First, thanks to Ellie over at One Crafty Mother for highlighting this issue.
Wow. I had chills as I watched the trailer for the new documentary The Anonymous People, which focuses on the culture of recovery and “the faces and voices of citizens, leaders, volunteers, corporate executives, public figures, and celebrities who are laying it all on the line to save the lives of others just like them.”
This got me thinking about how we all choose to use our voice in our individual lives – and how voice can be one of the most powerful weapons out there.
Using my voice to shine light on addiction and alcoholism is something I’m very passionate about – ask anyone! In my opinion, the recovery community has stayed silent for much too long. When I first got sober I was scared to death about the social stigma involved in admitting I was an alcoholic. In my mind, I might as well have been telling people I was a complete loser and failure. I worried about what my friends, family, neighbors – really anyone- would think about me. I remember Googling famous sober people because I had a desperate need to know that I wasn’t the only “normal” person out there that was sober (not that famous people are really that normal!). Fortunately, I found a few, but in my mind, not enough. There HAD to be more people out there like me.
Sorry to say folks, but the image of the drunk under the bridge holding a paper bag is long gone. Of course, they still exist, but the reality is that there’s more people who look like you and me in recovery these days. We work, are educated, have successful careers, drive nice cars, wear nice clothes, live in nice homes – yet, we all have one thing in common, we’re all working to stay sober.
I respect the tradition of anonymity, but believe it is solely my choice whether I choose to stay anonymous or not. For me, personally, I NEED and WANT to use my voice to stop the stigma associated with alcoholism and addition. Recovery has taught me that I’m NOT a loser or failure, but a strong, brave and determined woman who will not be silenced about this disease.
So, for those of you new to recovery, who might be feeling ashamed of your addiction and alcoholism, I am here to tell you that you are not alone! There are rooms full of people around this country who are just like you – strong, brave and determined to create a better life for themselves.
God gave me this voice and I plan to use it to share His message of hope, healing and forgiveness. Despite my initial fear and anger, I now accept the path that God has lead me on and will do everything in my power to convey my gratitude to Him for the gift of sobriety.
As long as I have a voice, I will speak my truth and yell from any mountain top “I will not be silent, I will not be silent, I will NOT be silent!”