Just after I was ‘accepted’ into The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober group on Facebook, I was unceremoniously deleted from the same. Although they claim that all viewpoints are welcome, apparently that doesn’t apply to ones that are not presented in such a way as to promote harmony. Apparently, and I knew this when I posted it, a viewpoint that goes against the mainstream, is a viewpoint that receives swift retribution.
Let me illuminate you. Posts from the group inundated my newsfeed, and I started noticing a perturbing trend. Folks were playing around with their sobriety date; for me the Holy Grail of my recovery. I’ll explain that in a moment. The post that finally got me to post something was from a woman who did some creative math with her sobriety date.
She opined that, having had 50 days sobriety, she actually was on a new day 38. This was because, she reasoned, she had “lapsed” (relapsed) recently for 12 days. And, as you might expect from the folks at The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, the support for her newfound sobriety was effusive.
I should have left well alone. I did not respond to her, or any of the others playing rubber band with their so-called sobriety dates, I posted a fresh thread. I can’t recall the exact thread because I was deleted for it. Basically, I rather pointedly expressed the idea that a sobriety date is not Original Sobriety Date – Days Using = New Sobriety Date. I pointed out that the Sobriety Date = Date Since Last Use. I pointed out that the Sobriety Date is quite linear, and that those who practice this method are fooling themselves; and perhaps using this method to justify relapses. Oh, sorry, “lapses.”
At the end of the post, I specifically stated that this was, in a sense, my version of Tough Love. That, for some of us, the sobriety date is sacred ground; it’s not everything to our recovery, but it’s a measurement of time that is a point of pride for those of us who know better than to fuck with having even 1 drink. I also remember specifically stating: You do not have to like this viewpoint. You do not have to agree with this viewpoint. It’s just my opinion. Well, dear readers, a shit-show ensued. There was no Unexpected Joy of Being Sober. Oh no. I was lambasted well and thoroughly.
Of course, being who I am, I danced toe-to-toe with many of them for a good while. The “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” militia came out in droves. I was called names. Folks were asking me how could I be so callous, what gave me the right to dictate someone’s journey, my post was an example of hubris, I was a pompous ass, this isn’t the forum for these kinds of posts. On and on it went. After awhile I got bored, and my wife was getting pissed at me (rightfully so, I might add) for ‘fighting’ with these people–I for one, like a good fight–but I did finally delete the post without fanfare.
Admittedly I knew the post was going to piss some people off. So what? Isn’t that what a forum is for? What has happened to the ability for folks to have healthy debates? Whether or not I presented my opinion in the manner which others deemed ‘acceptable’ is a moot point: I said as much to one commenter, when she told me I ought to have written it more from the ‘I’ point of view, rather than the ‘you’ point of view. I told her I would write and express my personal opinions the way I wanted to. I further explained to others that their reactions were just opinions too.
I am proud of the fact that I did not shred folks too badly. The old Rob would have really engaged in unruly name-calling, sarcasm, and venom. Well, to be honest, I did send some images of Kleenex boxes to some commenters. I also did, now that I think of it, make a comment that it was only a matter of time before the “karen’s” showed up. But, overall, I am proud of the fact that I held the line until the assault got too vast and my wife had had enough of me with my face buried in my phone. So I simply deleted the post. But not before I noticed a whole bunch of commenters referring my name to the admins; thus I was deleted.
I was disgusted and aggravated to the point that, my normal attitude was soured until I got a grip with mindfulness. I knew from the onset that my opinion would not be popular. I just didn’t expect the surge of venom and disdain that followed. I received a lot of unhappy emojis. I don’t care that only a few folks agreed with my position; it wasn’t the purpose of the post. The purpose of my post was about what I viewed the entire purpose of a sobriety date to be. I do confess to knowing beforehand, that this post was a tad passive-aggressive, that it would ruffle more than a few feathers; does that make me a bad person?
I wonder how many people in sobriety actually post how long they have been in recovery, or sober? It has to be in the 90+ percentile, wouldn’t you say? I say, if you are going to use a sobriety date, use the one that is the date after the last time you had a drink. I told one woman who said that she had been sober for 6 months, consciously decided to have ONE drink at a friends wedding (for some of us 1 drink can be fatal), then was sober for 6 more months, that I would never get up in front of my peers and collect a 1 year medallion if it were me.
Maybe that’s why I have 52 months clean time? I dunno. Maybe I was too hard on these folks. Or, just maybe I was trying to get through to some of those folks with a dose of reality; even if it were just MY reality, even if I presented it like it should be everyone’s. Regardless, the admins were spineless to simply delete me for stating a strong opinion. It was not directed at an individual, it was not a direct attack on anyone at all. There is SO MUCH more I could comment on regarding censorship, society, the milieu surrounding recovery, forums, yada yada yada (think, Elaine!)
But I should know by now to Live and Let Live. Imagine had I stated my opinions on relapse and so-called ‘triggers.’ I’d be swinging from a tree in backwoods Kentucky by nightfall.