I guess it's not any secret that I am not anonymous when it comes to talking about my addiction and paths I've taken to recovery. Sometimes it's not all sunshine and rainbows and putting yourself out there can invite hurtful comments or questions. Despite this, I'm a big advocate for breaking the stigma of addiction, living your truth, and coming out of the addiction closet. I am loud and proud about my struggles and it has given me freedom. Below is a list of 7 reasons why you may want to break your anonymity and come out of the addiction closet.
1. You will know a new freedom
A relief is lifted off your shoulders once you come to terms with who you really are. You will finally feel like you are not weighed down by the shackles of your secrets. Your friends, family, and most importantly yourself will learn to love you for who you really are.
2. You can be honest with yourself & others
It's exhausting trying to be someone you're not. Putting on a face everywhere you go, making mindless small talk with people to pretend you're one person, when on the inside you're someone else. Stop the madness! Be true to yourself and live your truth! Don't be afraid of who you really are.
3. You will gain inner peace
After being truthful to yourself and others, you will find inner peace. Admitting you have alcohol issues is one more secret that can't keep you sick anymore once you release it.
4. You'll help break the stigma
We all know the bad stigma the words 'addict' and 'alcoholic' carry. People can look at you differently, assume you're a bad person, or that you aren't worth much. Many people imagine addicts as immoral criminals, but this is just not true. Keeping your addiction a secret may continue the feelings of guilt and shame that accompany it. By sharing your story, you will open people's eyes to the fact that addiction can effect anyone regardless of age, skin color, or economic status.
5. You will inspire others
You could literally save a life. By sharing with someone else who is suffering, you may inspire change in them. Many blog readers message or email me and ask me how I got sober, or why, and that they are thinking of doing the same. Just by talking to them I can help plant the seeds of change. You never know whose life you can impact by being honest and telling your own story.
6. If not you, then who?
It's easy to sit around and say, ok great idea, I'm sure someone else will do it. Sometimes you have to come out of your comfort zone and take action to make a change. Just assuming someone else will do it doesn't make an impact. Why not you? Why not now? If not you, then who?
7. Meet new people, make new friendships
Personally, by sharing my story I have made friends online and around the globe that I would have never known had I not decided to speak out about my struggle with alcohol. Through these friends I have been introduced to new programs, classes, and other things I probably never would have tried if I didn't meet these people.
Coming out of the addiction closet has benefits not only for you, but for the people around you; some you may not even know yet! Break the stigma, strive for inner peace, and be honest with yourself! We all have our demons. We all have our issues. Do what you can to stop the shaming and live in the light.