My last post talked about a play group that I recently started attending that includes wine drinking for most of the other moms. I had a hard time at the last one that I attended, and kind of wanted to join in the drinking even though I knew that would be a horrible idea. I don’t have to attend this group! I am doing it so that my son has some kids to play with. If it doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world. I was worrying way too much, as I do. As I am trying NOT to do, but you know. It’s hard to stop.
Do I wish that we had a less alcohol-infused society? Yes. Do I want to try to meet more sober people? Yes. Do I want to ONLY attend activities that are alcohol-free? No, not really. A lot of people in our society drink so if I limit myself to spending time with those who are sober or teetotal I am severely limiting my life! However, if I find it too hard to be around drinkers I will leave. I don’t like being around drunk people. I will ALWAYS have an escape plan. I will ALWAYS say a little prayer before going out to help me stay sober. I will ALWAYS listen to my gut and try to do what is best for me (even if this means staying home and missing a social activity for me or my son). My sobriety comes first.
I think part of recovery is facing my fears. I couldn’t do that at first because I wasn’t ready, but I am stronger now. I have faith that I will make good decisions about my life. I trust myself. I don’t need to test myself or my resolve by placing myself in unnecessarily hard situations, but I need to learn how to live life as a sober person in various settings and situations. I want to be a social person. I don’t want to live in fear.
And speaking of fear- I think I have been reacting to old fears for a long time. I became scared as a young girl because I saw the world fall apart around me, and I learned to live with the constant fear I experienced by self-medicating. I don’t need to do that anymore. I need to fight these fears, many of which are totally irrational, and become the person I am capable of being.
Here is a good article about fear if you are interested in reading it.
Are Your Frightened Too? (from Veronica Valli’s blog)
I really appreciate all of your thoughts and support. I am sending the best and nicest of my thoughts to you all.
“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” – Maya Angelou
I am starting to find peace in the present moment. It is a constant struggle to be here now. When I get it, even for a short period of time, it helps me relieve tension. It lessens anger and sadness from things I cannot change, that happened so long ago or yesterday. It keeps me from traveling down those well-worn paths in my mind…thought patterns that don’t go anywhere good. That keep me stuck.
Reminding myself to be here now helps me remember that I am safe, and that I create my safety in this world by staying sober and taking care of myself and those around me. I was not safe when I was drinking. I was vulnerable to things happening to me…an accident, drinking too much and poisoning myself, being hurt by someone because I couldn’t take care of myself, falling down. I also wasn’t safe on the inside because I was letting fear rule my life. Fear of feeling. Fear of failure. Fear of being hurt. Fear of doing something I couldn’t take back or apologize for. So much fear it was causing me to have massive amounts of anxiety, which led to the desire to drink it all away. I was hurting myself from the inside. How can you feel safe when you are hurting yourself? Who will protect you from YOU?
I feel safe here in the present moment. I don’t have to travel down those well-worn paths anymore. I can choose new places to take my mind. So…I remind myself to be here now. I also like stay here, though I am not brave enough for a tattoo just yet. Maybe a bracelet. They are simple, but very powerful, mantras that help me feel more balanced and centered, even if just for a few moments.
This is usually how it goes: Remind myself to be here now. Breathe…take a deep breath…take another…pay attention to my breathing…look at my hands…touch something nearby…stop and look around me…really look…is everything okay in my immediate vicinity? Yes? Then I am safe. I am okay. And it is okay to relax. I can think about these other things tomorrow if I need to. Really, though, I probably don’t need to.
If I really can’t let it go I can write about it or talk about it or pray about it. Letting my mind spin in circles just makes me feel helpless and hopeless….more likely to seek comfort in my favorite mind-numbing substance. Why make life harder than it has to be?
Living in the moment takes practice. It is funny/sad that I used to think I was practicing when I was drinking, but really I was taking myself completely out of the moment. I read all sorts of meditation and mindfulness books, but didn’t realize that my alcohol use made it virtually impossible to be in the mental space I was seeking. I think I am finally starting to learn how to do this for the first time ever.