This I Believe

Amanda - Seattle, Washington
Entered on November 20, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe that others believe in me, and that their belief has power.

When I talk about it I still can’t really acknowledge that it was a choice I made. It was a deep base instinct, the same one that kicks in when you finally get back to the surface of the water and breath rips into your lungs.

I have alcoholism….I’m an alcoholic….dipsomaniac…carrier of the A-1 allele.

I’ve was never much of a ‘drunk’, I wasn’t the kind of drinker who shows up drunk to work or pounds shots. I liked to drink socially, sitting in the plush lounge of the neighborhood bar or on the porch of a friend’s house. I would cautiously gauge my drinking; watch how much other people were drinking not wanting to get too far ahead of them.

Sometimes I would accidentally ‘drink too much’, oops, and end up in one of various alcohol induced clichés. I tried to stop drinking socially, in the hopes that if I didn’t get ‘caught up’ in socializing that I wouldn’t have those oops moments. All I managed to do was isolate myself. My disease amplified my insecurities, ones that I tried to hide as deftly as I hid my drinking. Usually I would attribute the oops moments to any number of chaotic influences in my life – my job is stressful, that guy’s a jerk, girls just wanna have fun – it wasn’t until the past few years that I started to catch the glimpse of a pattern developing.

It was a hangover day when Amy said ‘You just have to do a better job of gauging what you drink, of keeping tabs on yourself.’ and my response, my gasp for air, was ‘I can’t, I just can’t.’ When I hung up from that conversation I knew I had come to a point, a bubble of time when I had the opportunity to acknowledge my growing awareness. I guess this is where the choice was made, my problem was suddenly so obvious, but I had the choice to pop the bubble keep walking or simply collapse and let go into awareness. Surrender.

I sat on the steps of a garden and stared at my phone, and that’s the moment when they were with me. The lovely people who believe in me, in my essence, in the work I do, in the words I speak and write. They believe in the goodness of me. I’ve had the intense honor of being able to draw on the power of that belief; a gift, given piece by piece, person by person over twenty nine years.

Now-a-days, ninety days in, things are pretty calm. It’s just me, all of the time now – fun, scrappy, playful, earnest, creative me. The people in my life, the ones cautiously orbiting, watching me change and understanding and letting me be. They have been a vital ingredient in this change.

Their belief rocked me to the core.