Making the decision to get and stay sober can be one of the most difficult decisions that you can make in your lifetime. There are a host of emotions that come with admitting that you are an addict or alcoholic. You can feel as if you are a failure, you have been defeated, you may feel as if you are weak minded. The most difficult one to swallow may be what you have done to others and or what you have done to your own reputation. While you were drinking, those thoughts completely and simply do not exist. You may have done whatever you want or need to do in order to get your next drink. Additionally, you may feel that society as a whole may also view you as a “sloppy drunk” or just a “dirty addict.” These can all be difficult things to tackle in early recovery, but we must realize that the views of others and most importantly our view of ourselves can be repaired. It will just take TIME.
Dealing with the emotions around your reputation
Emotionally in early recovery can be you will feel a wide variety of emotions that could make you feel anything from worthless and weak, to prideful and strong. Making that decision can be an empowering feeling, “I am going to get better, and stay sober”, almost like you are going to win a prizefight. On the other hand you may feel as if you may be a failure or defeated. Please understand that all of these are natural feelings, and that you will most likely feel all of them as you start your journey.
Taking your time
The biggest thing to remember is that you need to remain mindful that repairing any relationship or your reputation will take time. It is not an overnight thing that occurs once you stop drinking. Whether you cause some wreckage in your active addiction, or just cause some damage to interpersonal relationships you may need to prove to others around you that you are in fact changing your ways. This will all come from continually making the right decisions. Recovery and life boiled down to its most simplistic state is a series of decisions. Making the right decisions will allow you to reap the rewards and benefits. However, if you make the wrong decisions you will have to deal with the consequences.
Working on a reputation with yourself
The most important reputation that you will have to repair is the one to yourself. The repercussions of your active addiction may leave you looking inward and saying “I can’t believe I am such a bad person” or “I can’t believe that I did something”. That may be a natural feeling, but the focus needs to now be on moving forward and what you are doing about your new way of life. Not looking back at all of the shortcomings. Those decisions do not define you moving forward.
Ultimately, consistently making the right decisions will change your reputation to yourself and others in recovery. The most important thing to remember that any of these things take TIME, and my first sponsor told me that TIME stands for Things I Must Earn. So, make sure you give yourself a break and make those decisions mindfully, and EARN your reputations back.