So, This happened…

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Another story in a million stories, another idiotic comment in a string of comments… And I quote:

 

Look, the issue now for me is not about the pros and the cons of the law, or how thrilling it is that I have the privilege of helping to underwrite drug-addicted and alcoholic deadbeats. It’s moot. It’s law.

 

The person who wrote that is a very good, years long friend of mine. It was one of a million posts (exaggeration) he has been writing lately about the ACA.   I  have been holding my tongue, or my fingers, from making any comments. Practicing that old “restraint of pen and tongue” thing. It hasn’t been that hard because others have been clearly stating my opinion to him, no need for me to get into the debate.

Until that….that ridiculous, hateful, stupid, clueless prejudiced piece of drivel, spouted off as if it were a clear fact : “drug addicted and alcoholic deadbeats”….

OH YEAH??? Like ME!!???

The feeling of shame blindsided and overwhelmed me. The anger followed right on the heels of the shame and I very quickly typed out a scathing retort about his stupidity, his need to name call, how all of his posts have been rude and demeaning but this one took the cake, that, oh and by the way he just might like to take a good hard look at his own drinking and then signed off with “your alcoholic friend”.

The I took a very deep breathe and pushed….delete.

I know better. I know “what others think of me is not my business”. I also know it is quite possible that he doesn’t even know I am an alcoholic, and that if he did he might have thought before posting that.

Yes, he is an old and dear friend, but he and his wife moved away before I stopped drinking. They have been back to visit and I have been to their daughters wedding in Santa Fe since I got sober, but I’m not sure they noticed I wasn’t drinking, busy as they were drinking because it is not all about me. We drank together sure…and plenty over the years, but my real drinking was done alone; there were many surprised people when I finally got sober. Benefit of the doubt is that he does not know.

MAN, this has got me so twisted though! I hate the stigma of alcoholism,and this kind of comment just perpetuates it, in such a mindless, careless way. This thinking keeps people from getting help, because of shame but also because the vast majority of alcoholics are not deadbeats, they are like me. Like you. When people we love and care about characterize us like this, even without knowing, it’s so painful. It’s hard to not take it personally, it’s hard to not feel shame and self-hatred along with great anger and sadness at the behaviour of others. I don’t run around shouting from the rooftops my alcoholic status. I keep it close to the vest. I mean, sure I get the 12 step Buddha on my news feed and other occasional recovery related items, but I don’t think most people notice, or, frankly, care. It isn’t about me, yet this felt like it, it felt like it was about me. It hurt, really hurt.

I don’t know what, if anything , I am going to do about it. Obviously the dramatic, just-as-hateful post is not gonna happen, thankfully! Grateful I have learned that lesson well and, besides, the feelings of shame I had? I don’t want to perpetuate that. A stupid remark doesn’t deserve that. Does it deserve compassion? Probably…not sure I am there yet. Does it deserve a response at all? That’s a good question,one I am working on.

It doesn’t deserve a public response. I’m not ready to fly my flag right out there, loud and proud. A private response though, a PM just being honest and as loving as I can possibly be, and yet firm. Calling him out at the absurdity and falsehood of the statement and the fact that I was personally hurt by his comments. “As an alcoholic myself I was personally hurt by your comments…whether directed at me or not I am a member of a fellowship of people in recovery from alcoholism and the perpetuation of the false stigma of addicts and alcoholics as derelicts and deadbeats hurts us all”.

I don’t know. This is a hard one for me.

I am definitely up for any and all input.

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13 Comments

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  1. People say dumb things without thinking. All the dumb shit I’ve said and done, sober and drunk?, yeah I won’t be throwing any stones anytime soon.

    If he’s a long time friend, just message him privately (so he can save face), and say hey, you know I’m an alcoholic right? And let that open up honest dialogue. The lesson presents itself when the student is ready–and you both can learn from this.

    Hell, send him my link to my Face of Alcoholism post — he’ll confront his own stereotype, then he’ll see how that stereotype is wrong.
    http://runningonsober.com/2013/10/17/this-face-of-alcoholism/

    Most people are just unaware, and if we don’t say it do something when we have the chance, we are complicit as well.

    And don’t forget to breathe…… Xo

  2. I would sit on it a little while longer and see if you still feel like commenting. I know he’s a friend, but people who repeatedly post incendiary statements on fb are probably not interested in adopting a more open perspective. I don’t see how messaging him privately would hurt, so do that if it feels right. As an alcoholic, I am painfully aware how I was an unlucky night (many times over) away from needing legal representation.

    As for fb in general, I use the button that blocks certain people from appearing in my feed. Even if they are lifelong friends, fb brings out the worst in some and/or I just don’t handle the conflict well. On the other hand, I’ve been able to keep in touch with people I cherish so don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Good luck on this and hope you find peace with your friend.

  3. Yeah, I think you did well by pressing the delete button. And this is from someone who *loved* getting into that stuff early on in my recovery. Loved to debunk myths, and “set people straight”, etc. LOL. I am sure that I stereotype certain people without even seeing it. Or I say something that marginalizes someone or a group without me even meaning to do so. So I now often pause, like you did, before launching a counter-attack (even though they might not even know that they were at war!).

    The flip side of this is that we don’t become doormats or don’t stand up for things or others or don’t have a voice. I think that there is a balance needed. I may accept, but still make my opinion noted. I may understand and empathize, but still be firm in my own beliefs and convictions. It’s something I am still learning to navigate.

    As Christy said, perhaps just speak to him privately and use love and acceptance in your dealings with him. He may have no clue what he is saying and the impact on someone. Coming at him with an attack just makes him defensive, like it would most others, methinks.

    Great post…hope it goes well, whatever it is you choose 🙂

    Paul

  4. One of the great lessons (they were few, but great) of est – remember est? – whoa – was that you can love everybody – and some people you can love at a distance. I choose to not only not respond, but not to read his posts. It seems he has decided to assimilate to his surroundings, and that may be why his outlet on Facebook is so important – and, by the way, addictive – to him. Also I believe that although I can friend people on facebook, facebook is most definitely not my friend. Your friends who commented above are true blue and right on. He may be sending out statements like these just to get a rise out of people, just to assure himself that he is still connected to folks out here. I believe his is not a happy life. It was strong to push delete – and I must admit I would have loved seeing it, petty little shit that I am! And it would also be strong to speak loving truth if and when you felt like it sometime. Meanwhile, you GO, girl.

    • right.
      Hide his posts….I can do that.
      And I will work on the wording of the loving and kind response, perhaps working in some of his heroes..Wayne Dyer and Swami whatever…(maybe that’s a little passive-aggressive!).
      But, yes, I do not know why I read him at all…I don’t respond because there is no way to
      Out of the feed he goes, and appropriate PM will be conjured in my head. xoox

  5. My two cents: Shine, you’re bigger than all of the nonsense. We (people in general) like to talk down what we don’t know or want to know. You know who you are. You know the path you’ve traveled. I think this is why those in recovery stick together. We know what it’s like on this side of the street. Recovery is work and our life depends on it. Not many people can say that about their daily thoughts. We can’t hide my from anything (if we want to stay sober) Really powerful post, thank you . Hang in there. Lisa

  6. Michele-

    I have been reading this person’s posts and I am also getting weary of his constant snide attacks on the ACA as well as his generalizations about people affected by it. He has an axe to grind but adopts this false objectivity which betrays its cynical underpinnings. He seems to be ranting in order to provoke a response, but when he gets one, he may appear to be giving it some thought, but just as quickly, he swats it away, waiting for the next challenger. I think he’s being a jerk.

    As for your delicious response, I reveled in it but I understand why you pressed “Delete”.

    I admire that,

    Terry

  7. Well my love, if you hate the stigma of being an alcoholic then don’t wear it as a stigma. You choose how your recovery is manifested in your identity and it needn’t include the stigma you hate. I know there is seduction to assume we “deserve” certain things because we were screwed up enough to earn them but you know that’s bullshit. You get to choose. You can just as easily choose to assume you deserve respect and honor for your recovery. I imagine you as the proverbial wise Medicine Woman who has been there and come back with the gentle wisdom of a simple reminder–“not all alcoholics are deadbeats, my friend. Some of us are shit-hot amazing.” And then watch him squirm.

    • love this.
      you know, i don’t wear that stigma well, nor do i feel i deserve to. I think i bristle at it more for others than myself….the ones who haven’t gotten help, who maybe are questioning and then see that people think of them as deadbeats and that pushes them back into their closets.
      I feel oddly lucky that, while I questioned my drinking for quite a while, I never really thought of myself as an alcoholic until i did. And then i got into action, and none of that action involved judging anyone but myself (well, and the jesus freaks..LOL). And as I learned more about this disease I really stopped judging, because I know where I am capable of going, and grateful I didn’t have to.

      I admit to the quick raft of shame here because this was a person I know, and so I took it personally. That’s on me. I still haven’t said anything to him, and probably won’t…it’s seems moot.

      Shit hot amazing. Oh, yes…..I will personalize that!

  8. Hide him from your newsfeed. Whenever I get upset about things I see posted on facebook, I have to remind myself that I signed up for this nonsense. There is no law that says I have to be on fb, and I must remember that I invite these people into my brain – I can also kick them out.

  9. When I need to be right, I am wrong. It’s a painful truth, but self-righteousness has no place in my life when I’m spiritually fit. Ugh.

    Humility is choosing not to take anything personally, even full attacks.

    Unless he attacks you personally, I would leave it alone and pray for humility.

    I love you and I know how impossible my suggestion is for me to take in similar situations, but when I have been able to, I’ve reaped the benefits.

    And if not, rip him a new asshole.

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