A little ego check

In six days it’ll be five years – so long as my conscious contact doesn’t evaporate like… well, like alcohol. I’m a little squirmy today and I think that’s part of it. Birthdays are always difficult times. squirrel3Whenever I know that someone is about to pick up that first year chip I warn them to watch out for squirrelliness. My last couple of birthdays haven’t been too bad, but this one has come with a couple of extra changes and 5 is kind of a round number – halfway to 10 – at this point, I should probably know a thing or two.

I ran into a friend this weekend at my old sponsor’s estate sale. My old sponsor had recently moved out of state and they were attempting to reduce their carbon footprint by getting rid of a lot of things in the move. My friend and I were looking at the kitchen table when I said, “I did a lot of step work at this table.” She got tears in her eyes recounting what she remembered about the state of my life when she first met me. And I was nearly two years sober when we met!

Yes, I have come a long, long way in five years. And… I think, for the first time, that where my life is today reflects pretty accurately what I image a life at five years sober should look like. I acknowledge my character defects, but I don’t so much struggle with them anymore. That is to say that I still have plenty of faults, but they don’t rule my life anymore. I don’t feel an incessant need to become something “better.” I am more able to see myself on similar footing with my fellow man and don’t so much seek to exaggerate the failings of myself or others.

I still have fears. I have learned that fear is the root of my insecurity and at the center of my onion is this inner monologue telling me I’m worthless, unlovable and inadequate. Every layer peeled away reinforces the knowledge of this lie’s existence and the exposure shines a little more truth into the core – that no matter who or what I am or become, I have always been and will always be “enough.” When my fears come, either I face them with God’s help and walk through them or I ask God to set them aside until I am strong enough to do so.

nanorhinoTo write here about Camp NaNoWriMo seems trite, but it is something that’s making my skin crawly and to hide those things from you is to lead you on. I began this blog letting you know that I have a great love for writing, but have not experienced a great deal of success with it. That is, though I have received positive feedback on things I’ve written, the fear of success (or the fear that I’ll not be able to replicate success, therefore setting you up just to let you down) has kept me from pursuing this passion, even as a hobby. I’ve spent years in fearful writer’s block… and just writing that makes me weepy-eyed.

How do others prepare to write a novel in a month? Draw up an outline and character development points? Schedule time to write? Me? I’m working a fourth step over just why this fear grips me so. My writing is NOT the sum total of me, so even if I get it out there and it’s horrible, this does not diminish my value whatsoever. However, my stupid little addict brain tells me differently and it is going to take me a lot of conscious contact to shut that little prick up. I don’t even want to tell you I’m considering starting  because if I am not able to get through it, you will look at me as a failure. I know it’s a lie, and most likely you couldn’t care less whether or not I do it. This is just one more way my addict brain is trying to control me and it’s a big fear that I keep bumping into, not quite ready to face.

So what does life today, at 6 days away from 5 years look like for me? Still facing one of my biggest fears, not necessarily sure I’m ready to confront it head-on yet… but pretty okay with that. I don’t have to be completely and perfectly fearless. I DO know a thing or two; I HAVE come a tremendously long way; and I WILLINGLY share my experience, strength and hope with others. Today, I am terribly grateful to you and a couple of beautiful drunks who purposely listen for what little wisdom I have to give. You remind me that I am enough just as I am and I don’t have to try so hard. Thanks for being a little bit of God in my life today.

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11 responses to “A little ego check”

  1. carrythemessage says :

    I loved this post. I wish I had the centeredness, serenity, insight and ability to flow with things when I hit five years. I am just over two and still feel that I am shaky ground at times (not in terms of drinking, but as you mentioned, trying to get “better” all the time, etc). That fear of success is also something I identify with 100%. Not many think of it, but it’s a big fear…just as big as the fear of failure for me…and I like how you connected the two…brilliant.

    Anyway, congrats on your (almost) 5 years!!! I am so glad we connected. It’s a pleasure learning from you…and I always do when I read your posts.

    And keep writing 🙂

    Paul

    • littleman031103 says :

      Thanks. This increased serenity has been slow and steady. It’s really over the past year, after coming out of some life storms that I’ve been able to recognize it. At two years sober, I was a million times better than I was at day one, but I still had a long way to go. And honestly, I do contribute a lot of it to participating in the service structure. Area meetings are an awesome sight – a couple hundred drunks showing their nasty sides debating an issue, then we take a vote and everybody’s best friends because God has spoken. I know it’s not for everybody, but I’m grateful I heeded the call because it taught me a lot.

  2. rosesigner says :

    Congratulations on your years, that’s awesome 🙂

  3. Blog Woman!!! says :

    I could really understand when I read this post because the fears of inadequacy for successful writing are the fears of a writer, nothing more. My writing issues are there because I write. This is what I learned from people who are what I call ‘writing learned’, and they, like we, go through writing blocks and all the rest of the angsts all the time.
    My life-long struggle with feeling not good enough, or inferior because I came from grit is my ongoing issue to lighten. I’m not a recovering addict or alcoholic, but as the daughter of them, I grew up questioning everything about myself – success and failure fears, et al. I have to catch myself now and then to say this writing glitch isn’t ’cause I’m not a decent person, this is because I need to get up and out or quiet within, to get inspired.
    I enjoy what you’re writing, and I am looking forward to whatever you have to come. If it makes you happy and rings of your truth, it is good.
    I am also so happy to be able to say Happy belated Birthday. (My parents are 32 chips).
    Take good care,
    Robyn

    • littleman031103 says :

      Thank you. 🙂 I don’t believe in “normies.” Yes, alcoholics are “bodily & mentally different from our fellows” in respect to the alcohol allergy which causes the obsession and the phenomenon of craving. Other than that, though, we are just like everyone else. We all have those fears which keep us from our true, God-given potential. We all have our stories, our secrets, our insecurities & peccadilloes. Those of us who found a bottom through addiction are just lucky enough to be able to see that there is another way. If that made me sound like I think alcoholics are better than other folks, that is completely not what I meant. I just mean to say that I believe we can all relate to each other more than we think and that we can all learn from each others’ experience.
      I love what you said, though, “If it makes you happy and rings of your truth, it is good.” The most amazing thing about recovery is that it has allowed me to “create” or identify a God of my own understanding. I don’t have to blindly accept someone else’s idea of who God is anymore. I run everything through that little lie detector in my heart. If something doesn’t feel quite right about it, it’s not from God. If it resonates within me, though, I will adopt it as gospel truth.

      • Blog Woman!!! says :

        Oh no, that is not at all how I read this post – the idea that alcoholics are somehow special or better than the average person or writer. Not even close. I was thinking along the lines that you’ve always been a writer who happens to have to deal with alcoholism. My experiences have shown that people are hidden in the haze until, and if, it clears. My family, unfortunately has a long and rich history with alcohol. But, to show what I meant last night, I never had a clue that my step-dad was going to be one of my best friends until I got to see who he was 4 years after meeting him. That was when I think I got to ‘really’ meet him. Until then, I had no idea how smart, funny, and incredibly ambitious he is – there was a whole huge world in him that even he didn’t know he owned. We are all forever grateful for the days we’ve been allowed to know it since. I hope I made myself clearer here and I’m sorry for any iota of misunderstanding.

  4. littleman031103 says :

    Oh, no, I just didn’t want you to think that what I was saying in my reply gave that impression – the whole “we’re the lucky ones because we’re able to see our mistakes & turn ourselves around” bit. We all have our things which keep us from tapping into that “whole huge world” (as you so beautifully stated) inside of all of us. When folks like you, who are not alcoholic, are able to identify with us alcoholic-types, you are often inspired to heal the wounds of your past and tap into your own hidden potential. We’re all a lot more alike than we realize. 🙂

    • Blog Woman!!! says :

      Well, what a couple of writers we are today.;D Is the thought for the day: clarity? Ha ha ha. I guess we really aren’t saying anything that is much different from each other. I’m so glad you understand, and yes, there isn’t much space between the us and them worlds.
      Still, you have given me some thoughts to mull over, especially because I’ve been trying to write about something similar, but can’t quite get the tuning down yet.

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