Last night I was having dinner with one of my best friends and he said he wanted to ask me a question. The last I was out with him for dinner he was with his wife and they saw my two tattoos I got this year and when I told them that this one was my sober date when I quit alcohol they said that’s wonderful and good for me. I’m pretty sure I changed the topic over to my other tattoo quickly and I didn’t think much about it afterwards. Then last night he pointed at it and said I never knew Dwight you had a drinking problem.
I was surprised. It was like a deep pressure on my chest and I was a bit frazzled and responded it’s not something I bring up usually, but if someone asks I’ll talk about it. I explained how I was a binge drinker and drank mass quantities 3 to 4 times a week and finally got the courage to say enough is enough. I didn’t go into details about how I had started drinking at age 13 and how it became a huge part of my life. He asked if it had affected my job at all, and I admitted it most likely did being hung over, not able to think clearly, and just being grumpy in the mornings. As we discussed it a bit more he just kept repeating I never knew.
Now this is actually a friend that I’ve known for 20 years. As I was driving home, I started to feel guilty of not telling him anything about this and even thought he could very well be offended. I started asking myself how did this come about. How is it we don’t share our struggles with those who love and support us? He also doesn’t know I took a 6 week leave of absence due to depression a year after my divorce.
It’s like I have two lives. The people I partied with real hard I obviously told I had quit alcohol and about 3 other friends I’ve told about the leave of absence and the depression I experience. For all my other friends, I just don’t go there …unless the topic would come up I guess.
I never thought this was strange until I faced it last night. I’m thinking now that I should of been able to tell one of my best friends the good, bad, and the ugly of “me” but I didn’t. I never disclosed it, so I guess I was hiding it all trying to present all is well. You hear this quite often though others saying, “I never knew they had a problem with …”. I’m not feeling overly good about all this. I can see where it’s not necessary with acquaintances, but with good friends this shouldn’t be the case.
I guess I was embarrassed and ashamed if I’m honest with myself. I’m always spouting how I just need to be me and here I was doing the opposite. Looking back now I know my friend would have been more then understanding and supportive, but I never gave him a chance. And who knows by me sharing my struggles maybe he would of opened up about some of his. Definitely an issue men especially have letting down our shields.
So there you have it. I guess there might be some wisdom in all this. You sometimes just never know what’s going on with your loved ones. For those with the struggles, reaching out and being vulnerable will provide an opportunity for others to give you support and to deepen that relationship. It definitely takes courage. I didn’t have it when it was all going down and even afterwards.
Be courageous my super heroes! Learn from my mistakes. Let others hold your hand when you’re falling and let them help balance you when you’re coming back uP. They are here for you.❤️