Today, I am sober 34 days. I did not set out on this journey in search of what I am finding by any stretch. I was thinking, “I need to get sober so I don’t destroy my marriage, my kids, my liver.” And, at the time, those were (and are, I might add) great reasons. However, the more I am on this path, the more doors I cannot believe are cracking open. (It is important to note, I did NOT say flying open.) No, I am getting small glimpses into a much, much bigger picture. And to be frank, some of it scares the hell out of me.
One of the main areas I have uncovered is rather odd: I’ve discovered that I am actually very shy and introverted. The idea of being in a room full of people is intimidating to no end. I like to be alone because then I can isolate and not have to “be” anybody.
But, this is troubling. I drank generally when I was alone. So being by myself is a HUGE trigger. I literally have to force myself to call my sponsor and other women from my group. I worry about what I will say, if they will think I am dumb, or if they are bored being on the phone with me. All of these thoughts are irrational and unfounded. Besides, their world does not revolve around me contrary to what my Ego wants me to perceive. People on the “outside” would be shocked because over the years, I did a pretty good job presenting a confident, outgoing, almost larger-than-lfe personality. Sadly, this is not the woman I am on the inside.
Today, I was home with the flu. That left me alone for nearly ten hours. I never thought I would welcome being sick in my life. Yet, it served a few purposes. One, it was a distraction from drinking. I was alone and not once did the idea of tying one on cross my mind. Something about fading in and out of a constant nap without having to be anywhere was rather soothing to my soul. Two, the illness provided me a time to take care of me. This included drinking tea on the couch with my favorite blanket, taking a warm bubble bath, and reading dumb smut novels…none of which I take time to do with any regularity. And finally, the time alone let me think, which turned out not to be terrible.
So, the being alone part turned out to be okay. But, the problem is I don’t live a cloistered life. I have to get out, to socialize and to learn, slowly, who I am. I have to work very conscientiously on taking steps to being social without alcohol. This is scary and I honestly don’t really know how. I never dreamed being sober would let this issue surface. Yet, I can deal with it. I spent years being the life of the party as a pretense; now, I am learning how to avoid taking the back seat until I can figure out my “stuff” because I know I will use that as a sober coping method so I just fade away.
I was so worried about people seeing the real me so I drank in an attempt to create a persona others could live with…but not me. How many times did I allow myself to be the butt of a joke, the topic of gossip, the one to be pitied? In my false bravado, I evolved into someone I didn’t even know let alone like.
But, the beautiful part is, I have a new lease on life today. I get to be in the driver’s seat and make the calls. Slowly, I am taking my time to gain the confidence I never developed. I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and it feels nothing short of weird. That’s okay, though. The notion that I no longer have to pretend who I am for an audience is rather liberating. I know I’ll make mistakes along the way, but as long as each day, I do the next right thing, I’ll be better off than I was.