“I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I’m beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.”
― Hermann Hesse
I’ve been sitting on some inspired ruminations recently, largely due to one of Laura‘s recent posts ― namely the one where she ponders exploring drinking again, but more specifically, in the meat of the caption, where she talks about how lonely/isolating it can be being sober, despite the commUNITY we have here on social media.
On this morning’s walk I started thinking (trying VERY hard not to compare) how many subcategories + groups… and cliques… there are in the sobriety/recovery community. As Laura clearly spells out, when you aren’t a recovery/wellness coach, writing a book, hosting a podcast, or a yogi, or things of the like… it can feel like being the new and/or awkward kid trying to find a place to sit in the cafeteria.
Real quick: I applaud + commend Laura; she’s a “grey area drinker” (something I sometimes wish I could identify as) and the whole point of recovery is journeying back to YOUR center, then seeing where THAT path, YOUR path, takes YOU. Sharing certain parts of recovery, especially sobriety, can sometimes welcome unsolicited commentary, so Laura is a goddamned hero in my eyes for speaking up/out and sharing all she does. Additionally, if you’ve found a group within this commUNITY, that’s AWESOME. Seriously, not everyone finds one they feel fits their individual puzzle piece.
Idk about you, but I’ve tried real hard (bc recovering “try-hard”), to keep up w/ typeface, filters, presets, aesthetics, being thematic + consistent — I’ve tried to brand myself + my recovery. Emulate those who have large followings and/or are “successful.” It’s only been w/in the last few months I’ve embraced who/what I am: a misfit.
Like most people (I assume), I entered the IG sobriety scene as a freshly sober person (okay, I was close to six months sober when I finally joined.. I’d lost/broken my partner’s trust due to my inappropriate relationships I’d formed and maintained on social media during my active addiction), and felt like I this ugly duckling, roaming through wild reeds trying to find a marsh I *knew* existed — I was going to find my flock.
Slowly but surely, I found people like me, I connected with them, I spoke to them, and they spoke to me. I’d found my voice, I’d found my people. But addiction and social media definitely have two things in common: instant gratification. For some of us that never goes away; more, more, more and now, now, now.
I’m not saying this is true for everyone, this is just my truth.
I found myself growing restless and almost discontent with my posts. I looked to “bigger” and “better” accounts, ones that had a larger “following” and had more people that “liked” them. Y’all — I’m not cured in that area by any means, I’m merely learning as I go, and I can tell you true happiness can NEVER be tied back to social media. Sorry not sorry. There are not enough essential oils or yoga poses or positive mantra manifestations that can make happiness by way of social media happen.
My truth is/was: at some point, I stopped being me and started making desperate attempts (some rooted in anger/jealous/contempt towards those I wanted to be like) to brand myself. LOL AT THE BACKFIRE ON THAT.
Reminds me of that time back in the good ol’ Myspace days when I tried to watermark my pictures because I thought if I did that, it’d make me look like some kind of “official” scene queen worthy of being desired and imitated, and fuck if I know y’all — I’ve never really fit in, am used to people not sticking around, and I would/will grab at straws if it means catching your attention, if only for a fleeting second.
That shit stopped when I got sober.
LOL again, y’all. Just kidding. That shit only started to snowball, then I’d stop, then try again, then… this ALSO sounds familiar, kind of like that time I tried to moderate my drinking. Didn’t work, either.
Okay, so I swear I’m trying to bring this back home and wrap it up. Speaking of wrapping it up (cheesy, I know), that’s what I feel like now, at over 1150 days sober, when I take a step back and look at the sea of sobriety and/or recovery accounts that I just can’t seem to fit into. I’ll never be something that’s pretty and packaged or brimming with confidence. However, the latter is something I avidly work at and have seen a positive + notable increase in. I’m still working on comparison and reminding myself that likes, follows, and comments do not equate “success” or even real “approval.” I don’t have “tips” and “tricks” and I’m not going to participate in a “challenge.” My life became more than a challenge, I was not curious about sobriety (though I appreciate those who’re waking up to that curiosity); my life became a battle for life and death once my addiction took firm hold of me.
Additionally, I’ve stopped trying to brand myself and only recently decided, much like my morning walks and making dedicated efforts to get back to who I was before the world (and my addiction) got its hands on me: that my posts will be as natural and organically occurring as the thoughts that make their way into my brain. They are messy but straightforward, gritty and grimy but glittery and awe-inspiring, tiresome but tireless; it is rejecting what I don’t like and accepting what fits my efforts at creating and building and sharing a world that I built, for me. One where I like and celebrate who I am, not what I’m not, and that’s why I love using term “magical misfit” so much, and I think that’s one other square pegs in this world of round holes can relate to as well.
When I say “me” I mean more of a “we” because having seen Laura lay it out like that, and though I’ve had conversations with others about feeling like we just don’t belong in any of the “cool kid” groups, the way Laura said her truth, it made something click within me. Lastly, the whole point of this post is my personal attempt at finding/reaching others who are in this community who feel more like wallflowers and outsiders, those who may also feel like there’s too many figurative sororities and literal cliques they just don’t feel comfortable in… I see you. I love how diverse the RECOVERY community is, and it is through the recovery gateway, I’m finding, establishing, and KEEPING connections I once thought I’d have to keep limited to the sobriety folks. Such is growth and expansion though, right?
My continued thanks to Laura for spurring this epiphany of acceptance that was a long-time coming.
I love you all, misfits. Keep on rockin’ in the free world.
“The masses have never been arbiters of the sublime, and they often fail to recognize the truly great individual. Taking into account the public’s regrettable lack of taste, it is incumbent upon you not to fit in.”
― Janeane Garofalo