CrossTalk is based on the premise that recovery life is polytely: frequently, complex problem-solving situations characterized by the presence of not one, but several endings. This writing represents decades of recovery and its application to life and how to get over it, into it or through it with spunk, levity and a good dose of reality. What? You want more than happy, joyous and free? Get over it. Just sayin’. – Mollé
I have 13 years of not drinking, but not 13 years of real or “emotional” sobriety. I feel like an imposter. I haven’t done the Steps, and people always make reference to my time as if I’ve achieved something or know things. I know nothing. I’m a living time bomb waiting to go off – I know that next drink is right around the corner.
I’ve met a woman I trust well enough to sponsor me and help me work through the Steps. She’s been sober a long time, and we’ve both had experience with rape, incest and crappy parents.
I am getting ready to do my Step Four work; and as much as I look forward to the relief of finally telling someone everything, I’m also scared to death. I’ve had horrific trauma in my miserable childhood and equally horrific adulthood. I’m afraid she won’t want to, or be able to, sponsor me after I share my Step Five. I’ve had therapists refer me out because my problems were more than they felt they could handle or help.
I finally trust someone enough to feel like I can actually do the Steps. How do I get over the fear of being judged or rejected? – A Poseur in Virginia
Dear Poseur (not),
Ah, you have a long, sad story? Get in line – we all have one. Some are just a little more tragic than others. Many of us come in pretending to be someone we’re not. I’ve known some people who have used false names in AA for years. But eventually, if they don’t drink, they come to accept their truth – like it or not – and choose to live in reality. It is so much easier.
The Steps are good for uncovering the truth. The ugliness in our lives is mostly about what happened or what we did, not who we truly are. We may feel badly or even be guilty of many wrongdoings, but that doesn’t mean it is who we are a person. It is what we are capable of when using or drinking.
Just so you know, there is no one miracle Step that makes everything all better. By doing all the Steps, we fetter out the truth about ourselves and our pasts. We find relief and recovery through the process. Often, our amazing goodness surfaces.
You haven’t had a drink for 13 years, which has great value; don’t discount it. I’m glad you’re ready to come over to the easier side of recovery. Remember, a sponsor is not a therapist and should not be used as one. She is there to walk you through the Steps, that’s all – not to be your mother, your sister or even your friend. Walking you through the Steps is her only job. She’s not a counselor or an emotional dumpster. She is there to provide empathy and understanding, not sympathy. I encourage you to do the Steps, all of them. After doing so, you might find you’ve made a trusted friend.
The viewpoints shared or any implied actions suggested by Mollé are the opinions and ideas of the author only and do not represent those of In Recovery Magazine. The implied action is offered openly and is never intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. You may send your dilemmas to Mollé at email@example.com.