Outed

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.