“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
As a practicing alcoholic for many years, I had no desire to try to better myself in any way, physically, mentally or spiritually. It was all about getting my next drink – my life revolved around booze, and anything else be it work, friendships or my health were an inconvenience. I also frowned upon anyone else who might be trying to better themselves, people who went to the gym, people who studied hard, people who said they lived a spiritual life, people who were sober, people in general – the list went on ad nauseum. I know now that I was jealous of anyone who had their lives together and I dealt with that by putting them down. Even while I was looking up from the gutter, my alcoholic mind still told me I was better than the people standing on the sidewalk.
Thankfully I’m in recovery and my narrow-minded, self centered view of the world has shifted. I can appreciate other people’s efforts in bettering themselves and I’m striving to evolve from a bitter angry drunk to a decent member of society.
This process of change is a lot harder than I thought and is usually accompanied by fear. Even after overcoming the fear involved in living sober I still feel uncomfortable when there is a change in my life – even if I have instigated it. So, after four years in recovery I’ve decided it’s time to go back to school at age 42. I’m back in England to take some classes and after living in America for the past 20 years, I feel a bit out of my comfort zone.
Prior to the first class, I was overcome with fears, people won’t like me, I’ll look stupid, what the hell am I thinking? My ego has rebuilt itself and obviously still thinking that it’s all about me and that people will think I’m worthy of developing an opinion about right off the bat.
My sister dropped me off and joked about my first day at school and even though I’m a few decades past Kindergarten, I felt as though I was that little girl from long ago and all that was missing were my pigtails and a fit of tears after realizing that my mother wasn’t staying but I was. My sister actually ended up walking me right up to the classroom door (co-dependency in action!).
The truth is no one batted an eyelid when I walked into class, but as usual, I thought that it was all about me and I would be singled out. Not so. I have to remember that in the grand scheme of things, the world doesn’t revolve around me and it’s natural to have some anxiety about meeting new people and embarking on a new venture. It turns out that my fellow classmates also had fears as I quickly found out when we began one of the first exercises – expressing any fears we had prior to being there.
During the break – the very break I had dreaded as I just ‘knew’ I’d be sitting alone with no one to play with (I mean sit with) I ended up being one of a group of people who were friendly and open and all a bit nervous just like me and I was reminded of my first AA meeting. We were all in the same boat.
I enjoyed my first class, I’ve even got homework that I plan on completing (miracles never cease) – and I think I might be able to make it next week without my sister holding my hand – or maybe not.