Thursday, July 13, 2017

Day 420 - Thankful Thursday - Overcoming Fear

As a part of active recovery, a gratitude list is paramount for me.
What I want to do here weekly is not just be thankful for the easy stuff (although that does have a place)...but I want to take the negative and spin it positive.

So, no negatives here.  
Only positive.

1.  AA - we talked about fear last night.  The fears we all discussed were illogical fears...fears that have no substance...the what ifs...the fears our brains use to scramble us up.  I have lots of these and am working hard in therapy to deal with them.  I just assumed once more that I was the only one who had these kinds of fears, and my fears are just another way I'm "messed up."

Once again, I was wrong y'all.  
One by one, the women around the table talked about fear.  Many of our fears were the same.  Some of the fears were new fears, and some were from the past.  
Some of the women feeling the fears were new to sobriety, and some were more settled and comfortable with their sobriety...but they still felt the fears.
One of the younger members who was just returning from a night in jail after receiving her first DUI said what she feared most was that somehow she would be unable to "get it"...a night out with a plan of "just a drink or two" ended up in jail.
There is no "just a drink or two" for an alcoholic.
It just is what it is.
It's not fair.
It's not easy.
It just is.
A more season woman in the group told her that even with 7 years of sobriety, she remembers vividly the rawness of new sobriety...the ups and downs, the getting to know yourself all over again...because all you know is yourself drinking.

Fear of the past.
Fear of loved ones leaving.
Fear of relapse.

We vowed to stick together as we battle these illogical fears.
Step 1 is to admit that we are powerless.
It's really just that simple.
I am thankful for AA.

2.  Friends - A friend of a friend saw me leaving an AA meeting.
She asked me, "What are you doing??"
I answered, matter of factly, "Attending the ladies' AA meeting."
After she sputtered for a minute, she finally very quickly told me about a family member of hers who needed to go to AA.  I don't know if there really is a family member or if she was just trying to find something/anything to say after my blunt admission that I was attending an AA meeting.
The friend of a friend called the friend and asked what was going on with me.
My husband said, "So much for 'anonymous'.
I said I wasn't sure why she needed to ask our shared friend since she had asked me and I had told her up front.

**At this point, you're wondering how in the heck I'm going to find a positive in this story**

Our shared friend called me a few days ago...a couple of weeks after I "had been seen leaving the AA meeting."
She called me to share that she too has a  problem.
She is getting help.
She wanted me to know that she knows right where I am and supports me.
She wanted me to know that she loves me.

The husband of the friend who reported my AA attendance stuck his head in the meeting room last night.
I can think of no other reason for him to do this except to see if I was there.
I raised my hand tall, smiled a toothy smile, waved, and called him by name.

The stigma ends with me.
I'm thankful for friends and even friends of friends and their husbands.

3.  Summer school - summer school classes are small.  It is within these small classes that I actually get to know my students, I know their names, I very quickly get to know their strengths and weaknesses, and I get to know how much they need and/or want to be pushed or not pushed.  I also have time for revision essays.
I teach composition.
I believe very strongly that we learn to become more strategic readers and writers by reading and writing.
My job is to facilitate learning for my help them build that bridge between what they already know and what they need to know.
In summer school classes, the students who work quickly and don't need me as much can be on their merry way as quickly as they please while the others stay behind and get the help they need.
Isn't that what learning and teaching are all about?
Summer school reminds me of why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place.
I'm thankful to be a teacher teaching summer school.

4.  Air conditioning and my electric bill.  I live in Mississippi.
Mississippians melt in July and August.
4 showers a day are normal.
If you live in MS, air conditioning should be free.
My church has an account with money just to help the elderly and disabled in our community pay their electric bills in the summer.  The heat and humidity are that serious.
I am neither elderly nor disabled...but I am a 48 yr old woman.
Hot flashes are real.
AC is a necessity if I am not to burst into flames from time to time.
I am thankful for air conditioning :)

5.  The Southern Black Racer that lives in my backyard.
Not only am I thankful for her, but I am also thankful that she stays pretty curled up and hidden in the railroad ties that surround our pool.
I'm thankful that she eats rats and any other rodents and insects that might be piddling about in my yard.
I am thankful that she has not tried to swim in our pool.
I am thankful that she is outside and I am inside.
I am thankful for you, Mrs. Snake.  You stay out of my way, and I will gladly stay out of yours. ;)

No, this is NOT the snake in my backyard.  When I said I am thankful that she is outside and I am inside, I meant it.

What can you find today to be thankful for?

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