and my silence will benefit no one.It's that simple.
I spent years simply taking up space on this planet; existing and sucking, not offering anything. I took a trip (many, actually) to the dark side and lived to tell the stories. I’m convinced the reason I lived through these hellish, shameful and sickening situations - any one of which could have killed me - is to show others that they aren't alone.
Recently on Radio Rehab, my guest co-host was Matt H. Remarkably, Matt got sober in prison and went on to lend a sober hand to other inmates once he was released. He told me he often feels afraid after making an intensely personal, open and honest blog entry. Like maybe he revealed too much and people will judge him. I feel that way after 50% of my Radio Rehab recordings. My nickname has been "Show My Ass Merr" for a long time. I figure I might as well show my ass in a helpful way.
So many of us have had very public relapses and/or very public drinking and using careers. A couple weekends ago, Producer Char and I attended the Road to Recovery event sponsored by the Center for Open Recovery here in San Francisco. Mackenzie Phillips, one of the main speakers, brought up an illuminating idea: if my relapses have been made public, then I should be allowed to recover in public. Recovering "out loud" is the only way we can help others, sharing our struggles, our successes. our stumbles, our successes.
I respect all the traditions and I don't plan on breaking them. I understand it's not acceptable to publicly announce that I am part of a specific group. I love that specific group and would not be sober today without out it. That said, it is not written anywhere, nor is it helpful to anyone, that I keep it a secret that I am a recovering addict and alcoholic. That secret is the reason I was able to start drinking again when my father passed away. And it nearly killed me.
I wholeheartedly respect a person's right to privacy; I would never out anyone. There are many people who
will never be on my show due to a deep-seated fear of being judged for past behaviors. I respect their feelings. However, it is my belief that we should be judged on what we’re out there doing today, not our past mistakes. Actually, I don't think we should be judged at all...but hey, shit happens.
When I was strung out and on the streets, I looked around at how godawful bad things had gotten, shocked at how quickly they had gotten that way. I thought, If I make it out of this alive, I'm going to get honest and help someone else know that they aren't as alone as I feel right now. And if I can do that one thing, I have served my purpose.
I hope this helps someone.
You can hear Dayna's Radio Rehab Show on iTunes & Stitcher Radio: