Listening to a newcomer in a meeting this week, I was reminded of my emotions when I first came into the rooms and started my drug and alcohol recovery.
When he was called on to share, he was startled and as he began to talk, he shook; as did I when I began my recovery journey. Being asked to share was frightening enough, but not being called on was almost worse. I remembered the constant worries running through my head that never seemed to be at rest. Wondering, did they not like me? Was I to be asked to speak? Was I not going to be included? What would I say if I were included? Would I utter decipherable words, if I were to be called on?
I had always lived on the outside, avoiding being even a part of my own family. People had only been obstacles that got in my way of getting what I wanted. Now I was sitting in a room full of people that had something that I wanted, even though I shrank from them as if they were aliens. I had no clue that the only way to become one of that crowd was to share those terrifying thoughts with them, and in doing so I would become a part of the whole.
Existing on the earth sober was a completely new reality for me and each day was like walking on shattered glass, always apprehensive that it would finally break and I would come plunging through. As I began to share my anxieties, and there were many, I learned to step into a mall, a grocery store, and a hair salon without first having several drinks. The instinct to quiver and back-up subsided when someone asked me a personal question about my life, as I had done for as far back as I could remember. I had avoided the kitchen for months after going on the wagon because it was the room I drank in the most, serving dinner as late as possible to allow ample time to consume more alcohol. Eventually, I even learned to cook dinner in that kitchen again and also serve it at an appropriate time.
I was always so consumed with scheming, plotting and trying to figure out how to bypass the things that frightened me, that I had little time to be a part of and enjoy my own life, children and, animals. Slowly, my mind began to pause it’s constant plotting just enough for me to stop and smell some of the roses. I was three years sober, and our cat was five, the first time he jumped up on my lap to be petted, I finally had time for him.