About halfway through my rehab stay I absentmindedly grabbed a hot curling iron by the wrong end. The pain was instantaneous and all-encompassing, and was followed by a wave of self-hatred so fierce I leaned against the bathroom counter for support. You fuckup, I thought. You utter and complete piece of shit. You worthless loser. My hand throbbed and I just stood there looking at the reddening skin feeling like something had come loose inside of me. Some protective seal, ruptured. See what you get? See what you get?

I picked up my six-month chip recently. I have a little pile of them now: 24 hours, the Serenity Lane graduation coin, outpatient graduation, aluminum months differentiated by number and color. I don’t feel the way I used to, so raw and ashamed and loathsome. Every day I take another step, small movements but they add up.

Things are different, better, but the terrain is new and my confidence has been rebooted from scratch. My sponsor gave me a magnet that reads, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” which I kept for a few weeks before I decided that I didn’t like the idea of viewing my own comfort as a failure so I threw it away. Then I dug it back out of the trash because maybe the preachy magnet is right. Or maybe that’s just, like, the magnet’s opinion, man. I have no certainty about these things.

All I do know is that I have to keep walking towards forgiving and accepting myself. For all that I’ve done, for all that I am. I guess there’s no real finish line for this, just the hope that I’m going in the right direction.


32 Responses to “Six months and change”

  1. Kristi on September 24th, 2015 7:12 am

    I like to think that there are many finish lines. Getting through a series of hurdles better get you a finish line before the next set. And I damn well better get one of those shitty participation ribbons too.
    Keep on keepin on, finish line or not.

  2. Jen on September 24th, 2015 7:26 am

    Isn’t that all of our walks? Forgiving and accepting ourselves…finding inner peace.

  3. Dina on September 24th, 2015 7:42 am

    Glad to see you moving forward and healing. Sharing your journey will help others who are further behind find hope. It also reminds those ahead reflect back on the baby steps. Thanks for sharing.

  4. sheilah on September 24th, 2015 8:10 am

    I don’t think it’s a race with a finish line. Or if it is it’s a race that starts over every day. If you make it to the end of the day then you win. And the race starts again the next day. Hang in there. You have a lot of people who are behind you and care about you.

  5. Marilyn on September 24th, 2015 8:30 am

    I think you can have it both ways. Comfort zone is worth having when you need it. Pushing yourself is worth doing when you can. Magnet is a little pushy, though. You can have fabulous life moments in your comfort zone!

  6. Penne on September 24th, 2015 9:03 am

    Preachy magnets are the reason I had wooden cabinet panels put on the door of my refrigerator. I’m just a stranger 1000 miles away who is in my own way a complete fuck up, but I hope it means a tiny bit that I am really proud of you. You don’t want a finish line. The race is the thing.

  7. Lisa on September 24th, 2015 10:14 am

    I really like what Penne said above.
    Also, now I want penne.

  8. Martha on September 24th, 2015 11:13 am

    I am glad to read that the negative self talk has lessened. I struggle with it, too. You can do this. You are doing this. Hugs.

  9. Em on September 24th, 2015 11:56 am

    Cheering for you!

  10. Angella on September 24th, 2015 12:05 pm

    You know that we’re all walking next to you, step by step.

    Love you, friend.

  11. Mary on September 24th, 2015 4:16 pm


  12. Jen on September 24th, 2015 4:38 pm

    I like the direction you are going in. I am haunted by negative words and feelings. It is so easy to believe that crap, but very little, if any, is true. I’m so proud of you. You continue to inspire me towards more confidence.

  13. Barbara on September 24th, 2015 6:17 pm

    I think we all have that demon we need to tame and it’s an ongoing dialogue. Rather than God or Higher Power or Great Spirit, etc. I call it Big Mind/Little Mind. Little Mind is the one that says, “I think I’ll have a drink/another piece of pie/another 2/3/5 cookies”, etc. and Big Mind is what says (after we’ve had it), “I wouldn’t have done that if I were you”.

    I believe it’s an ongoing evolution to Become our Higher Selves. Some days we hit, some days we miss. The goal, I believe, it to come out with more hits than misses. Hard, I know.

    I, too, am proud of you, and have learned so much from you. You’ve inspired me for years, and I’ve always gleaned strength from how authentically you live your life. You may fuck up from time to time – as we ALL do – but you own it and take steps to right it, and oh Wow – that’s HUGE. You’re one to ride the river with for sure. I don’t even know you aside from your blog and I can tell you right now I’d want you on my team no matter what.

  14. holley on September 24th, 2015 7:02 pm

    You are awesome and an inspiration!

  15. Katharine Coldiron on September 24th, 2015 7:14 pm

    A few months ago I somehow forgot that one of my electric stove’s burners was on, actively on, and I pushed my thumb down on the coil to try and set it back in its place after the lady who cleaned it had popped it loose. Of course I noticed pretty much instantly that the thing was on and jerked away, but in the meantime I burned most of the surface of my thumb quite badly. My husband was mere feet away, but I was so ashamed that I’d done something so stupid that it took me 10 minutes of running water and icing and etc. to tell him.

    He told me it was okay. That I wasn’t just bottomlessly stupid, that it was morning and I wanted to fix it and burning yourself is something that happens. And he kissed my thumb and hugged me tight.

    This is me kissing your sore spot (nonsexually) and hugging you tight. I’m a stranger, but I mean it: you are NOT worthless. You are NOT a loser. You are beloved by many, and there’s no way you fooled every one of them.

  16. Lori on September 25th, 2015 4:01 am

    I think about you regularly, having read for years, rooting for you.

  17. mcconk on September 25th, 2015 6:05 am

    I am so glad to hear that you are feeling better. You deserve happiness as much as the next person, probably more than a lot of them!

  18. Mary Clare on September 25th, 2015 6:24 am

    Linda, I check back all the time wondering how you are. Your honesty resonates with the rest of us who struggle with self worth. Thanks for sharing and know that there’s one more person rooting for you from afar.

  19. Anne L on September 25th, 2015 11:12 am

    What you experience along the race is the best part! The finish line only means it’s over…I am so so happy to see you writing again!

  20. honeybecke on September 25th, 2015 11:45 am

    Big love–big squishy hug, man. You are doing it. I am so happy for you and your reboot.

  21. Donna on September 26th, 2015 8:21 am

    Linda, you can do anything you set your mind to. And have…marathons, moving, quitting your job to write, having babies, marriage, and overcoming every obstacle in your way. Give yourself a break if you stumble once in awhile. We all still love you, you’ll always be loved, and you need to love yourself too.

  22. Joanne on September 26th, 2015 11:38 am

    Congratulations on six months! I mean, I feel like every single person is struggling with something, we are all running a race. Hang in there!

  23. sooboo on September 26th, 2015 1:05 pm

    Congratulations on your big ‘ol stack of chips. So many people I know (me included) struggle with self love. I agree that it’s a process, not a goal. “Or maybe that’s just, like, the magnet’s opinion, man.” Ha! Glad to see you still have your sense of humor!

  24. Dawn on September 27th, 2015 9:01 am

    Thank you so much for sharing. As someone who is also on the sobriety path I look so forward to your insights. I have been sober for a few months and still feel kind of blah. I haven’t felt the euphoria many talk about. Anyway, so glad you are doing better. All the best to you.

  25. Jen on September 30th, 2015 2:45 pm

    One finish line at a time. xoxo

  26. AmyQ on October 1st, 2015 1:45 pm

    I’m still on the track I was heading when I emailed you last year…. Congrats on 6 months. That’s fucking huge. A friend sent me a link to your 40 something post. I’ve wondered how you were doing a few times. It’s cool to see someone actually make progress and change and try…. I hope it sticks for you. You’re way too awesome Linda. Xoxo

  27. Niki on October 2nd, 2015 8:44 pm

    Just keep moving forward.

  28. Rachel on October 6th, 2015 1:19 am

    I’ve read your blog for years, I’m so glad you’re honest about all this. I got so drunk last night that my husband finally knows that I have a problem, I’ve been too chicken to tell him. But how horrible, how awful for him. And I’m here at work and don’t know quite how I’m going to face him tonight. There is no real point to this, and I don’t need a reply, I just need to tell somebody else and I don’t have anyone in real life that I tell this kind of stuff to. But because of you I know I’m not alone, and I know that husbands/partners can be accepting and forgiving.

  29. Anonymous on October 16th, 2015 6:41 pm

    Hi. I loved your blog through the years. My marriage was awful, I self medicated for a short time..yes, sometimes you have to go through the muck so you can get past it. I read somewhere, don’t look at it as a struggle and it will be okay. Happiness isn’t a choice, it just is. You did the best you could with what you had. You are forging through..radical acceptance. And in time, a good balance. I don’t know if these platitudes will help, but be strong.

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