August 22. I think I got profiled. I mean that’s a little how it felt, not to be compared to the experiences of any others, don’t come at me, but gave me pause for thought on all of this.
The other day I went out for a walk from my house to get my second workout in. It had been really cloudy and drizzly earlier in the day and all of that cleared and way and the sun was shinning. It was a gorgeous afternoon.
I live on a relatively quiet street that is about a mile and a half long and at the end of the road there is a lane that continues off (it’s a fork in the road), where there are a few houses and then a dead end. Typically I walk all the way to that dead end to get to the halfway point of my time and then turn around.
I was on my way back when a white luxury car of some kind (I can’t remember the brand) was pulling down very slowly and kind of stopped. I assumed they were pulling into the driveway so I stopped and waved her in.
She pulled into the driveway and rolled the window down. I was a little taken aback by that but ok. She was a much older lady.
I said “Hi, such a beautiful day right?” She came back with acknowledgement and how the day had changed since this morning. I was smiling and carrying on with the chatter, not quite sure why we were talking.
Then in a super subtle way there was a slight shift in her and in our interaction. She said strongly “what’s your name?”. Hmm ok? Why are you asking me that?
I could feel a little something happen in my body like discomfort for a hot second but I was grounded in my space knowing I am not doing anything wrong. I responded and then quickly added (this is the part I think is interesting and a bit telling) “I live down the street across from the little white church”.
She smiled and said “Oh you have a long way to get home”. I mean not really, but ok. And we went about our way. Super innocent interaction and perhaps it was totally a nothing but or some reason it felt like a something.
The whole way home I thought about it. And what was coming up for me the most was thank God I am sober today. And I have done so much personal work on myself and feel comfortable and confident in my own skin enough to have that interaction and not immediately go down a negative thought spiral.
If that had occurred during active addiction I would have reacted so differently because I was always doing something wrong.
I was generally in the midst or middle or planning a lie. There was no conscience. My body would have been lit up with doubt, questions and likely fear. Because I was always in the midst of some kind of jam.
My sobriety, particularly the last ten years when I really started diving into he emotional sobriety work and building confidence has given the ability to listen to my body. To trust myself and make more accurate assessments of the world around me. Are there injustices in sobriety, a million percent yes.
Is it my fault? Well I mean sometimes. I have wronged others. But I have the ability to make amends, make different choices, not take things personal and feel comfortable in all of that.
I can be in situations and understand my part in things. What is my role here? What have I done to contribute to this situation good or bad? Where is their opportunity for growth? That is a miracle of sobriety for sure.
Are there times when I miss it? Say an unkind word because of exhaustion, hunger or hormones. Of course. I’m not perfect, but I am a heck of a lot more aware of myself and those around me than I was even in the first few years of sobriety.
Today I can have an experience like the one the other day and give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she was concerned about why I was walking down that lane. Maybe she was just being friendly.
Honestly it isn’t that important.
Maybe you don’t like me because I feel strongly in a certain area, or you feel the relationship needs a break, that’s your choice and I respect it.
In these times more than once a day I find myself shaking my head at the utter despair we face in our world. At the hate and intolerance that is spewed all over the place. I feel blessed to be in a place where I know how to reach out to get exactly what I need.
I know how to self-soothe and parent myself when the discomfort comes. I find myself looking into the eyes of pain and saying, “hey, you want a glass of water”.