Definitely Autumn

Monday, Monday… Another week starts with beautiful autumn weather. Yep, definitely autumn now and the oppressive, heavy and humid heat of only a couple of weeks ago is all but a memory. There is a distinct chill in the air. As a lover of autumn, I’m happy – welcome, darker season. Candle light, big scarves and cinnamon – I’m ready for you. I think I really showed my age the other day by getting all excited about crawling into bed after we changed over to our winter duvet. I mean, honestly. So sue me! These things do make me happy.

We’re on to week four of the counselling course and it struck me how it’s already happening quite fast. At first glance it seemed like such a long journey ahead, but considering the course spans a total of 70 weeks we’re over 5% of the way in by the end of this week. In just over three weeks’ time, we’ll be a tenth of the way there. It’ll swish past before we know it.

My Monday has started out the way all my Mondays seem to: a run in the park, then a late breakfast and now doing a bit of studying. We also have a mini-presentation next week so I’m going to throw together a few slides for that too. Nope, not freaked out. This one’s TINY. 15 minutes and four of us so we’ll each talk for less than four minutes. In June next year, we have the bigger presentations and I’m paired up with a lady I already knew from Level 2 who I really like and here are the words I never thought I’d ever say, much less mean but I do: I’m looking forward to it. I think it probably helps it’s with.. hm… going to call her Pocahontas because she has magical fairytale hair. Pocahontas is also morphing into a really good friend and beyond this she’s super smart, insightful and focused and therefore, fairytale hair or otherwise, a solidly great partner for this. Maybe it was meant to be that way. I think I’d be a lot more rumbled by it if I were paired up with someone I don’t “get” (or worse – don’t like!) or someone who I might not trust to carry their weight. As for now, I feel confident we’ll end up with something we will both put a lot into and contribute to. All good.

There really isn’t much to report from Planet Anna lately. Things are ticking along nicely. I have two clients and each week is a victory, I really am learning so much – it’s all coming together now. I did wonder when it’d all begin to make sense, and here it is: in the therapy room. My personal therapist is great too and I am really looking forward to it all.

My boys are all doing good too. Hubby’s busy with work, Bambino is on an up-swing at school and in general (and he is so goddamn TALL!! I can’t get over it), and my bonus sons are happy and thriving as well. Saw the younger at the weekend and going to see the older this coming Saturday. Can’t ask for more. Thank you, Universe, for sending these four into my life.

No dramas. Just in the midst of a gentle roller. Just right. I like it.

Today I’m not going to drink.

All These Fears

966 days sober. Living life on life’s terms right now, which, to be fair, has been my modus operandi since I got sober. Not always easy but that’s what I try to do. Starting the diploma course was an example where I actually had to coach myself a little to do so.

I knew very little of what it would be like. Uncertainty isn’t everyone’s friend and it’s definitely something that can rumble Yours Truly. There were whispers that the groups were huge and all I wanted to do was go in and try to find out as much as I possibly could beforehand: how many of us, who is everyone, what’s going to happen, etc, etc. Is it going to be just admin or will we have to do that introduction thing we had to do at level 2 and 3 that I find so terrifying?

So I reminded myself of this one simple thing: just go with it. Let it happen. Don’t try to control or steer it, just let life be life on life’s terms.

No questions were asked. I forced myself to just try to relax and remind myself that whatever comes my way I can handle.

Lo and behold. Group is indeed 20-strong. More than half are new faces (read: scary). But it was fine. No, really – it was fine. And I took it in my stride.

Something weird happened too. Yes, the introduction exercise did happen. You get paired up with someone you don’t already know, spend five minutes each telling the other person about yourself and then back in the big group you introduce each other. And so I introduced the person I was partnered up with. No palpitations. No overwhelming fear. No massively awful nerves. And no one was more surprised than I was to discover that I introduced my partner without it being that big of a deal. Both times previously my heart had almost beaten itself out of my chest as it approached my turn. And I thought quietly to myself THANK GOD, perhaps it’s finally beginning to happen – i.e. I’m starting to overcome this crippling fear of speaking up in front of other people.

I’m not saying all of this to brag, honestly I’m not. It might sound like it, but I say it with gratitude, wonder and in the hope that it might help someone else who is just like me. In a way, I feel like I’m saying it to Drunk Anna. The Anna who was held back not only by her addiction but all these fears and discomfort at life in general.

The promises come true. Recovery delivers. It may require that you face the things that terrify you, but the universe has your back and each time it’ll get a little easier. Not noticeably at first, but then one day you’ll discover that you’re doing something that you didn’t think you could do. I promise. It might not be easy, but it will be SO worth it.

YOU are worth it. Keep going.

Today I’m not going to drink.

Note to Self

Genuinely a post entirely for myself to go back to.

About to start the Level 4 Counselling Diploma and oh yes, there is a knot of dread in my stomach. The groups are HUGE. Instead of 12-14 people, the groups are now 20-odd strong – not such an easy prospect for someone who struggles to speak up in front of people. The presentations ahead aren’t 10-minute bursts on Zoom but all-morning workshops. There will be fishbowl sessions OFTEN. (These are sessions where you counsel a peer, observed by the tutor and the rest of the class). We are delving deeper into theory and we’re doing placements with real clients. On top of all of this, there’s of course the “you can only take your clients as far as you’ve gone yourself” and we all have to be in personal therapy too.

A daunting journey ahead, in other words.

Yes, I’m excited. Yes, I am so, so happy I’m doing this. But it won’t be easy and it sure as hell won’t be comfortable.

Hence this reminder to myself. Yesterday was a reminder to myself.

Normally I go for a run every morning but yesterday I had tonnes of things I needed to do, so it was only later in the afternoon I could get out. And it was SHIT. Truly awful. I wanted to stop and walk less than half a mile into it, before I’d even reached the cricket fields. But I kept going. OK, just get past the cricket fields. But then when I had, just get down to the middle. And then, just get to the bridge over the little stream. And then, cut through the field instead of following the path around it. But then I followed the path around it. Just up to the bigger path in the middle and walk the last bit. But then I didn’t walk at all and had run the whole loop as first intended. I didn’t take a short cut and I didn’t stop and walk.

The whole way, I had Level 4 in my head. Almost like this run in some way represented it. How heavy going it was, how close I was to giving up THE WHOLE DAMN WAY. The last stretch I felt dizzy and weak and my face must have been contorted in a grimace of pain. It was rubbish. I get runs like that once in a while, usually a week before I have my period so I reckon it’s hormone related. Honestly, I can go for a 10k run one day and fly through it, then a 5k loop feels like purgatory the next day. When I got home, I was beetroot red and I was still beetroot red an hour later. Gosh, that run was so crap. Every damn step felt like struggling through treacle.

Anyway. It felt like a little reminder to myself. A reminder of who I am now. I don’t give up. I keep going. I can do this.

Who knows what it’ll be like. Who knows if I’ll struggle or if I’ll mostly be OK. But whatever happens, I will try. If I fail, it won’t be because I gave up or ran away. And I’m no more likely to succeed or fail than anyone else. A shift has taken place, very subtly but very definitely. I still have a lot of work to do, but I no longer consider myself quite so lowly compared with others. Not that comparison is important, but I’ve spent my entire life lowering myself to something I don’t have to be. I’m as good as anyone else. It feels weird to say still but these days it doesn’t make me cringe and whilst I’m not entirely convinced, at least part of me believes it.

I don’t know why but that run was important to me in that regard. Nothing to do with counselling or my studies, but to my mind it was something to prove to myself I don’t break as easily as I sometimes have me believe.

Today I’m not going to drink.