Driving out to meet a friend, on Tuesday, was really scary, for me. I knew I had to make amends. I knew I needed to go into the meeting without expectations. I knew I could lose the relationship if things didn't go well.
In the past, I would not have set up a meeting like this. I would have walked away from the relationship; given up without trying. I was so constantly overwhelmed, in the past, that it was impossible to consider adding anything more to the enormous, invisible load I carried.
Tuesday’s risk was well-worth it. I went into it with the thought that even if things didn’t go as I’d like, I would have done what I could to salvage the relationship. As it happened, things went as well as they possibly could. I didn't lose a friend, but instead I gained a new kind of closeness – one which comes when two people work together to get beyond an obstacle.
With that under my belt, I felt as if I could say yes to an invitation I’d received for Thursday evening. I wrote about this in my last post. It might not sound like much of a risk - going to someone's house, but my first inclination was to say no.
In the past, I never looked at why I said no. I just automatically assumed this kind of interaction was not for me. It’s a little hard to explain why, but I thought of this analogy:
If you lived in the water all the time, you wouldn't know you were wet. If someone offered you a towel, you’d probably say no. What would be the point? You live in the water! You couldn’t even know what it was to be dry because wet is always there.So, in the past, the idea of spending the evening with women who were nearly strangers would have been impossible to consider without a lot of anxiety. Those feelings were so intense, it would override any possible positive outcome. This time, I was able to stay with the boundaries I've learned in CoDA – don’t put up a wall, but also don’t spill everything that’s ever happened to me. At the same time, I wasn't overly self-conscious. By the time I’d been there a few hours, I was laughing and talking openly without having to think about it much at all.
You have to be dry once in a while to even know what wet is… and I would have to be comfortable with others once in a while to know how uncomfortable I was. It was so constant before - this feeling of being overwhelmed, of having to watch everything so carefully, of judging every thought and word and action so critically - I couldn't even see it.
I felt comfortable. Another risk. Another gain.