Stopping drinking was one of the scariest things I have done.
I had so many fears. I didn't ever think I'd have fun again, see friends, celebrate anything.
I just couldn't see beyond these fears.
But, because I couldn't see any other choice except to stop, I plowed ahead, scared and all.
I did everything possible to help myself in recovery; starting a blog, going to AA, reaching out to safe yoga teachers, getting a sponsor, telling my friends and family and posting on the Women's for Sobriety website.
I had to face all my fears day in and day out.
It was hard.
Now, my fears are fading away.
Last night I went out to dinner at fun place downtown with my husband. He has off this week and we are having a "staycation" as we have some work around the house to do.
When I first stopped drinking, I hated going out. I pouted, and made my husband's night miserable. How could I enjoy it if I didn't drink?
Now, I am clear headed and joyful.
I have had to practice facing the fear of going out, and I am ever so much stronger. I have practiced having good conversation, focusing on good food, and even picking what alcohol free drink I like. (I am also realizing it is selfish of me to make my husband's life unhappy because of my pouting. )
Today we went zip lining. It was a fun experience and not scary once I had a little practice.
Once I tried the safe practice line, I was good to go. I was a little shaky at first, but with each line, it got easier.
Just like zipping, I had to practice in safe situations to build up my confidence that I can indeed, be sober and happy. I have been to birthdays, anniversaries, and other parties where I celebrated without drinking. I have met friends for lunch and dinner, all without drinking, and all being happy.
But it took time and practice.
I read somewhere that you build up your sober muscles. That you get stronger the more you practice. Facing your fear, and doing it anyway, is a timely saying.
I didn't do this alone. When I read about all the other people who have stayed sober and are happy, I hold their hands and tell myself I can do that too. When I hear all the people in AA or WFS that are sober and happy, I want that too.
Yes, it was scary.
Yes, it is still scary at times.
One of the best books I have read is Mindfulness and the 12 Steps, by Theresa Jacobs-Stewart. I highly recommend it if you go to AA or are doing the steps.
She has you hold your fearful self in loving kindness.
"May I be free from mental torment, safe within and without."
So I encourage all of you on this journey, to face your fear of not drinking, giving yourself the gift of time to practice getting stronger.
With Courage on Day 277