There’s something going on with me that I can’t quite put my finger on. I have a lot of things I’ve committed to moving forward. Some are events already paid for, others are goals and plans for my future. It starts this week with my plans to attend a book launch in Los Angeles on Thursday evening. This is the first time I’ve attended anything like it. Something I am doing alone because I don’t really know anyone in my personal life who would be interested in attending. There will be incredible people there, women I want to meet. Women who are living and leading lives I admire because they are artists. They are writers, actresses, playwrights, editors, yoga teachers, retreat and workshop facilitators.
But before Thursday, something else happens. On Wednesday, November 18th, I will wake up with 19 years of sobriety and recovery. In the 12 step program, we call them birthdays or re-birthdays. I’m having lunch that day with co-workers that I consider good friends, but we haven’t had much time to get together of late. We thought my 19-year sobriety date would be as good an occasion as any. Friday night and Sunday morning, I will have tokens presented to me at two different meetings. It’s a little ceremony where I get a cake, the group sings Happy Birthday, a trusted friend says hopefully honest, encouraging things about me and then I give a little speech about my sobriety. The gist of most speeches follows a general format of “What it was like”, “What happened” and “What it’s like now”. It is often a humorous and emotional way of expressing my experience, strength, and hope. I’ve lived in my area for 14 years now and I’m considered an “old-timer” because of how much sobriety I have. There won’t be many surprises as most already know my “story”. Although the great thing about sobriety is a lot can change in a year. It certainly has for me and I’m anticipating, hell I’m facilitating even more change for the coming year as well.
Let’s try to get to the bottom of what’s happening inside me, shall we? Maybe fear, but it doesn’t feel that way. There’s numbness, some mild dread and since I’m being honest, there’s worry and anxiety. Ok, now we’re getting closer to identifying what’s really going on. I suppose mild worry and anxiety are better than outright fear. There are a lot of other goals/plans that I’m not mentioning because they’ve been written about previously, or they’re new and not finalized or fully committed to. I think I’m having some trouble adjusting or reconciling who I am. Or who I’ve become? I don’t understand how that can be possible or WHY it’s rearing its ugly head now. They say we can get squirrelly before a sobriety birthday. But I don’t necessarily feel squirrelly.
I used to be afraid to show up for my life to the point that I wouldn’t even make goals or plans. I would simply exist in misery well hidden from myself and others. And if I somehow made plans or goals, I made sure to sabotage them or just withdraw even more from life. I know that isn’t going to happen given the woman I’ve grown into today. I still love the Woody Allen quote “Showing up is 80% of life”. I seem to have the “showing up” part well in hand. Perhaps it’s the other 20% that worries me? The 20% that indicates how I show up and what am I bringing of myself when I do. Huh, so this may be a simple crisis of confidence in the new evolved me? What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t live up to my plans and goals? What if I fail?
Well, all I can do is keep moving forward and have faith in my path, where it’s led me so far. Where God, the Universe and amazing guides/teachers have led me. Where friends, family, co-workers and new acquaintances have encouraged me. Because if I can overcome my fear of the 80%, then I can have faith in continuing to develop the 20%. I mean, that’s all there is to do right? Keep moving forward faithfully.