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Baggage Claim

June 30, 2010

By the time we reach the age of 40, most all of us have a good amount of baggage from our past. Some of us have a lot while others have only a small amount. Well, I’m on the heavier side of that fence. As a recovering addict, my baggage tends to be not only heavier but a little scarier than others. At times, I would rather not even claim it. I want to simply walk away and abandon it,  leaving  it to circle eternally around and around on the luggage belt in some deserted airport without an identity tag. If only this were an option! Instead, I drag this heavy crap around with me everywhere I go. It’s exhausting.

Luckily, I do not have to share the contents of my baggage with just anyone. Everything is hidden away in special compartments; zipped up and locked down. It is only accessible to the general public anonymously because I choose to share it in this blog. However, there are certain people I allow to unlock the baggage and take a peek within. Sometimes I even let them rummage through it; picking and choosing items I had forgotten even existed. It all depends on my comfort level in our relationship, who you are and what you mean to me. Thus, “new” friends do not usually even know I’m carrying this baggage around.

So when do you begin to share the contents of your baggage? For example, I just started dating a guy. We’ve been out a few times and appear to be extremely compatible. He is starting to share more and more about his past and in return, I’m certain he anticipates I will also. But I haven’t. I don’t have a “normal” past and I don’t want to scare him off. At what point does a recovering addict reveal their past to potential boyfriends/girlfriends? If I tell him too soon, he’s sure to run. On the flip side, if I tell him too late, I might come across as deceiving. Should I even reveal this part about me at all? Considering that there are other indicators in my life which lead to questions of my past, I see no other choice but to divulge this information. So the question is not “if” but “when” should this information be shared.

After deciding the “when” part, the next step would be deciding “how” to present this revelation about myself. I cannot imagine the conversation flowing smoothing toward addiction. Perhaps this is a case in which sugar-coating is a necessity. Nonetheless, a sugar-coated addict is going to taste bad even if I add whip cream on the top. But will it be a deal breaker? Haven’t we all had challenges in our life? Don’t we all have regrets? I think what I am asking myself and others is….. Even with all my baggage as a former addict and now a recovering addict, am I wife material? Or will forever sleep alone, just me and my baggage.

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85 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2010 2:54 pm

    I think if there’s a strong connection you’ll know when you’re ready to tell him AND when he’s ready to know. But I wouldn’t wait too long or it will seem a little tricky.
    http://www.denwrites.com

    • July 1, 2010 5:23 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I really appreciate it. I’m a reader of your blog and always enjoy your posts, especially the old photographs. Love how you get your inspiration for writing from them. 🙂

  2. June 30, 2010 3:04 pm

    First, congratulations on your recovery! I can’t imagine how hard it must be, but you’re an inspiration to those suffering with the safe addictions.

    I guess when it comes to revealling your turmoiled past, it really depends on the type of person you think this guy is. But there can be no good that comes from hiding this for even longer than is necessary. If he can’t take it, let him go. You don’t need negativity in your recovery

  3. melilysa permalink
    June 30, 2010 3:12 pm

    what a good metaphor, especially loved the part about abandoning your luggage without an identity tag… Moving post!

  4. June 30, 2010 3:18 pm

    Everyone has a past. Some worse then others,nonetheless a past.

    I think you should say it as soon as you are sure ,this is a person you want to grow with.

    I can’t guarantee that he will just accept it and that’s it, but if this person is the right one for you,he will not run.

    Otherwise you just jump back on the horse, baggage and all.

    Congrats on making something out of your life !

    • July 1, 2010 10:21 am

      Hi lostbutfound, its interesting i find you here. At first i thought your chosen user name was same as mine. It was interesting to see some similarities between our blogs. I would like to invite you to look at the Lost and Found. http://www.lostandfoundstories.wordpress.com

      very best wishes.

      PS what a great post by the way!

  5. cyn permalink
    June 30, 2010 3:27 pm

    I admire your honesty. As a person with “past” I too have struggled over whom I should share with and just how much to share. Consequently, there are many people in my life who know a few things, and only a few people who know many things. And, there are only 2 people who know everything – Jesus and my husband. I determined that if I were to ever have an intimate relationship with someone, they would have to be able to accept my past, as I knew it would determine much of my thinking and reacting for the rest of my life, and it would be grossly unfair for that person to always wonder why I thought, behaved or reacted as I do. Once I learned that Jesus would accept me exactly as I am with all of my baggage, I began to pray that He would connect me with someone who would do the same. He did.
    We have enjoyed 18 years of marriage, and plan to enjoy many more.
    Neither of us are perfect – who is?- and we have embraced one another’s past as part of what has made us who we are today.
    I believe that when someone recognizes and admits their brokenness (regardless of the level or severity) it makes them humble, more accepting, and more patient. If someone cannot admit brokenness in some area of life, the they probably are unable to accept anyone else’s. So if the person you are in relationship with is an honest, humble person, then they are probably a good candidate for sharing openly about your past.
    I am afirm believer that he who has been forgive much will love much – as explained by Jesus and recorded by Luke in the Bible –
    Luke 7:36-50. This story is about me! Check it out!
    Blessings to you as you move along lifes path toward healing!

    • July 1, 2010 5:32 pm

      Thank you so much for your honest & sincere words :), they are truly appreciated. I think it’s awesome that you are celebrating 18 years of marriage. I pray I can be as open and honest with someone who accepts me and all my shortcomings too. God Bless you and your family and please stop by for another visit 🙂

  6. June 30, 2010 3:32 pm

    I feel for your situation. I too have addiction in my past and I know what you mean about not wanting everyone to know. I am wondering how long it’s been since you stopped. To me, that has made a big difference on when I tell people my story. It’s been long enough now that I can see it with perspective and I’m able to share my story that way. Not with whip cream on top, but through the eyes of perspective that can only be gained with time.

    No matter what you have done in your past, it’s back there. There will probably even come a time when you CAN leave your bag to twirl and twirl around no that belt forever. Maybe that day is tomorrow and maybe it’s years from now.

    What has helped me, is to share my past with the people who mean the most to me. If this new guy is going to mean the world to you someday, he needs to know. Because ultimately marriage is about being 100% yourself with the person you are with. It’s never to early to start with being your real self.

    Sorry abut the ramblings, I wish you luck!

  7. June 30, 2010 3:33 pm

    I’ve been with my husband for 18 years and I still won’t share all my baggage.

  8. June 30, 2010 3:36 pm

    This is an amazing testimony! Yes, someone will absolutely want you!!!! Don’t even allow yourself to think that you will be by yourself for one minute. Be encouraged 🙂 You have a great, clean, sober, happy future ahead 🙂 With God all things are possible.

  9. June 30, 2010 3:36 pm

    i think you reach a certain point in life where everybody knows youhave “baggage”…

    share it…if he is the one you are to be with not only will he understand…but he will help you carry it…

    thank you for sharing it and allowing us to lighten your load…

    hope
    http://hopelesslycrushingonyou.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/i-blogged-in-your-zone-do-you-validate/

  10. June 30, 2010 3:39 pm

    you need to tell him, but when you are ready. After you let him know, the ball is in his court. The key is that you are “recovering” meaning you’ve acknowledged you’d had this problem and are changing for the better.

    I’ve dated girls in the past with similar “baggage” as you say and some came out with it right away and others waited. Never did it turn me off if i was really into the girl. Basically i’d ask, “well are you ok now?” and if they said yes and i could see the sincerity in their eyes, it was a nonissue.

    The last man that was perfect was hung from a cross, remember that.

  11. June 30, 2010 3:39 pm

    If this is something that you want to divulge with your potential partner before the relationship becomes ‘too’ serious, it might be wise to INTEND that the perfect scenario arises for you to tell ’em. Furthermore, it also might be wise to imagine yourself telling ’em and his reaction is one of relief, joy, happiness, etc. because you were willing to share something so sacred to you.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

  12. June 30, 2010 3:56 pm

    Congrats on your recovery! I don’t know the details of your sordid past, but I assure you, everyone has something in their closet their ashamed of, or embarrassed of or afraid to tell. Even the most normal and put together people. It’s all relative. For me, sharing those past secrets is easier when I’ve made peace with them. There’s no reason to be ashamed of the person I am today, even if moments of my past life were not so shining. If you approach this new person with a ‘secret’ you’re hiding, he might pick up on it, and you’re feelings attached to it. Making it all a big deal, like you have to confess all your wrong-doings may make it all a bit over-dramatic and unnecessary. But if you let your story reveal itself naturally as the intimacy develops and you remain confident in your life now, you may find it’s not a big deal to him. Be true to who you are.

  13. June 30, 2010 4:15 pm

    This topic (baggage) has been on my mind a lot lately, as I try to reconcile my past with moving forward. Although my baggage is different from yours, it’s still heavy and awkward, and I’m tired of lugging it everywhere. I have a great quote (currently on my blog homepage) from one of my favorite writers that helped me put it in perspective:

    “”The total history of almost anyone would shock almost everyone.”
    ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

    Best wishes on handling your baggage, and your new relationship. It’s hard opening up like that, but I’ve found that the people who can handle it are the ones worth having in your life.

    • June 30, 2010 4:25 pm

      Thank you for your comment and I absolutely adore the quote! I’m thinking I might need to read that book. Wishing you a future with a lighter load too 🙂

  14. June 30, 2010 4:23 pm

    As a gay male, I seem to refer everything to a musical at some point.

    To this post I shall quote Rent:

    “No one’s perfect. I’ve got baggage.
    Life’s too short, babe, time is flying.
    I’m looking for baggage that goes with mine.”

    I love the idea that everyone has baggage. If you don’t it means you haven’t had any type of life. Baggage doesn’t necessarily mean a negative, you should be able to share positive baggage too. If your baggage, or at least your understanding and acceptance of each others baggage, is there. It will work out well.

    No one has empty baggage, otherwise it would be called a bag.

    xx Action Wolfe
    actionwolfe.blogspot.com

  15. June 30, 2010 4:43 pm

    This was really moving. I don’t claim to know how you feel, but though I’m only 14 I already feel that I’ve got ‘baggage’, things I haven’t told my parents that I should have done.

    There’s no more advice I can offer that people haven’t already said — all I can say is this:

    “If people don’t accept you for who you are, don’t change who you are. Wait for them to change who they are, and come running back to you with apologies on their lips.”

  16. June 30, 2010 4:51 pm

    You are brave enough to speak about your journey here and it seems to me that you are striving to let in the light by being open about your past. As you grow more comfortable with yourself (post recovery) and establish more healthy feelings of self-esteem about yourself, you will realize that all of the things that you have been through and how you survived them are what have made you the lovable person you are today.

    As the daughter of an alcoholic, I have watched first hand as my father’s feelings of inadequacy completely dismantled his life. This is often the pattern of an addict, the self-loathing becomes so great you have to do something to “check-out” or “escape” those feelings, the using then, in turn, reinforces the self-hatred. No doubt you know this cycle better than I BUT you should be feeling good about yourself right now. Look at what you have accomplished — addiction, is no walk in the park — many never get free or like my father, die before they ever really try.

    Having the courage to be honest about who you are can be tough for anyone (addict r not) because of fear of judgment but just as your mama may have told you back in the day, “Just be yourself. If they can’t accept you and like you for who you are, then they were never really your friends anyway.”

    Be assured, that by our mid 30’s to 40’s we’ve all been through the wringer. Life is about the journey and character is what you do with the circumstances that you were dealt. Once you know better, you do better and that is what you are doing. Trust that when you do feel comfortable to share yourself with someone, that they will respond with respect, kindness and understanding. We all have our skeletons — it’s what makes us human and empathetic.

    Best of luck and congratulations on your sobriety and courage!

    Here’s a poem I wrote years ago about this. I hope it inspires you:

    TITLE: Driftwood

    Life’s journey is often filled with obstacles
    Large or small they test who we are
    Like a piece of driftwood we are shaped by these challenges
    Forever changed by the imprint they leave on our souls
    Smooth or ragged pitted or flat
    What is left behind when it’s all over
    Is in the eye of the beholder
    It’s what you do with what is left and how you examine your journey
    To discover yourself-Truly
    We must have these obstacles
    In order to change a simple plank of wood into a thing of beauty

    http://www.play-onwords.com

    • June 30, 2010 5:03 pm

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. It is inspirational to read all of these wonderful comments I am receiving! Although I have not been able to respond to each and everyone of them yet, I am reading them 🙂

      I love the poem 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing it with me. It’s just what I needed to hear at this moment in my life 🙂

  17. kive87 permalink
    June 30, 2010 5:06 pm

    I loved the analogy!

    On the bright side he might find your “baggage” interesting…

  18. Jessica permalink
    June 30, 2010 5:24 pm

    I am the same way you are. I keep my baggage held tight and stuffed somewhere (my bra or dresser drawer perhaps). As far as baggage goes, that’s just an additional risk that’s included in relationships. I think you’ll know when it is the right time to tell him.

  19. June 30, 2010 5:40 pm

    It’s best to come clean when you feel the time is right. Just like we all have more baggage than others, I believe we all know when the time is right to divulge the information that is pertinent to share. There’s no need to come clean on every single dirty deed…take one admission at a time.

    Great post.

  20. June 30, 2010 6:26 pm

    Great post! I really like the beginning of your post.

    I waited a little too long to tell my boyfriend some of my past, and now I feel like I’m playing catch up. I definitely don’t recommend that way.

    I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

  21. June 30, 2010 6:47 pm

    Hey,
    This blog really touched close to home. I have been in the same dilemma, about revealing a painful fact about myself, and worried myself sick. We are always the hardest on ourselves, it seems, because people are a lot more accepting than we think.

    I have to say though, that there is far worse information/secrets to drop on someone than being a recovering addict. For you to so candidly share this fact about yourself speaks volumes.

    As far as how to go about it… there will be plenty of opportunities. Whenever it feels right. Your addiction and recovery illustrates growth, self-awareness, resiliency, and strength of character. Your past drug addiction does not define who you are. It was an experience, and feeling guilty about it will only keep you in an addict state of mind.

  22. June 30, 2010 6:53 pm

    I loved this blog post of yours. I really like how you wrote and described carrying our baggage. I couldn’t agree more. All of us have baggage we would like to hide. At least that’s what I think. Although I haven’t been through the same things, I have similar fears of sleeping with my baggage alone. I think it’s important in any relationship to be honest, although I’ve never been in any relationship myself. I wish I could give you more advice! All the best luck to you.

  23. June 30, 2010 7:04 pm

    Hello ‘one pill’,
    I really like your post. I am new here and really struggling to figure things out.
    I ‘liked’ your post 🙂 But how does one follow ? (there are just way too many choices, it is irritating, like having 45 different types of mayo to chose from !)
    anyway…. could you please find me and tell me like I am 2 years old, ‘how to follow’ a blog?
    thank you

  24. June 30, 2010 7:06 pm

    I think it’s very nice to be an interesting news
    http://theidiotgame.com source

  25. barrymanana permalink
    June 30, 2010 7:06 pm

    Bladdy hell!

    I nip off for a week to Tenerife, and my baggage ends up in Venice! It actually had a better time than I did.

    Hey! You wrote a nice blog! It’s not what you pack, it’s how you unpack it. All the best for the unfolding future.

    PS. I think I might be more of a ‘hand-luggage’ person.

  26. June 30, 2010 7:08 pm

    Never mind 🙂 thank you anyway…. I found it ! (that always happens… I throw a tantrum, pull my hair out and finally ask, only to discover the answer within a minute or so ! aurghhh !)
    ps…Yall Rock ! Nice to be here !

  27. June 30, 2010 7:55 pm

    Put it out there. When you’re pretty sure he’s into you, just come out with it. I hate to be cliche, but “It’s better to be hated for what you are, than to be loved for what you are not…” Yes, everyone has baggage. If he wants to let your perceived bigger baggage dwarf his and run him off, then he was just looking for an excuse to get out all along. Whatever you choose, best of luck. And I love the blog 🙂

  28. June 30, 2010 7:57 pm

    As previous posters say we all have have baggage. And as one talk show host smartly remarks,”we wouldn’t worry so much about what people are thinking about us if we realized how little they are doing it.”
    Drug addiction is common today, the fact that you are on the other side, recovering is in your favor. If the guy is worth anything he won’t flinch when you tell him.
    Yeah I spent all my dough on online pharmacies man I was screwed up thank God I got that under control so what’s your story?There it’s out. Make it not a “big Deal”.
    He probably has his own story to share or not. Probably slept with his high school basketball coach with 3 other guys but he’s so over that and totally straight and never ever thinks about it.
    We all have our grimy little messes. That’s life honey, you are okay.
    Cheers,
    gmom
    Don’t worry.

  29. June 30, 2010 8:45 pm

    You are brave and strong. I like the saying, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”. I also liked BarryManana’s comment “it’s how you unpack”. EVERYONE has baggage and truly, the ground is level. Consider, also, that this guy has his own baggage that you don’t know about yet. Please don’t be scared of your past because it is behind you. And you will not be alone. Really!

  30. June 30, 2010 9:12 pm

    All I can say is…aahhhh
    I like your writing,and sometimes only read the first line or two,but you got me.
    “Really enjoyed” Baggage claim so much!
    🙂
    Peace,
    Laz

  31. June 30, 2010 9:17 pm

    YOU are the only one who can answer that question, and, I believe that you know that. Listen to yo ur “inner voice” and you will never go wrong. Once you cross the line between plain old dating and serious dating, ask yourself…Do I “need” him to know?
    Do I “want” him to know?
    If I don’t tell him, can he find out from someone else?
    If he finds out from someone else, how will this impact our relationship?
    How does living with secrets in my past affect me as a person?
    Does he know me well enough to separate my past from my “now”?
    If you can honestly answer the above questions to yourself, you will have your answer.
    God bless & kudos to you for your remission of addiction.

  32. gangling permalink
    June 30, 2010 9:27 pm

    Wow! So many comments, I hope you will even notice mine.

    Weird feelings of ‘Dejavue’… Addiction is a very weird thing indeed. You can’t explain WHY you got into it to begin with…and you don’t, can’t, maybe sometimes even too scared, to get out of it.

    But I have been on both sides of your Current dilema… Not about the addiction tho, that came later. I was in a relationship with a recovering alcaholic, addict. I didn’t know when or how to tell her about my physical problems…but with me, it’s a bit harder to hide (at least I think so), so I had a ‘motivator’ if you can call it that.

    What you really should do? Tell him now…before it’s too late. You will have to tell him at some point or another and if he drops you now…it won’t hurt as much. If he is really into you, and believe me I speak from experience, he will do everything in his power to support you. I forgave ‘her’ time and time again when she ‘slipped up’ and drank again. I never knew tho if she ever slipped up in terms of drugs. In the end, she broke me into pieces and left me bleeding on the floor, kicking my self for having been a fool…

    But that was her… I wish you all of the best with your recovery!

    • July 1, 2010 1:08 am

      Honestly, I am loving each and every comment and thank you so much for yours! I’m sorry it didn’t work out in your relationship but thanks for the encouraging words 🙂

  33. June 30, 2010 9:41 pm

    This is a great post because many of us have dealt with a variety of issues and experiences in life that we fear sharing with people we are dating. You’ve gotten a lot of sound advice. Thankfully, you were brave enough to put it all out there, and some of these answers will help others in addition to you. Ultimately, we all get to trust ourselves.

  34. June 30, 2010 9:43 pm

    I once had a girl tell me after we broke up, that she wished I asked her more about her “baggage”. She took it as a sign I did not want to be close to her. I told her I didn’t ask because I felt it was unimportant in the present, and I trusted her to share the important stuff when she felt comfortable. Whether sharing your baggage with your significant other has a negative impact on your relationship really has to do with the nature of your relationship. I would think that any guy who cares about you really would not care about that “baggage” of the past, unless it could somehow hurt him in the long run.

  35. rhodasommer permalink
    June 30, 2010 10:31 pm

    Congrats on your recovery. Thoughtful post, I’m going to put you on my blogroll if I can figure out how on my own. I believe fortune favors the bold & honesty is the best policy in relationships. If he doesn’t understand how much you’ve acheived, give him a chance to learn about it & grow into the respect you deserve. Yes, it’s very tricky in the beginnings of things. Thanks for your terrific post. Rhoda http://www.relationshiprealities.wordpress.com

  36. June 30, 2010 10:37 pm

    Groucho Marx once said, “I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member.” That said, would you really want to get close to a guy that wouln’t accept a recovering addict as a mate. Face it, you are what you are and I for one think you ought to be damned proud of what you are. Find a way to bring it up. If your past turns him off you probably wouldn’t have a future with him anyway.

  37. June 30, 2010 10:53 pm

    If he is, in fact, a man with whom you want to share your life, then he needs to know. You could wait until he asks you to explain why you don’t do certain things, then you could use that as an opportunity to let him know.

    I’m sure he’s not going to throw you a parade for having been an addict, but you would be wrong to expect that anyway. BUT he would probably throw you a parade for recovering and getting your life back on track. How bad could his response possibly be if perfect strangers want to congratulate you?

    Who you are now is not who you were then. I’m sure you will be able to make that clear to him. Also, there’s no need to make a full disclosure about every single thing you did during the initial conversation unless you feel comfortable doing so.

  38. June 30, 2010 11:29 pm

    This is a really inspirational post! I completely echo what some of the other posters said: You’ll just know it. I have a somewhat strange family history and I find that I have to let people in in bits and pieces, letting them know a little here, a little there. Eventually, they get to know the whole me and then they either love it or leave it. And usually by the time I tell people (which sometimes takes forever), they are at the point where they’re going to love me. 🙂

  39. June 30, 2010 11:53 pm

    We each choose different paths in this life and no one is immune to creating or picking up baggage. Some of the baggage we carry is crammed with things others did to us, while other pieces are crammed with things we did to others. No one enjoys being called to the mat, either. With this in mind, though, you need to keep repeating to yourself that what’s done is done and it’s in the past.

    Today, you are a different person and have learned from your mistakes, just as many of us have. Therefore, you should not beat yourself up or be ashamed of your past actions, but rather hold your head high and when the time is right, state the facts. If he is worthy of loving you (and you are VERY worthy of love, my dear; you’re ‘wife’ material and deserve to be treated with the same dignity, respect, and love that others receive), then he will understand. If, on the other hand, he can’t handle your life experiences, then consider yourself lucky, as you could’ve ended up marrying a complete ass. Trust me on this, marrying an ass isn’t fun. 🙂

    Hope this helps with your decision making and know that I am personally grateful for reading your blog and learning from it as my family – mom, dad, sister, and grandma – are all alcoholics and you’ve given me some insight. Thank you.

  40. July 1, 2010 12:32 am

    Sometimes we have to unpack, reorganize our “essentials” and pack lightly for the trip before us…Great post!

  41. Natalya permalink
    July 1, 2010 1:24 am

    I don’t have just baggage, I have a storage area 🙂

    I am also a recovering addict, been clean for 8 years now. I am single, but have WONDERFUL friends and family who have been there and helped me along the way. To me, even though it can be shameful and people may think you are going to fall off, telling someone (such as your boyfriend) is a great thing. You will know right off if he is a good one because he will listen and not judge. He may not understand, but he will be there and want to know more. Recovering is the hardest thing to do and you need support. Holding back from him will only make it worse for you. You seem to be ashamed of your past, and I can understand because everyone is. BUT, you are becoming a better person right now! There is a reason why things are in the past and they need to stay there. Focus on your present and future – that’s the best thing you can do!

  42. elisa permalink
    July 1, 2010 1:26 am

    one can pretend to hide from oneself, just as one hid in a bar, bottle or other substance of choice….denial is denial, rationalization and a creation of a you that isn’t you seems just another sort of prison and YES it’s fraudulent, though we could justify it with pretty and nice sounding words like: everyone has a getting to know you stage where they try to impress and so on and so forth….for me this is fake and I enjoy life too much now to waste one moment in a half step(or a 13th one!)

    Good luck with your choice and Thank you for being vulnerable here. (holds up a suitcase with–caring what others think of me and hiding–passport in it)

  43. July 1, 2010 1:30 am

    I come from the other side of the fence; I’ve dated former drug addicts and have had very friendly, open relationships with them. I don’t know how much the guy you’re dating knows about addiction, but I’ve seen, read, taken classes on a lot of it, which is no comparison to actual addiction but the prior exposure to addiction hasn’t made it bother me much. There was that lingering, watchful eye I kept when certain people who used would pop up out of the blue, but for the most part, they stayed away from it. Thus, I felt no need to stress over it. The reasons we broke up were never due to drugs or addiction. Perhaps find out from him how much he knows about drugs or addiction; that may help you decide how to present the information, or may even be a way to introduce it. If he can’t handle it, too bad for him; you deserve someone who can.

    As for the “wife material,” I’m not a former addict and don’t know if I am.

    Great writing and I’m glad you’re clean.

  44. badmammy permalink
    July 1, 2010 1:36 am

    Take it from one who has been there . . . . . . you’ll know the time (not an excuse to not face it; sooner better than later) & if he runs consider yourself lucky. You are wife material. I understand your fear & know it’s easy to advise & hard to do,but, it does get better.

  45. July 1, 2010 1:55 am

    Hey, good for you on your recovery! I agree everyone does NOT need to know! YOU decide who you want to tell & when!

    Move on – – -guilt is ugly and life is TOO short!! I’ve spent too much of my time there and Thank God have moved on. Just LIVE!!

    I call all problems ISSUES and we all have many we just have to live with them adjust move them aside and MOVE ON!! I have many “SHOES” I call them! But I’m FINE!!

    Everyone DOES have a past and its YOUR past!!!

    Take Care, CHIN UP!! GOOD LUCK FOR EVER!!! CONGRATS on being Freshly Pressed. GREAT BLOG!!

    evelyngarone.wordpress.com

  46. July 1, 2010 2:30 am

    This is a beautifully written post. Why don’t you just show him this post and all of the many, many supportive comments? He can decide then if he wants to ask you more about your past or hold off until later.

  47. July 1, 2010 3:06 am

    If this guy is the “right” guy then he will be willing to listen, and he will not get scared away. The fact that he is sharing his past with you is a good sign. Just tell him that you really like him and you want him to know this about you, and then let him take the lead. You never know, he might have experienced some of the same struggles himself or with a family member or friend. People are usually more understanding than you expect. Good luck!

  48. July 1, 2010 3:09 am

    I think you should only tell him if and when you decide HE is worth it. Don’t feel like you’re obligated to shine a light on every dark corner of your life just because someone else decides they’re ready to spill their secrets. You don’t owe anything to anyone, and you are the one who gets to decide who you let in. Once he’s earned your respect and your trust, you’ll know he’s quality enough to take the good with the bad. And if for some reason he does run, screw him! You don’t want someone who can’t deal with your past and help you flourish in your recovery.

  49. cleverlittlemiss permalink
    July 1, 2010 3:12 am

    You cannot let that guilt control your life. As hard as it is to pat ourselves on the back sometimes we really need to do it more often. You should be extremely proud of your recovery because I know so many people who never bounced back and if you feel that this person is someone you could really love then they will accept every part of you. Good and Bad. As cheesy as that sounds, it is the truth.

    Good luck to you.

    K.

  50. July 1, 2010 6:19 am

    Hi! I agree with a lot of the comments on here, and especially believe that all the experiences we have – good or bad – are what make us individuals. Without our pasts, we would not be who we are today. I cannot speak from the perspective of an addict, or of someone else with deep dark secrets to tell (though, as you have said, we all have at least some baggage!), but I can tell you that, if this guy is worth your while, he won’t care about things that are in your past. Certainly, he will want to be there and help you deal with any things that you are still struggling with, and will want to support you as you face challenges in the future, but if the “scary” details of your past scare him off, then he is not worth your time.

  51. July 1, 2010 6:23 am

    Thanks for the moving post. The analogy to luggage on a conveyor belt is a powerful one – perhaps slowly but surely we can all learn to leave the luggage on the conveyor for a little longer.

    Re telling the person in your life – I am not sure about when the right time is. If we don’t tell them, surely we will be on edge because a friend or family member might casually mention something that requires a follow up explanation? You can’t be on edge waiting for the “if” such a situation occurs. I would be hurt to find out a lot later than someone I was with didn’t give me enough information to make a choice about what I wanted going forward.

    On the other hand – do we even share 100% with anyone? I know some people have said they do – but so much of what we think / do is influenced by our baggage and I am not sure we are always even aware of it all!

    I love the poem Driftwood!

  52. July 1, 2010 6:24 am

    Hi .. Its great tht you have recovered …it take courage to do so … i envy you !!! but if i were to be on your shoe i’d think i would spill d bean .. in tht way you would eventually get to know if this guy is worth it, in the sense could he accept who you are now and for what you have gone thru …

    If at all, this person turns out to be a non-supportive guy, do not give up .. there are plenty out there who are willing to share what you have gone through … so dun worry much .. spice up .. Life is too short .. so do get hold of it as much as you could .. Get rid of the baggage .. u opt to get something lighter mate !!!

    All the best in your future undertakings .

    Cheers

  53. Lulu permalink
    July 1, 2010 6:52 am

    Great blog!
    relationship is mutual, and I am not an expert in this kind of relationship thing. It’s hard sometimes to know what men are thinking.
    I always believe in 1+1 is never 1, but always 2- meaning one person becomes one couple still have two somehow different characters, because they are two different individuals.
    Everyone has the past, I think it depends on the personality of someone. Some people are really open to their couples= because being open creates close relationship, and some others think they don’t need to reveal their pasts to their couples because past is past- no need to talk about it anymore.
    All I am saying listen to your heart, and let if flow. There are a lot of things in my mind I want to share, but I don’t want to cause you another headaches.
    Good luck with everything!
    Cheers

    • July 1, 2010 8:18 am

      Thank you so much for your heart felt words. 🙂 I appreciate your sincerity and encourage you to share anything on your mind. Thanks for visiting my small slice of the blog world.. I hope you come back soon 🙂

  54. Songbird permalink
    July 1, 2010 6:53 am

    Very well written. I would say, if you are really hitting it off with this guy, after a couple of dates, you may just have to come out with it…with the good old “I have something to tell you…” there is never really any good time to introduce the subject, but remember this, if it makes him run for the hills, he was never the one for you anyway.

  55. July 1, 2010 7:39 am

    Hello. SO when I say that I am new here, I mean that I just signed on WordPress today, and this is my first comment. Ever.
    I am so glad I stopped by here. Not only do you have a great natural talent with writing, you write from the heart.

    I have been thinking about the baggage we aquire through life lately and therefore really appreciated this blog entry. I have learned, the hard way, that the past does not have to define us. It can shape us and that’s a good thing, but if we move on, we move on. And that is clearly what your testimony states.

    You have travelled a hard, yet incredible journey, which allowed you to write something of who you are today, which helps those who want to let go of the past, and move on. Thanks so much for sharing, and after reading this I find the few minutes of frustration when I signed on and didn’t comprehend a single word of wordpress lingo long forgotten! Hope my sleep deprived sentences make sense!!!!

    • July 1, 2010 8:13 am

      I am honored to be your very first comment on WP 🙂 and thank you for such encouraging and honest words. I love the name of your blog! Good luck in the blogging world and I look forward to hearing Jane Doe’s story. 🙂

  56. JFM permalink
    July 1, 2010 7:49 am

    Everyone deserves a second chance. Hope all ends well for you.

  57. elmer permalink
    July 1, 2010 7:53 am

    Its not a perfect world and I think your baggage is just one of those familiar (common actually) certainties in life. I tell you whatsoever is in that carryall, there are a lot lot scarier out there.

  58. Rob permalink
    July 1, 2010 9:12 am

    Don’t worry, it happens.

  59. catcch22 permalink
    July 1, 2010 9:38 am

    Well, I don’t have much more to add, but just wanted to Wish you All the Best in this next step of your life!

  60. July 1, 2010 11:07 am

    “Even with all my baggage as a former addict and now a recovering addict, am I wife material?”

    Just the fact, that you’re a former (!) addict deserves respect! You are not just strong enough not to get addicted, but you’re strong enough to get over it and that’s the harder one. If you two are really compatible he would show you support and respect 🙂

  61. July 1, 2010 12:11 pm

    Tell him for sure….loss is minimum..gain is maximum….fate is anyways sealed before…

  62. July 1, 2010 1:26 pm

    That’s really moving.

    And sweet. It seems you love you partner and your close friends a lot.

    You’ve got a lot of love.

  63. July 1, 2010 2:41 pm

    With a mind that can write as well as you, I have no doubts you will find a like minded individual wanting to share their life with you. Congrats on your feature, really excited for you. A sign of good things to come.

    • July 1, 2010 4:23 pm

      Thank you so much for your complimentary words of encouragement. I’m keeping my eyes on all the good things headed my way 🙂 Wishing you lots of good stuff too 🙂

  64. July 2, 2010 2:01 am

    Your post really touched a lot of people. I have a half written post about my own baggage, so when I saw your post, I had to find out what it said. My story is not the same as yours… baggage nonetheless. I am 45 and divorced 3 years from someone while never diagnosed (wouldn’t seek help) but meets every description I’ve ever read (and I’ve read them all) of a sex/internet/pornography addict. I am was his trusty codependent and still suffer with this. I too struggle with whether I will ever find anyone who would love me enough to understand/believe me. I terrified because I believe what he told me and others who tried to get him to get help which is that he had to take care of his physical needs and he was repulsed by me. My logical head knows this was/is the addiction talking because addicts will blame rather than take accountability.

    But, you have taken accountability. That is something to not only be proud of, but should be a desirable trait in a partner. That said, we have a society where most people want clean slates in the people they date. Just look at match profiles of men in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s (women too) and the profiles are littered with people announcing as a selling point of themselves as worthy dating material that they have little or no baggage. Often, profiles will also indicate that the partner they are looking for has little or no baggage themselves.

    I think this is utterly ridiculous as an expectation of anyone that has lived any kind of life. Once we get into puberty, unless we lock ourselves in a convent, we will be exposed and somehow acquire baggage. It is called living.

    But, just as the expectations for beauty in this country have become unattainable fantasies created by airbrushed, surgically enhanced, preserved, nipped/tucked and starving people on the cover of our magazines and in our movies, so has the expectation for people in mid-life to have had interesting, successful, baggage free lives. Neither of these (physical perfection or a bump free past) is a realistic expectation, but our culture has led us to believe they are.

    So, many wonderful, beautiful, brave people sit alone and feel unworthy when they measure themselves against these. The following is do what I say and not what I do sort of advice because I can believe it intellectually, but not in my heart:

    It sounds as if you believe that your boyfriend will view your battle and victory with addiction as a something that makes you broken, less desirable, flawed. It doesn’t, unless you believe that. You have led a life so far that, at times may have been challenging (as most of us have in one way or another). On balance, you have come out wiser, stronger and healthy and dare I say it… more interesting. Yes, for all that you’ve been through and come out the other side from, your story so far has colored who you are and made you more dimensional than someone who truly has little or no baggage.

    I understand why you are worried about telling him. It seems that these days perfection and not character won through true grit is what society tells us all to want. But… and I think this is the key… you have to believe that all that you’ve been through has made you a better, more interesting person who knows herself better, and is seasoned by all of what your life up until now is. If you can internalize that belief, then not only should the right guy be ok with your past, but they will admire you and find you even more desirable because of it.

    Now, if only I could convince myself. Best of luck!

    • July 2, 2010 2:33 am

      Thank you for sharing your take on the baggage issues. I love your honesty and openness. I completely agree with you that too much weight is put on not having any weight, i.e. baggage, in the online dating world. Perhaps this is one of the reasons so many people are so lonely, we all need to lower our expectations a little and stop waiting for the fairy tales to come true. Life is certainly not perfect nor are we. I wish you the best of luck on your journey and hope that you do learn to listen to yourself. Thank you again for your sincere and heart-felt words. They are truly appreciated. 🙂

  65. Basil permalink
    July 2, 2010 2:26 pm

    To be on planet earth allows you to carry baggage. What is in the baggage is of your choice – BUT what have you in your mind – Is it a good choice or a bad choice?? We all make mistakes – It is the only way to learn.
    Be honest with yourself and to others and you will go forward with PEACE of MIND
    Please have a look at my blog http://neuo.wordpress.com/

  66. July 9, 2010 12:37 pm

    I agree. Nice post. Thanks for sharing

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