I quit drinking around 18 months ago. I’m a freelance writer and have published a dozen articles online about my sobriety journey, including personal essays where I have revealed anecdotes about my problematic drinking habits (I know this is a T and I’m working on whether I want to keep thinking this or not). Writing these articles has helped me process feelings of shame. Many of them have gotten a great response from readers. I don’t have it all figured out yet but I truly believe that quitting drinking is the best decision I have ever made and I feel that sharing my personal experiences can help others who are struggling with their drinking. Despite feelings of discomfort and fear, I like my reasons for writing these articles and I want to keep writing them.
But here is the “problem:” while I have told my parents that I have quit drinking (they have never asked me why) I haven’t told my parents that these articles exist online.
I have many Ts about this:
It’s possible they know that these articles exist but they just haven’t brought it up. Actually, that would be typical of them. They are emotionally immature and have always avoided emotionally-charged or difficult topics. By avoiding these topics they taught me that feeling strong emotions was unacceptable. It’s their fault that I haven’t learned to process my emotions. I don’t want them to read my articles because I don’t want them to blame themselves for my drinking. They are going to be angry because they are going to think that it’s embarrassing that I’m talking about my drinking publicly. I’m bringing shame to my family. If their friends and the rest of my family find out about these articles, my parents won’t be able to pretend that I’m perfect anymore and they are going to be angry at me for that. They are going to be angry that I didn’t tell the “truth” about my drinking while I was drinking. They are going to be sad that I didn’t tell them the truth about my drinking. I didn’t tell them the “truth” because it didn’t feel safe to talk to them about difficult topics or emotions. I resent them for not making it safe to talk to them about difficult topics or emotions. They don’t know who I really am. I’m a bad daughter for not telling them about these articles given everything they have sacrificed for me and done for me.
Now that I’m writing this I can see that these are all Ts that I believe about myself. Maybe it’s not really about the articles after all – but about my thoughts about my relationship with my parents in general and unprocessed emotions and shame about my (past) drinking. I know I should model all of this but I’m feeling overwhelmed because I have so many contradictory thoughts about this. Could you suggest a place to start?
Thanks so much.