My Biggest Challenge To Sobriety Yet


For as long as I can remember I’ve loved talking and listening to people.

When I was little, the adults in my life were often worried about letting me go on school field trips, because I never met anyone that was a stranger.


As I grew into my teenage years, I only became more friendly. In high school I was never quite able to find my "thing". I didn't play sports or an instrument, and I wasn't into theater. But, I quickly realized that it was easy for me to make friends by asking good questions and genuinely listening to others.


As I got older I continued to make friends everywhere I went. My ability to connect with others gave me purpose and confidence.


When I graduated from high school, I thought I’d take this skill set and use it to become a journalist. It seemed like the perfect fit. I was great at getting people to share their stories with me and I was extremely curious about everything.


I graduated in 2012 and had a hard time finding a job, so I didn’t end up becoming a journalist. However, I used the skills I learned to begin a career in marketing and communications.


After a decade spent in the world of social media I started to feel burnt out. It was hard to keep up with all the changes. I decided to apply to grad school. I wanted to become a licensed mental health counselor.


So, this summer I worked hard at putting together my application and I submitted it this August. A few days ago, I found out that I wasn’t accepted into the program, and I was crushed. I felt so many things- disappointment, anger, shame, sadness, and fear.


I thought that becoming a therapist was the perfect career for me. If I’m being honest, I’ve felt lost my entire life. I’ve never felt like I had a “thing” ya know? I was ready to become a therapist and use my past traumas to help others.


I got sober in 2020 and worked so hard, and learned a lot, I was excited to share all of that with others.


It’s been a few days since I found out, and I’m still working through all of my feelings. The two biggest feelings I’m struggling with are disappointment, and shame.


Disappointment:

I had my heart set on going to grad school. That was my plan. I was SO excited to dive into classes and start learning. Through this experience I've learned that a big part of my disappointment is coming from my expectations. I tried hard to manage my expectations, but deep inside I really thought I'd be accepted to grad school, so when I was rejected I was shocked.


I'm also disappointed in myself. I've had so many thoughts about things I did wrong in the application process. I've also been mad at myself for not having a higher undergraduate GPA.


Shame:

Shame is also a BIG feeling I’m wrestling with. Being rejected from grad school is making me question how smart and capable I am. I’ve told so many people about my dream to become a therapist and now, I have to go back and tell them I wasn’t accepted.


I've also had a lot of jobs in the past, and in a way I thought that if I was accepted to grad school this would somehow make up for all of that. I'd finally have my "thing." All of the people in my life seem to have so much more figured out at this point in their lives. I'm 32, and still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.


I don’t know how to handle these emotions. They are strong and have been with me for days. When I wake up, I’m struck with the reminder that I won’t be going to grad school this spring.

Grief and Anger:

I'm not feeling these two as prominently as the others but they are there nonetheless. I'm sad that I won't be entering grad school this spring. I'm sad that this next year won't look the way I wanted it to.


I'm also just fucking angry. I don't want to sound like I am complaining, but nothing in my life has ever come easily. I've struggled with almost everything, and to be honest, I'm just tired. I wanted to apply and get in. Sobriety:

I’m 681 days sober, and this is the biggest disappointment I’ve experienced in my sobriety journey. For a few seconds I pondered having a drink. That was the first day when I was feeling my lowest. Everything felt hopeless. I couldn’t see a clear future.


The thought didn’t last long, and I am far enough in recovery to know that drinking would make everything worse.


I’m trying to look at this rejection as an opportunity, a chance to do some deep soul searching, praying and self-exploration.


I do feel better even after writing this small blog. It somehow gives purpose to the pain I am experiencing. It helps me feel less alone, so if you've read this far I'm glad you're here.


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