Hero, Victim, Martyr I’ve Been

The couple of months before my sober anniversary, I’m usually intensely introspective and reflective. Oft it leads to a degree of self-shaming as I remember weekends and weeks lost to alcohol binges, letting my family down, especially the worry that I know that I caused, the possibilities of a career that at times seems as though it fell short, and more.

All of those dark times, I wore many a mask and played many a part. Hero. Victim. Martyr. Shape-shifting my days, trying desperately to be who and what I thought you needed me to be. Probably the most insidious of these was the mask for I’m okay.

Now, I still reflect, but it’s not intense. It’s softer, gentler, loving and kind. I see my past as simply part of my journey that has brought me here. I see my life today, not as one riddled by what many call character defects that need to be extracted like a rotten tooth. Rather they are simply aspects of me then and now that sober, have helped me become a better me. A human being perfectly imperfect, living my life as best I can.

Hero, Victim, Martyr I’ve Been

I’ve been
Tales of triumph
Epics of woe
A sacrificial lamb
These and more
Have I been
Times a trickster
A shapeshifter
I may be
Walking in shadows
And dancing in light
To all of these
I humbly bow

About the Author

Robert B. is a sober alcoholic in Madison, WI participating in AA and AlAnon at Fitchburg Serenity Club. He has been sober since April 21, 2007. He also began writing and sharing poetry on Facebook during his first year sober as part of his recovery from alcohol dependency, acute anxiety and chronic depression. He has found that creativity expressed primarily through writing poetry and playing various stringed instruments helped him heal and thrive.

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1 year ago

Hi, Robert I absolutely related to your prose and poetry here. Through the ten years I have of sobriety I too have slowly shed the shame veil. There are so many different journeys in recovery–after 29 years of heavy drinking, wearing the mask of “I’m okay” and the mind games that go with that; in recovering I have been off the beaten path into martyrdom, victimhood, delusion, and manipulation, etc…Slowly, but surely I came full-circle and have found the path that works for me–the journey through the wonders of my life (finally) well lived. Thanks for your “better you”. Stay… Read more »

Robert B
Robert B
1 year ago
Reply to  Josie

Thank you Josie. I know that much like in a meeting when I share what is truly in my heart, when I share here, it makes things visible to me, even sober for a while now, things that I’m quite adept at hiding from myself. Ultimately, like now, reading your comments, that I am not alone. 🙏