Stepford Wife…Or Not

Accept Reality

The other day someone very close to me accused me of being a “Stepford wife.” Okay, first, lets back up. From a physical standpoint, if you knew me and saw me on a day-to-day basis, you would know that my “uniform” usually consists of workout pants (regardless if I make it to the gym or not), sweatshirt, tennis shoes, baseball hat and no makeup. If I happen to make it to the gym, I then take a shower and put on my sweats and, again, no makeup. It’s a very rare day that I actually do my hair, put on “real” clothes and do my makeup. You get the picture.

Okay, getting back to the accusation. I’m paraphrasing, but basically this person thinks because I always answer his question of “How are you?” by responding that things are great or really good, there must be something wrong with me. Because, really, how can someone be THAT good?

For privacy reasons I will not elaborate, but I will say that this person has a serious drinking problem. I would go as far to say he’s an alcoholic, but I will let him be the judge of that. He knows about my sobriety, but has done very little to acknowledge it or even ask about it, despite our closeness.

While his accusation was an attempt on his part to get a reaction out of me, I was able to respond with kindness, truth and honesty thanks to the tools I have learned through recovery. I told him that I was truly happy and doing well. I wasn’t just saying I was good, I was really THAT good and a big part of it was a direct result of my stopping drinking. I said, make no mistake, I had to go through a lot of sh*t to get to this point, but I made it and I’m beyond grateful.

I wasn’t angry at him because I understood. See, when I was drinking I couldn’t stand being around people who were happy – really, truly happy. I wasn’t happy, in fact I was downright miserable, so why should others be happy? I was always thinking about the “what ifs.” What if I had that, what if I did that, what if things were this way, what if that didn’t happen – the list goes on. I put on a good “face” to people and always said things were “good” when they would ask how I was, but, really, I rarely felt truly happy.

Now, when someone asks how I’m doing I’m honest. I make it a point to be honest, even if it’s not what they want to hear. Most of the time, I’m doing really good. Despite the ups and downs, I’m happy and content with my reality. If I’m not doing great, I’ll say so. The other day at a meeting I asked a friend how they were doing and she said “good” and then went on to ask how I was. I said I was really tired and didn’t really feel like being there but “here I am.” She then surprised me and said that she wasn’t really that good, in fact, she wasn’t feeling good and might leave early. She said, “But most people who ask you how you’re doing, don’t really want to know the answer.”

Well, the truth is, today I’m doing really good. And, believe me, I have many more “good” days now than I ever had when I was drinking. And, the best part is that I can be truly happy for others who are happy instead of resentful and jealous.

“Stepford wife” or not, I’ll take this sober life a thousand times over my previous life.



11 responses

  1. Corked:
    I had a similar experience last weekend with someone who drinks a lot, and has very high anxiety. Like I used to. The problem is, we’re related…so I’m trying to think of a “I was there once” kind of discussion, but it’s not like I’m a PRO or anything…but I feel like saying “I’ve BEEN there! I KNOW what you’re going through!” as I am sure I would have loved loved LOVED that (would I have listened? not sure) five years ago or so.

    Great post. I can relate so much! Ellen

    • Thanks, Ellen! It’s so hard when you can see yourself in other people, yet know that they are the only ones who can make those changes. I am so grateful for the gift of sobriety and that I was able to finally “get” it. Thanks for your comment!

  2. sometimes you’re not doing great right? Like when you text me one of the kids just puked in the car right? Great post. To be impeccable with your words, speak in the direction of truth and love can bring great joy and freedom. Stay with it

  3. I used to be intimidated by people who didn’t drink. I guess that’s the right word. I thought they were missing out, but you nailed it when you described it as not being able to stand people who seemed truly happy. I wish your friend the best, sounds like you handled yourself beautifully.

    • Thank you! I was the same way with people who didn’t drink. “What’s wrong with them?” I couldn’t imagine being happy and content without drinking – it seemed impossible. Now, I hope people can see through me that it IS possible to not drink and be happy – truly happy. Thanks for your comment. Have a great day!

  4. Way to handle yourself! Good for you! I can relate- I’ve been told that I come off to others as ‘having it all together’ because my house is often ‘clean’ and picked up; when people see me I’m usually dressed with make-up on (I NEVER go out without it mostly b/c my skin thinks I’m 15 still); but the house issue is called OCD, for real, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It started when my mother left, and controlling the environment around me was all i could control- and it turned into OCD and it’s followed me to this day. It’s miserable. If people ONLY knew…And that goes into not being able to go out without my ‘mask’ on so to speak. Which I’m STILL working on in therapy 🙂 So I get the ‘stepford’ wife thing too- but I’m like- um- if you ONLY knew…. NEVER judge a book by it’s cover. NEVER. Sometimes I politely respond and say, oh, are you referring to before or after when I was in rehab? That gets them everytime 🙂 GREAT post Chenoa! Keep up the GREAT work!

    • Oh my gosh, we must be cut from the same cloth! I also have OCD, for real. It’s horrible, so I totally relate to what you’re talking about. In fact, I wrote about it in one of my posts. I think it’s called “God Heard Me Today” or something like that. I’m sure you could easily find it on my blog. Mine got really bad when I was in grad school and then again after my mom died. Like you said, it’s all about control. I hate it. It’s miserable. Luckily, I’ve gotten it under control for the most part (thanks to therapy and meds), but it still rears it’s ugly head in stressful times. Ugh. And, yes, never EVER judge a book by it’s cover. Like my husband and I always say, you never know what’s going on behind closed doors!

  5. I enjoyed this post. You touched on so many aspects of my recovery. I’ve been the accuser and the accused as far as “stepford wives” goes. I think early in my sobriety I was confused with the “fake it till you make it” concept. I hated the fakers … until I became one. (I had to grow out of that too.) Now I try and stick with “feel it till you make it” (doesn’t rhyme as well, but so what).

    Even with my blog, while I try and keep the tone to solutions and hope for my reader (as I write for the reader–not me) I do see that at times, I just don’t FEEL what I’m writing so I shift to keep authentic to what I’m really going through.

    Most often when people ask me how I am I say, “excellent” … it’s not necessarily that life is perfect, in as much as, I have learned to be grateful for everything that’s happening. Even the stuff I feel is unfair or wrong etc.

    And the happy thing. I hated happy people, until I became one. (I almost feel sorry for drinkers.) Us sober gals (& guys) have it so good. Especially the healing, sober, blogging community…. Just about the nicest people on the planet in my opinion.

    Enough from me. See you got me thinking 🙂 Lisa

    • Thanks for your comment, Lisa! I love how you say you learned to be grateful for everything that’s happening. I think that’s the main difference between us sober folks and “normies.” Through recovery (if we’re lucky), we learn how to accept our imperfect reality and celebrate life – with it’s ups and downs. Thanks again for your insight. I’m so grateful for your blog and participation in this awesome blogging community!

  6. Great post! We must be on the same wavelength, because I was talking about something similar (about being “fine”) just the other day in my corner of the world. But it’s amazing that people want to look beyond and behind the “excellent” or “great” because they know themselves that they aren’t excellent or great. I was one of those guys – the one who thought everyone was lying, that they were hiding some great hidden secret, that no one in their right mind can be great or excellent. I haven’t had the experience you have had (just yet, I suppose), but I totally understand where you are coming from. I think that others see us as being spiritual giants when really we are just getting well and using the tools given to us. I am hardly a spiritual giant. I am not even a spiritual oompah loompah. I am just doing what I need to do to stay centered, recovered and in doing His will…which always turns out to be the best thing for me.

    Some great responses here too – lovely stuff, as usual 🙂

    Love and light,

    • Paul, I can always rely on you to make me smile! Your descriptive words are great – i.e. oompah loompah. Lol! When I think about this issue, I’m always reminded of the whole “misery loves company” thing. When people are unhappy, the last thing they want to do is be around someone else who IS happy. It’s pretty ironic that in recovery you find a lot of people who are REALLY happy who used to be totally miserable. Just one of the great things about getting sober!

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