It was just 10 months ago that Ryan and I left London and returned to the States.
Initially we thought we’d be returning to New York right away but we were temporarily moved to Houston, Texas.
Now, I have to admit that I had many reservations about moving to Texas. I consider myself to be a big city girl through and through. I love the constant noise and energy. I love being able to walk out my front door and have everything I could ever need or want right at my fingertips.
And although Houston is touted as the 4th largest city in the States, I knew that moving here, even temporarily, would be a huge challenge for me. But I had no idea, 10 months ago, what that challenge would look like.
But now I do and today I want to share that challenge with you.
Living in Houston has reminded me of how easy it is for me to isolate. To completely cut myself off from the world going on around me and the people in it.
Instead of jumping in the car and venturing out to explore the city and possibly meet new people, I’ve made the choice, over and over again, to isolate.
I felt this old isolation habit kicking in way back in January. So, I took some initiative and signed myself up for a modern dance class for adults. I thought it would be a good way to not only do something I love but to get out of the apartment and be around other people.
It’s very embarrassing to admit to you now but despite my best intentions I never went to any of those classes.
On the first night, I completely talked myself out of going. I made the mistake, a mistake I’ve made a thousand times before, of indulging all of the nasty voices that crowd my head when I isolate.
The voices that convince me that I’m a worthless, flawed bitch and that everyone in the class will hate me and I’ll look like a fool. These are the same voices that resurrect every ounce of guilt I’ve ever felt in my life and leave me feeling small and powerless.
I’m sharing this ridiculously embarrassing story with you because I want you to see that relapses in recovery happen to everyone. I’ve been doing this recovery thing for a long ass time and as you can see I still slip back into old, destructive habits.
The difference now is that I don’t stay stuck in those destructive places as long as I used to. I don’t beat myself up as much when I slip up and I’ve learned that it’s okay to start over.
Starting over doesn’t make you an asshole, it makes you human.
Keeping this lesson in mind, a couple of weeks ago, I signed myself up for a writing class.
The first class was this past Wednesday night and you’ll never guess what I did…I WENT TO IT!!! And I took all of the familiar, fear filled voices that popped up inside my head with me.
Nothing bad happened. No one called me a stupid bitch and I didn’t make a fool of myself. To my surprise, there are only five of us in the class, and the instructor was warm and welcoming. In fact, I could sense from all of the small talk we were exchanging, at the beginning, that everyone was a little bit nervous to be there. It wasn’t just me.
To be totally honest with you, I don’t know if I’ll see this class through to the end. I don’t know if next week, my urge to isolate and the anxiety that follows will lead me to talking myself out of going. But I do know that I’m going to take it one small step at a time and if I end up having to start over then that’s what I’ll do.
But in the meantime, here’s what I want you to remember:
#1 Starting over doesn’t make you an asshole, it makes you human. And this is true no matter what you’re in recovery from.
#2 The voices in your head, the ones that get louder when you think you’ve screwed up, and tell you that you’re worthless, aren’t true.
#3 Small steps (no matter how small) in the right direction are always better then taking no steps at all.
#4 I’m rooting for you:)
Thanks, as always, for reading!
Until next Tuesday,
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