As a major introvert I’ve always struggled with socialising and having to meet new people. This is probably the key factor that started me down the path of heavy drinking. When I was younger I forced myself to go out – which made me highly uncomfortable – and so I would get drunk to hide from the difficult, awkward feelings.
As the years have passed I’ve become much more accepting and appreciative of my introverted nature and have stopped shoehorning myself into inappropriate social situations. This being said, it does have a darker side. I have a stong tendency to isolate. While I think I’m lucky to be so happy with my own company and to find sanctuary in ‘alone time’ I also know that I hide behind it and use it to excuse myself from exploring life and the wider world.
Getting drunk tucked up on the sofa is so easy, and effortless, and after enough glasses I can just pretend that it’s all OK and anything challenging can wait until later. Life, as I hope to be living it, can wait until later. I find myself agreeing with wolfie over and over again – yeah, fuck that! it’s all just too scary out of my wine cocoon… And so, life shrinks down smaller and smaller until it becomes a shrivelled drunken shadow of its full potential.
I’ve suspected for some time now that alcohol is the anchor that is holding me still; a life spent just treading water instead of the adventurous voyage I believe it could be. Tonight I made myself take another step to change that. I went on my own to a class at a local buddhist centre 🙂
The feelings of anxiety and resistance started before I even got in my car. I almost chickened out but I promised myself 2 weeks ago that I would do this. Setting off on that short journey was about far more than just driving to a buddhist centre. It was about honouring a promise to myself and my life. It was about summoning up the courage to do something hard rather than shying away and hiding from (drinking away) the fear. Most importantly, it was about taking a decisive step towards finding a community and an activity that will support and complement my sobriety.
Although the adrenaline stomach feeling is horrible it was also oddly exhilarating as I realised it was a long time since I’d voluntarily kicked my own ass out of its comfort zone. Walking into a place full of strangers is excruciatingly awkward for me. I had a full-on rabbit in headlights moment as I decided where to sit in the busy room. All the seats were full other than the front row, which was empty – gulp! I sat alone, feeling exposed and conspicuous until more people arrived and joined me there. Then the teacher arrived, we all stood briefly in respect and the class began.
The talk and guided meditations were wonderful with a warm and humorous teacher. It’s been a long time since I meditated in a group setting and it is a truly lovely energy and feeling. I stayed afterwards for a coffee and a chat with a small group of people and learned enough about the place to know I’ll continue to go back for their weekly classes.
On the way home I realised the adrenaline and caffeine had left me a bit strung out and I had that oh so familiar thought of ‘Oh some wine would calm this right down’. I observed it as a habitual thought and let it pass through and disappear. There was no danger I was going to indulge it this time 🙂
I’m feeling positive about myself and my sobriety tonight and so happy that I found the courage to take another important step towards changing my life for the better. I guess one meditation class is a baby step in the bigger picture but it felt like a giant leap forwards for me.
I hope everybody has had a day of moving forwards, even if only in baby steps x