Facebook and life in a fishbowl

So by living “Out Loud” in my Faith and alcoholism I have essentially began living in an aquarium.
Parts of my life are on display.
People have the opportunity to see snippets of my life and my views and form opinions.
I knew that was a possibility when I first said openly that I am an alcoholic and when I began telling others how God saved me.
The risk of judgement and negative feedback was less frightening than living my life inauthentically.
I thought I knew how this would feel but when it came I was surprised.
Last night I was in bed and Hubby was finishing watching a movie, it was 2:45am.
I was woken by the sound of a loud conversation, it was Hubby and another guy speaking.
I went out to investigate and found that a drunken man had come into our home, he was insistent that his friend lived here and Hubby had to lead him out while repeatedly telling him he had the wrong house.
This guy was alone and totally wasted.
So we called the Police but the guy had already taken off down the road.
It sounds pretty tame but I was scared and my anxiety kept me awake all night.
So of course I opened my computer and I posted the following line on my personal Facebook profile status:

“Thank you drunk guy trying to get into houses for choosing ours at 2:45am, I’m hoping you dig the drunk tank”

I didn’t put much thought into the status post but with it being on my personal profile page I would have thougth people knew me and my situation well enough that I wouldn’t have to.

I wouldn’t have thought to say that I felt for this guy, that we didn’t know what else to do, that he was incoherent, that we spoke calmly to him with dignity and respect , that we were scared he might stumble to a house where someone could hurt him out of fear.

I was wrong.

There were supportive posts from friends but there was also a post from someone who felt the need to tell me that I should have had sympathy for the guy, pointing out that not long ago I was walking in that guys shoes.
He went on to ask
 “Isn’t this God you preach about tolerant and understanding or is that only true on Sunday’s?”


There were many posts following that one, I appreciate that many people pointed out that his post was unreasonable and that it was doubtful that anyone would have invited this stranger in for coffee and a discussion on alcoholism or God.

The poster did apologize and pointed out that his intention wasn’t to offend me.

Pretty busy Facebook wall to login to.

So I’ve been pondering how to post this, I’m not concerned with my relationship with the poster, he and I will work that out between us.

What I’ve been looking at is myself and how I’m presenting myself.

My first reaction to this post wasn’t anger, it wasn’t indignation as it would have been in the past.
It was sadness that someone didn’t get me.
I hadn’t given enough of myself in that status line for people to know the situation.
How did it end up being a discussion on my faith or alcoholism?

That happened because someone had seen parts of my journey and established judgment upon me.

AA has taught me that I cannot control people, places or things.
God has taught me compassion.
Both have taught me self-worth.

Today I have had the opportunity to see my growth through this, I’ve reviewed the situations and am happy with my actions and responses.

There is always work to be done, as always I’m seeking progress today rather than perfection.

I’m glad I can look these events and see that I’m not only living my faith on Sundays and that I have the ability to have sympathy for this guy who was drunk, that I didn’t respond as I would have in the past.

If the poster hadn’t challenged me, as inappropriate as it was, I wouldn’t have had the chance to see the progress I’ve made.
I’m reassured that I am living with rigorous honesty with myself and my God.

And the aquarium?
It’s solid.
So are both my sobriety and my faith.

God has called me to live this journey fully and loudly and I’m responding.

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11 Responses

  1. I'm reminded of a very poignant saying… You know my name, not my story.I'm reminded of the humble and pure act of worship of the woman who annointed Jesus head, and who washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair…Nobody knows the COST of that oil in YOUR alabaster box, Julie.Judgement will come… and there's nothing you can do about that. Those who DO pass judgement just can't see the cost of your oil.I love ya girl… keep on living in His Grace.~Laurie Anne

  2. "The risk of judgement and negative feedback was less frightening than living my life inauthentically."Julie, There are many components tied into my appreciation for this posting. First, your above quote is verbatum why I began my blog – I've been down this sober rode before, I have had successfull sobriety prior to this time, but obviously something needed to change because I nearly lost my life… My sobriety was "on the fence." I'll discuss it with you, but you, over, there, not a chance! I'll allow you to know how my life has changed in sobriety, but that mom I'm helping chair the Senior Prom Breakfast; NO WAY CAN SHE "KNOW"…No, this time, as I have said time and time again 'over there', its caution to the wind and a type of wreckless abandon, that will surely set me up for judgement.But, at the end of the day, I can say,,, "dawn, ya maybe put it out there today just a tad bit over the top", but I can KNOW that MY INTENTIONS WERE PURE, UNSELFISH, AND FOR THE SOLE REASON OF REACHING A STRUGGLING ADDICT.Second, man, I was feelin it reading your story up there – see, "back then" – I would have tore into that guy like it was my last bag of watermelon jolly ranchers – I mean I would have shredded him to sawdust……Why? because of fear – because of untruths, because I wasn't living a transparent life. And because he bruised my ever-sensitive ego (edging-God-out)Fast forward – today, I'd a handled it much as you did – with a whole lotta grace and discernment.Cheers my sober sister!!!!!~d

  3. "Tolerance and understanding" isn't the same as making excuses and letting someone get away with (self)-destructive behavior. The former is compassion; the latter is a symptom of codependency. Good for you, Julie, for not freaking out, for caring enough to try to make sure the guy didn't stumble in on someone else and maybe get injured – or worse. Plus the way you dealt with the FB situation – kudos!! It shows so poignantly how you have shed a LOT of the baggage you most likely carried with you into addiction, shed since starting to develop a relationship with God. Recovery is such an incredible process and indeed we are 'amazed before we are half-way through' … sometimes, once into the process for a while, we surprise ourselves at how we respond rather than react – live instead of languish.Sometimes it takes an upsetting experience for us to realize just how far we've come in recovery. (See my blog Tuesday Apr 5). When God enters our lives and turns on the light of His unconditional love, all the nasty hangers-on in our lives tend to want to scurry away like six-legged critters.

  4. I'm so sorry that you had that encounter with the drunk guy. I, too, would have been terrified and bowed up with anxiety.As for the Facebook thing, I'm not a huge fan of Facebook. It makes me nervous. But I believe you handled it well.

  5. I think people often infer lots from 140 characters…or a Facebook status…and that what they infer says a lot about THEIR state of mind when reading it.

  6. None of us can get the full picture of you…from facebook, from this post, etc. You took such a mature stand on this one. Instead of anger, you dissected the entire situation and reacted with compassion and understanding. If that isn't a teaching direct out of AA and the Word, I don't know what is! :-)

  7. Even if you said that words you felt went *without* saying, someone still would have found issues with it. People read a lot of meaning into the written word. In general, and especially via social media. When there isn't a tone nor context nor facial expressions accompanying words, it's so easy to misconstrue.

  8. I love this post! Isn't it amazing when we experience things that help us see our growth? THey show up in the oddest places. Facebook can be such a difficult place to communicate because our intentions can't always be heard in our words. Sounds like this was a gift and hats off to you for seeing the best in this situation! We need voices like yours to teach us how to look at ourselves and not point fingers. I'll admit that my first reaction was to judge the poster! What does that tell me? I'm not very evolved if I can't forgive him for misunderstanding. There is so much more I want to say:) I will just keep following you. Thank you for your example.

  9. I think you handled all the situations well. It's easy to say things or pass judgement on someone's actions when they are not happening to you. None of us really know how we would react unless we are suddenly put in that circumstance. Walk your walk girl, loud and proud…..

  10. The encounter with the drunk guy would have caused me not to be able to fall back to sleep either. If someone actually thinks you should have invited him in for coffee and a 12 step they are nuts, talking recovery and spirituality to someone drunk is a waste of your time and theirs. I like being more transparent now. When I was drinking I was living one big lie and facade. I am careful about posting on Facebook, like it has been said simple statements can be easily misunderstood, I was reprimanded by a former boss for a FB statement she felt was directed at her and the agency but wasn't. Some of my FB friends know me quite well and where I am coming from, others don't, it would be a waste of energy to get into a long discuss trying to make my point clear to them. The positive thing in all this is, you examined yourself and know in your heart your intentions where honorable. Keep your faith and your chin up:-)

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