I’ll probably let it ride for the mo! :o) G x

  3. your last three sentences are SO great. and gray’s one about ‘all anyone would be finding out about is your strength’. may I add ‘and that you are an interesting and highly original writer’? because you are.

    now, just take a minute and look what you have done here:

    – you accepted the information with grace, appreciating that the original friend came from a place of kindness.

    – you recognised the feelings that it understandably brought up in you, and reached out to the right, wise, kind friend.

    – you listened to what she had to say to you and accepted it.

    – you thought it over, came on here, and wrote about it.

    All those actions are so mature (even if it doesn’t feel like it to you) that I kind of want to come and find you and give you a little kick in the pants out of jealousy 😉 Well done to you!

    A couple of thoughts to add: firstly one sentence that really helped me in the early days of telling people I’m not drinking now is, “Other people’s opinion of me is none of my business.” With the exception of my nearest and dearest, obv. If someone who is a friend of a friend thinks I am a bit of a dullard because I’m not drinking a bottle of wine over dinner, then let her think it. It is her problem, not mine (and possibly more to do with her issues around alcohol than about mine.)

    Secondly, if you haven’t seen it you might like to check out Amy’s post on getting outed on Facebook here – http://sober-bia.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/what-recovery-looks-like.html. It has some great thoughts on the public vs private debate.

    Hugs to you. In case you need them! Being brave sometimes necessitates extra hugs. P xx

    1. Hi Primrose
      Thanks for your beautiful words of encouragement and support, and for the link to Amy’s post. Certainly good advice there. Hugs. 🙂 Your comment means a lot to me.

  4. You are doing an AMAZING job! Your honesty and willingness to be vulnerable (public or private) is what’s going to get you through. You are brave and courageous…you’re a warrior!

    And I for one am very proud of you and I don’t even know you!

    Stay strong,
    Sherry

  5. I admire you and the way you are handling this situation with grace, maturity, a gentle touch, and realistic vulnerability. Other than my Mom and one friend, I haven’t willingly let anyone in my “real” life into my blogging life. I’m not ready yet. But if I am revealed before I am ready (which I was early on when I only had like 3 posts, but maybe *hopefully* everyone forgot about me already), I hope to handle it the way you are.

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