Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Today, I joined my first newcomers sobriety meeting through TLC. It was a group of about 20 women from across the country, mostly all new in their journey of sobriety. I wasn't going to join the meeting. I wanted to get my workout in, I wanted to do some writing and listen to a podcast instead as my "self care" for the day. Evan is working from home, so I wanted to just get my stuff done in the office before he took over the room. But I knew this was my only opportunity to have a good, small group meeting this week. And also this was my chance to possibly speak for the first time.
I haven't wanted to talk in any of the other meetings I have been in for fear of public speaking in the massive groups of 200-300 people. The idea of pushing the little hand button on zoom is terrifying. I have come close to doing it before but then my heart starts beating out of my chest and I have never brought myself to do it. When I even begin to articulate my thoughts my mind just goes completely blank and I am thrown back into the senior seminars in high school when I was asked to share my opinions on a reading that I never actually understood in the first place.
But then this morning, Colleen shared her story and something happened. Things came together and I was meant to be on this meeting for a reason. I finally felt like I was connecting to people and the things being said - something I haven't felt in a few days. Because for a while, I have felt sort of bleh and annoyed by some of the shares in the last few meetings I have attended. I hate to admit that, but it's true. I try not to judge others when they speak, and that is the opposite of the purpose of these meetings but it is hard not to judge. But when Colleen spoke today, I felt a connection. She is a mom of an 8 year old daughter, and her story spoke to me. She talked about the guilt she has felt from her days of drinking. She spoke of the shame. She spoke of her fear and worry of what she has done to her daughter and the fear of what might happen to her daughter down the road. What type of long term damage has she done?
I felt her words so deeply. What have I done to my kids? What type of damage have I inflicted? The guilt of having missed out on so much. Having not been present for so much weighs heavily on me. And I worry about my children inheriting this horrible disease, because of myself and their grandmother having it in their blood. I worry about this all the time. I continue to worry and I worry that I won't stop worrying.
It was comforting to hear from others that we are good parents to stop drinking now and that out children will be better children because of the choices we are making today, but it didn't stop me from feeling sadness when hearing Colleen speak. Anyway, I raised my hand right away when she was done sharing, and I spoke. I don't know what I even said. I blabbed on about my own guilt and newness of being 44 days sober and feeling lost some days. I did say I was nervous and the moderator had to tell me to take a deep breath, ha! But I was proud of myself for taking the risk and putting myself out there. That was my first share on a meeting, and I did it. I feel like a weight has been lifted. People commented on my share and made me feel better about what I said, and I have taken those kind words with me throughout the rest of my day.