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  • Sher

Story Telling

Updated: Mar 28, 2022

I tell my stories not out of vengeance or spite but out of humilty. I use my stories as a way to process experiences in my life a way to learn and to grow in my spirituality and my humanity. With that being said I am happy to claim a resolve.

If you have followed my journey you know I have struggled with feelings of betrayal, self worth, and belongingness. I joined a group for women who are on a spiritual path and was denied membership because I am well, me. A human being, being human.

I will tell you little bit more about me, as I think context is important, more important than subjection. Almost three years ago I was coming to a hard final fall on a five year downward spiral, it could be said I was experiencing “The Dark Night of the Soul”.

Adversity had struck me hard and I had not developed any healthy coping mechanisms for the unexpected twists and turns in my life. I turned to alcohol to cope. I won’t subject you all to the trauma and turmoil that ensued over a five year span but I will say that I wouldn’t be who I am today had it not been for every experience in my life, the good and the bad. And I love who I am.

I have been sober since 7/16/2019. Sobriety has given me my power back maybe a power I never had. Systemic social structures lead me to believe that drinking would make me powerful, allow me in the “boys club” and end the constant inadequacy I felt as a women. Well it did the exact opposite.

My story isn’t special. I was a people pleaser, a codependent, and an accommodator. I kept my desires inside and I allowed the world around me to use me and abuse me. My sobriety story, still in the making, on the other hand is quite extradorinary.

Cleaning my system of alcohol was the first step the step where I became a traveler and a maker of my own life. I got sober through AA. I have a strong feminist ideological backbone and there has been some bumps in the road. The AA program was built in the 1930’s when the “White Male System” was not being criticized, hell it was the only system.

*(To be clear I am speaking of a SYSTEM, I am not stereotyping, or stigmatizing white men)

This means there are hurdles I come across in AA. For one the Big Book’s (official literature of Alcoholics Anonymous) language is outdated, the patriarchal undertone alone has made my blood boil at times. However, these and other hurdles on my path have all lead to each new awakening. I deeper understanding of myself and the world in which I live.

I talk a lot about AA, the 12 Steps, and the fellowship as it is integral part of my story. I criticize and infantilize then I come full circle and eulogize. AA is imperfect just like humans and I think that is its draw, at least I think that’s what draws me in.

I’m not sure how to tell my story I have written hundreds of pages over the last three years but they all have different perspectives. My first awakening the day I decided to get sober was followed by another and another and so my story changes. I think that is what is so freaking cool about the self actualization process, we get to write and rewrite our own stories, we get to decide the impact of the events of our lives.

The longer I am in recovery the impact of the past changes, my story rewrites itself. This is how I travel. I write a lot and my writing comes from my experiences and how I perceive these experiences.

I do not wish to push my views or beliefs on anyone. If you are reading this my hopes is that you will simply see that we are all travelers in our own realities. I hope that in sharing my insights from my travels you will begin to trust your path and determine your own reality.

So back to the topic at hand. When I joined the spiritual women’s group I was in a place of seeking. I was seeking a collective that was different than AA. One where the main context wasn’t always about - not drinking - (I am way past that). A support system of sorts where I could continue to travel my spiritual path side by side with other women traveling their own. I had come to a fork in the road and I chose to follow the path that I thought would lead to connection, love, and spiritual openness.

At first this path was filled with light and unique individual creativity. I truly thought I had found the collective of women who mirrored my souls purpose. Well it didn’t turn out that way. I had expectations and was sorely let down. Not by the collective but by the “leader”. She is lost in ego, and I now recognize that, I have been there, we all go there sometimes.

I will be fully transparent I have been observing this group from a distance since I left two months ago. About a week ago I finally I got the courage up to tell my story, to release it. This was therapeutic in its own right. To my surprise many people read it, and many people commented. I felt incredibility validated, it felt good, and I was going to leave it at that.

Then one women reached out in private message. Her story touched my heart, she was a kindred soul just trying to find love on this crazy journey of life. She had been through much adversity and the woman from this group emotionally abused her. I am a justice seeker, and I felt that this woman and future women deserved justice. My desires for justice are strong, uncontrollable at times, I couldn’t just do nothing.

So I sent a warning to the top fifteen most active women in the group. I told the truth of the pain their “leader” caused and was unwilling to take accountability for. I shared my concern that she may do it to one of them. I didn’t do it perfectly but I tried my best to expose what this woman was trying so desperately to hide.

Many of the women responded with appreciation to my warning. One women retaliated, she said I was harassing their leader and that I was being vengeful and toxic. This hurt, I went inside myself, I questioned my intent over and over. Was I just trying to get back at a women who was mean to me? Was I actually the toxic one? Was this just a mean girls game?

During the next few days I contemplated this, I was depressed with the idea that I could have hurt other women by exposing the truth. Was it necessary, was it kind?

Though I was not part of the group any longer and could not post or comment I could still read what the other women posted. I realize some will say this is vouryeristic and probably toxic to my own wellbeing. I will be the first to say that it was. I tussled with the unkind things some of the women said about me, someone they have never met and know nothing about.

However, what I learned by observing from the shadows is that this woman painted a picture of me that was of her own making, she created a monster. She continued to manipulate the other women by hiding the reality of the situation. I felt like a failure like I didn’t help anyone and certainly not myself.

She claimed someone else in the group shared some of the women’s private emails (I do not even have anyones emails). I don’t understand what her intent was with this, to me it is a bold face lie.

She claimed I was not “awake” insinuating I was not enlightened enough to know right from wrong. That I was projecting my own insecurities on her and the group. She called me a liar. She insinuated that she has “gifts” that I or most other women do not. She tried to make others believe I was the enemy. She tried to define my dignity and worth as a women as a human being.

And here is where I come to the resolve. I continued to read the messages over and over again. Was this who I was? I was going down a rabbit hole, I was beginning to believe this women’s words. I sat behind the scenes and let this women tell me who I was.

But then something happened. She made her own bed, she did exactly what I was warning the others about right there in front of everyone. She gaslit and humiliated a member of her group. Right in the very place that she was trying to steel my dignity she exposed her humanity. And my heart sank. She was just like me, you, and anyone else on this planet. She was not any better than the rest of us, and I am not any better than her.

It’s all relative folks. I was seeking acceptance, belongingness, and love. And in the end I got everything my heart desired. I accept myself and affirm my own dignity, I don’t need someone else to do that for me. I know for certain that I belong to the human race, I feel closer to my fellows than I have ever before. And most importantly - love is an action - I know this but sometimes I have to be reminded. Love isn’t something we seek, it’s something we give.

I am rich with love, I know this, and those that accept my love know this as well. I have made a decision to stop seeking and start living. Everything we need is inside us, we don’t need to find it we just need to uncover it, if we have the courage to do so. We all need to know what supports us when nothing supports us.

Love and forgiveness are the two most important practices on my spiritual journey. May love always be my intent, and may I forgive my self and others for our undeniable humanness.

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