Day 63, and I've been thinking about the saying 'people in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones' or, in other words, don't judge others unless you yourself are blameless. And, let's face it, who can honestly claim that?
It's odd how supportive we 'struggling sobers' are of each other, how non judgmental, when, as problems drinkers, so many of us were totally the opposite.
Looking down on others is a major piece of weaponry in the wine witch armoury. Like the classic Monty Python sketch on class where "I look down on him because I am upper class, and he is middle class" and "I look down on him because I am middle class, and he is working class", we all like to have someone who can convince us that we are not at the bottom of the pile.
In our world, the expensive wine drinker looks down on the cheap shot drinker. The cheap shot drinker looks down on the strong cider drinker. The strong cider drinker looks down on the meths drinker. The meths drinker looks down on the crack cocaine head. And so on...
We judge others in order to tell ourselves that that is what a real problem looks like. Not what we have. Oh no. Carry on drinking!
I, a classic 'maintenance drinker', would look at the 'binge drinker' and think "look at them with their blackouts and their embarrassing behaviour! Thank goodness I don't have a problem, ho ho." Meanwhile they would look at me and think "Look at SM with her daily drinking habit. And she even drinks at lunch time several times a week! I only drink at weekends. Thank goodness I don't have a problem, ho ho."
Obviously, we both have 'a problem', it's just that the (relatively small) variations allow judgement and denial to skip merrily into our thought processes hand in hand and make themselves a home there.
Think back. Have you ever felt a vicarious thrill when you've heard a friend discussing someone else's drink problem? I'm ashamed to admit that I have. I've even joined in! "Yes, wasn't so-and-sos behaviour terrible the other night? They really need to do something about their drinking. Can you pass that bottle over, please?"
It strikes me now that, once you start the process of being judgemental, it's difficult to stop.
I was horrified when I first had a baby at how judgemental mothers are of each other. "I may not feed my child solely on organics, but at least I don't give her chocolate like x and y do." Or maybe "I might have gone straight back to work after #1 was born, but at least I use a nanny who speaks English, unlike a and b." And so it goes on, as if we can only make ourselves feel better if we believe someone else is worse.
For me, one of the major revelations about getting sober is that I have suddenly become almost completely non judgemental. Having now realised quite what a (hidden) mess my own life was, I look at people who I might have judged previously with compassion. I know that nobody is perfect, that everyone has their secrets and their demons. We're all just muddling along as best we can.
Now I genuinely like a huge number of people an awful lot more than I used to. I'm interested in them, their lives, and what makes them tick. I smile at traffic wardens. I let people in from side turnings when I'm driving (unheard of in central London). I buy dishcloths from unemployed doorstop sellers. Maybe I have, finally, become nice. Or, at least, nicer.
I still worry a lot about people judging me when I (finally) confess to my alcohol issue. I have to keep reminding myself that those who do are, most probably, those who haven't yet confronted their own problems.
There's a great saying we should all have tattooed on our hearts: Judging a person does not define who they are....it defines who you are.
Mummywasasecretdrinker is an entirely judgement free zone.