Since I tend to focus on the negative, and berate myself constantly, I look at myself as a coward. An anxious, fearful person who hides from bars, from parties, from groups, from self-examination, from improvement, from hard work, from healthy habits and from change.
It’s true all these things terrify me. But today I started thinking about the positive. In the past year, this past year of unemployment and my 4th year of not drinking, I have done some huge feats of bravery.
I saw a therapist, and even though I didn’t want to, I went back on multiple occasions.
I started oh-so-occasionally cognitive therapy thought-journalling again for the first time in years.
I faced my fear of groups, of strangers, of people, and of going new places, and started getting involved in AA.
I greatly diminished my anger with and fear of homeless people and started volunteering at a shelter, as well as taking a more friendly approach in my day to day interactions.
I started trying to ‘lean in’ to my fear. Although I conquered alcohol I did not conquer my addictive, desperate, fearful personality. But I’m starting to glean its okay to be like that, especially because the more aware I am of grasping for escape from reality, the less I let that urge victimize me.
I diminished my fear and blocks of success and productivity in art. I’ve started embracing both those things. The fear is overwhelming, the fear of failure, the fear of scrutiny. But I did lots of art and shared it anyways.
On the wings of my AA enjoyment, I diminished my fear of group therapy and finally agreed to go, after it was suggested to me by my psychiatrist for over a year. It turned out to be a life changing experience that has helped me understand ways to manage my overwhelming fear. Even if I don’t choose to do them, I know so much more and my anxiety toolkit is far more robust. Its an 8-week course, after the first session I thought it was the most awful thing ever, and now on session 8 I’m sad that it’s over!
I went to hell and back over my cravings for alcohol, and my resentment, fear, self-loathing and jealousy in watching other people dance with my ex-true-love (aka drink alcohol in my sight, or even talk about it online). I spoke up (or at least sent some emails) out about my unprecedented non-societally-approved need to not be around any alcohol to friends and relatives. Although I felt burning shame and more self-loathing, I stuck to protecting my sobriety over protecting my ego. My sobriety won.
My attempts at meditation, awareness, and mindfulness have improved to the point I would consider myself able to do these things on occasion.
I womanned up enough to let go of my ego, a tiny little bit. To let things just be, a tiny little bit. To not worry so much about how I look to others and if I’m impressing them and if I’m one of the crowd, a tiny little bit.