I Have a Drinking Problem – The One Thing I Don’t Want You to Know About Me

As part of the Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), we engaged in an exercise called: “The one thing I don’t want you to know about me…” I had gone to my morning recovery meeting before this session and shared that my goal is to speak my truth when it is appropriate rather than hiding and pretending that I am somebody else. In my heart I knew that keeping my truth hidden was holding me back, keeping me in a place of fear, people pleasing, and putting a wall up that others could sense. So of course, this exercise follows later on that same day in YTT. The teacher went first and shared from his heart. My mind was insisting that to share my struggles with alcohol would be foolish and would cause me to be rejected by the group. I recognized that well worn thinking pattern immediately and realized that I was absolutely at a “fork in the road” with respect to this exercise. I could do what I have always done – run and hide the real me or I could take a huge risk, speak my truth (as I had said I wanted to in my recovery meeting that morning) and let go of the outcome. I heard my mind say, “We can’t possibly do the truth thing – it will destroy you… You will be talked about… Everyone will think you are a total boozer and loser… What if _______ finds out…” And just as I thought I was settled into heading down the same old path of “run and hide – don’t let anyone see you or know you…” another thought came over me: “What if someone else is hiding the same pain of addiction and your sharing is meant to lend them some courage too???? And before I could let the mind take over I felt my body standing up and walking itself to the front of the room. With tears running down my face and a tremor in my voice I said, “The one thing I don’t want you to know about me is that I come from a long history of alcoholics and I am one too. For more than ten years I have tried to battle this addiction and that is the reason I am in this course right now. Last January when I registered, I was desperate and I thought maybe this could help. Shame and stigma and what you might think of me has kept me in hiding. This Friday I will have four months without a drink…” And then I sat down. Shaking and quaking. I survived it but more than that I was not judged. In fact, out of a group of 17, five women shared with me at various times that they were either battling a full blown addiction or they were very concerned about the way they used alcohol. We drew very close to one another as we took turns listening and sharing our experiences. These “classmates” are now cherished friends who see me, know me, and love me – warts and all. There is beauty from my ashes. The thing I have hated most about myself has been the catalyst for allowing others to share their pain. And together we move forward down a new, more truthful path…


4 thoughts on “I Have a Drinking Problem – The One Thing I Don’t Want You to Know About Me”

  1. I think that was a huge, brave, authentic and fabulous thing to do.
    I made a similar “confession” with my yoga teacher trying group, particularly about my struggle with depression and using alcohol until it became a big problem.

    It is so relieving to be honest. Don’t you feel like a weight has been lifted?

    Thank you for sharing that with us!

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