Staying sober, despite the self-doubt

If you spend much time around people with addictions, you’ll notice a lot of them say the same thing.
“I never felt like I fit in,” many of them will tell you. “All my life, I’ve just felt different.”
That sensation of being the outsider, the loneliness of the presumed interloper, is often what caused them to turn to substances in the first place, they share.
For me, though, it’s been the opposite.
What plagues me is the belief that I’m actually not different at all. That there is nothing whatsoever that sets me apart — no great talent, no ethereal beauty, no natural ability for anything other than being appropriately dressed at weddings.
A pre-portioned scoop of middle-of-the-road vanilla in a plain white paper cup.
I fit in just fine, because I blend. Like the embodiment of the color beige.
You know, boring.
This is not to say that I’m normal. I possess a litany of freaky traits, from not being able to use silverware, to making up songs about my furniture, to speaking in ad copy.
“This muffin is not the flavor temptation to sweep the nation that I was hoping for,” or “I get the cool mint sensation you’re ignoring me right now.”
The people who love me think it’s quirky. Those who don’t, find it irritating.
What it isn’t, regardless of which side you fall on, is particularly interesting.
And this, for me, is the hardest part about not drinking.
Because despite my many attempts, nothing in my life has ever cured my insecurity like three large glasses of wine. The perfect dose of liquid confidence.
Unfortunately, stopping at that perfect three isn’t something of which I’m terribly capable.
Thus leading to what has long been, besides the wedding-attire thing, my most notable attribute: The girl who sure can drink a lot — and does.
Not exactly the defining characteristic I was striving for.
Sure, her wedding outfit is beautiful. But beware the open bar at the reception afterward. That’s where it gets ugly.
And so I decided a couple years ago (two years and five days, if we’re counting) to give it up cold turkey, and climb up on that proverbial wagon.
For the most part, it’s been great — no embarrassing text messages, no dramatic fights, no drunken confessions I don’t remember the next day.
There’s more money in my bank account, a bit less jiggle around my mid-section, and probably far fewer annoyed late-shift Sheetz employees.
Honestly, it’d be a dream come true if it weren’t for the now-constant, crushing torture of my self-doubt, no longer deadened, even temporarily, by booze.
But hey, I never thought I’d go 735 days without a hangover.
So maybe someday I’ll magically become a fascinating, striking, intriguing, unusual, compelling person.
Today, I am a sober one.
And that’s pretty remarkable in itself.

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