It’s now two and half years since I kicked the booze to the curb, and one year and three months since the ciggies went by the wayside too.
On reflection, it is interesting how much I have learned in this time, and even more interesting how much there still seems to be to learn.
It reminds me of what my Mother used to say to me after one of my endless questions when I was little. “Darling, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know”.
The 2016 year was quite a tough one in many ways, as far as life lessons go. I’ve struggled quite a bit with feelings of hurt, and abandonment by my friends. This is because they are not much in my day to day or week to week life any more, and don’t really keep in touch much at all unless there is something big to tell me or invite me to. I have even lost one lifetime friendship, dumped as it were, after a two week road trip together…..a bit strained and tense at times, but nothing that couldn’t be resolved with communication and forgiveness. I will never fully understand it, I trusted our friendship, and especially the longevity of it. At first it made me feel worthless, thrown out with the dishwater. Now I have come to terms with it. I do not need this friendship, if it is so willingly let go…..after 48 years…..bizarre! This friendship does not support me at all. I think perhaps she preferred me pissed! I have tried to communicate. I can do no more. Life is long. It is sad, but not all friendships need to last forever.
I have learned to “hold my friends lightly”, which at first seemed abhorrent to me when suggested, as I think of myself as a fiercely loyal friend, but after some thought I realised this was exactly what I needed to learn. I need to let go of my need for their presence, which gives validation of our friendship. I need to let go of my need of them full-stop really, and to trust that deep down all is well. Love them, don’t need them. It is, after all, me that has changed, not them. They don’t know quite what to do with me anymore, and that is okay. They are still there. They are still my friends. They probably even admire and respect me for the changes I have made. They are just doing what they are doing, and social drinking takes up a lot of time, and then there’s work and families, and life. I just don’t fit so easily into their picture anymore, because much of the time spent was on the downtime, which involved relaxing, which involved drinking. The fact that I don’t drink alcohol and they do doesn’t bother me at all. I am still me, I can still have a laugh and enjoy their company, but it doesn’t occur to people to include me most of the time, and that’s okay.
I needed to learn to have confidence in who I am, and I am learning that. You change your life in this way, you need to change who you hang out with, to a degree. I am slowly forming new friendships and resurrecting some old ones too, where there’s already a long affinity and trust between us.
Navigating this sober goat track is not always easy and there are many obstacles as I come to terms with such a different way of life. I am still learning so much about myself and about other people too, and sometimes it hurts. Sometimes I unintentionally hurt others. I would much rather sit with these raw and painful feelings, until I can accept them and move on, without blunting the edges or distorting them with alcohol or any other substance. I love the clarity.
I have been giving a lot of thought just lately to who I can really count on in my life. Who can I count on completely for loyalty, honesty, trust and support? Who will absolutely always be there for me? The answer is Me.
I can be a lot of things for a lot of people, and I can give my honesty, loyalty, trust and support to my children, my family and my friends, and to a large degree I get the same in return. But if I really want to count on someone absolutely, it must be me. So, to this end, I strive to become stronger, wiser, and braver. What I aim for this year is to learn to love my aloneness. (I’m going to have to where I’m going)! Alone is self-sufficient, alone is resourceful, alone is dependable, alone is often good company.
I need to be able to give support and comfort to myself when I am misunderstood and bewildered.
I need to turn to myself for wisdom and guidance in all aspects of my life. And I need to dig deep every day for the courage I need to continue, and to succeed in all I’ve taken on, with the build, with my business, the move, decisions on how exactly to run things once I have left Christchurch.
2017 will be an interesting and very challenging year, as was 2016.
I’ve also been giving some thought as to boundaries. I have realised that as a consequence of no longer getting shitfaced on an almost daily basis, I no longer put up with shabby behaviour. Not in my personal life or my business life.
I can and do stand up for myself better than ever before, if treated unfairly and inconsiderately.
I told a customer the other day not to bother coming back to my company for his rental caravan next Christmas, that I don’t need negative, rude and pedantic whingers picking holes in anything and everything they can, instead of enjoying a fabulous camping holiday like everyone else. He was a right twit and it felt rather empowering, and I hope it makes him realise what a dick he is! Probably not the greatest thing I could do for my business reputation, but for each one of him there are 100 happy campers…..so who cares? Not me!
Wishing everyone a Happy, Hopeful, Humourous Humdinger of a New Year
We all need someone we can lean on, and if I want to....I can lean on me!