He lifts his hand for his glass and the ice makes that familiar sound as it bounces like she does. He gulps and stares past her.
It's not cute. It's not fair. It's not her job, but her huge little heart makes her keep dancing. Because she wants to fix it, she wants to pull him out when all he can do is look in. She wants to be seen, really seen. Not with a glance away from the screen or with a nod and a flat remark. Just really seen so his eyes would light up. Because if he really saw her, it would surely make him happy.
She's still dancing. Still trying to be sure he's feeling okay, so no matter what she does or does not do, she's always thinking of him, how he would feel. Would his heart lift or fall because of this or that thing she chooses or does not choose? That's what she's always considering before herself. And it's not just her Daddy. She may have learned to dance in front of that chair, but she does the same for pretty much everyone.
She dances and she dances in her grown up careful and kind way, and she drinks. Because dancing for other people is exhausting, and at least the drinking is just for her.
(written in response to a conversation with a friend,
a beautiful person I'm crazy happy to know.)
a beautiful person I'm crazy happy to know.)
~~~~~~~I've been dancing too.
I've also been overwhelmed with gratitude and humility, a kind that's new territory for me.
Thank you for giving me the gift of your words and thoughts and prayers after my last post. There is no way to form sentences that line up in just the right way to say what that feels like. So, just thank you.
To answer a very important and valid question, yes I am getting help. I don't know exactly what that will look like at this point. The last few days have been a blur of processing with my family and friends, crying and questioning, phone calls and appointments...you get the idea. Help is definitely something I know I need and will be getting.
To keep rolling with this transparency thing, I want to say that there's one reason I wish I could take back this very public labeling of myself. That reason is not that I'm going to keep drinking (although I'd like to, I've been saying, "I do want to drink, but I'm not tempted to drink," which maybe make sense only to me). The actual reason for my regret is probably a dancing one...
Society has a way of honing in on labels and therefore not seeing the person as a whole with a label part. (Could that be a more confusing sentence?) I guess I'm talking about stigma. BIG BAD STUPID STIGMA.
Many of you mentioned either in comments or emails that you "had no idea." Of course you didn't. I didn't say it, I hid it.
This label thing is largely why.
It was hard for me to trust that my friends and family, online and off, would still simply see me as Heather. Not Heather The Alcoholic. Yes, I have a drinking problem and it needed admitting, but it is really hard to be known as a label. After all, we are all so much more than just one word.
Just one word is a label.
And it feels like your humanity is taken away if you have one. Obviously, there are millions of people with millions of labels, I'm not saying this one is worse. I'm simply saying that I was afraid of carrying it around.
That's why, when I've written posts in the past about how truly flawed I am, I didn't add, "because I drink too much every night." First of all, that's not the only way I'm flawed. Secondly, I couldn't do that yet because I couldn't stop, not without help and I was terrified of the label since I'm still me, even with my addiction.
It is very very hard for me to stop dancing and just say, screw what people think.
Obviously, it's part of my problem. I care far too much what people think, even if I like to believe I've come a long way.
Yes, I used alcohol to cope. Yes, there are things I need to work on, lots of things. A part of me really is the term "alcoholic." But here's the thing, once someone is known as an "alcoholic," it's as if there's a huge red arrow following them around, pointing out their dysfunction. And then everyone is looking at the arrow, not the person. (Except for people who are good at ignoring arrows, which are few of us if we're all honest.)
How do I get over caring about that arrow? Caring that everyone might be staring at an arrow when they look at me? Maybe even for the rest of my life?
This is why so many people quit without telling, and I totally get that. They don't have to tell. Not the entire world. There are no rules. Quitting is the important thing. Getting help can be a private thing.
And now I feel like apologizing for being sorry that I told you. Because I'm not completely sorry. This promise is still here, and it's for my family. It's helping me to stay away from drinking.
So it's very sad that my only regret is based on what people think.
It's just not my job to care what other people think.
I'm on a journey to really accepting that.
With an arrow over my head.