Speaking as an alcoholic, I can tell you that my actions during my “dark days” just about ruined my reputation. People saw me as a drunk who tainted everything that I came into contact with. I’d lied, I’d manipulated, I’d talked crap. I was egotistical, self centered and extremely selfish. That’s how people judged me, because that’s what people saw on a regular basis. I had gotten to the point where I was deemed hopeless and their judgment was well deserved.
When I got sober and realized my actions for what they were, I was disgusted to say the least and wanted very much to change not only other people’s opinions of me, but my own as well. I realized that I was in fact the ugly person people perceived me to be. Not only on the outside, but on the inside as well. In early sobriety, I was desperate to change the minds of others. I had this “Look at me, pat me on the back” kind of attitude and wanted to be viewed differently, but it wasn’t too long before I realized that it took quite a long time to build that horrible reputation so it was going to take me time to change the minds of others. As time went on, my changes became apparent to some, but mainly and more importantly to myself. In time I noticed I no longer had a problem looking in the mirror and I no longer hated the person looking back at me. I was slowly beginning to love myself, which was something I was never able to do. Little by little how people felt about me was not as important as how I felt about myself.
My changes were progressive but very apparent. The people closest to me did in fact notice and I was happy about that. However comma, there are (to this day) those who STILL after almost 4 years, pass judgment on me and still view me as that same old person. I admit sometimes it still gets to me, but not as often as it once did. I’m slowly starting to realize that I have nothing to prove to anyone. It’s a process, but one that’s becoming clearer and clearer to me. I’m not that person anymore and I work on a daily basis to ensure I won’t ever go back to being that person again. The opinions of others are not my problem to take on. In the words of Tim McGraw, “I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get, but I’m better than I used to be.” I’ll never be perfect, Lord knows I don’t want to be. I just want to be “better” than I was, and with every day that passes, I work on making that happen. The monster that I once was no longer exists AS LONG AS I KEEP DOING WHAT I’VE BEEN DOING. If I let other people get up into my head and eat away at my thinking with their views, I’ll be doomed. Therefore, how they think about me no longer matters. My attitude is if you’re going to judge me, judge me for who I am today, not for who I used to be. I’ve come a long way, I still have a long way to go, but I am getting there one day at a time.
The world around us does not change when we get sober. Only we change. People are still going to be mean, crap is still going to happen, life is still going to go on. We just learn how to deal with it without looking for the answers in the bottom of a bottle. I will not accomplish anything if I take even one drink. I will never be “cured”and I will never gain control of this uncontrollable disease. These are pure facts. Knowing that, I can not allow people to get under my skin. I heard someone say once, “Every time I think about giving up, I think about all the pricks that would celebrate and say “I told you so” I strap on my boots just to prove them wrong.” LOL I refuse to allow anyone to take my serenity or my sobriety. They can only do that IF I let them and I’ve come too far to let that happen. I can’t speak about tomorrow, but I can tell you that it’s not gonna happen today.
June 18, 2014
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist