THE BLOG

After Getting Sober, I'm Still Getting Comfortable With Success

04/02/2015 08:31 EDT | Updated 06/02/2015 05:59 EDT
Blend Images/John Lund via Getty Images

I am terrified. In a heart broken-open, glorious, extraordinary, not-so-negative way.

Life, simple daily living, has reduced me to quivering knees and a stomach full of fluttering wings.

I have cautiously, joyously (with a good measure of humility and a colossal amount of help from others) spent the last year of my life taking baby-steps towards rebuilding all the havoc I had wreaked throughout 10 years of severe addiction: mending relationships, making a home, earning trust. Learning, after a decade away, how to be a mom, student, daughter, sister, friend and finally girlfriend.

Writing. Writing my heart out, with great credit to elephant journal,who first gave me a word-home and are still, every day, part of my writing family. The connection that I have established within a community of writers, and readers, including those among my own friends and family, cannot be truly described in its heart-filling beauty.

Now what? I'm frightened. Life has become so lovely, so ripe with opportunity, new challenges, healthy growth, ongoing support. As one so used to self-flagellation, to failure, to discomfort and pain, how do I now embrace and even allow success?

As an addict, self-sabotage becomes a comfort-zone, failure a safe place to be. Predictability is key -- we know what will happen when we drink or screw up, and while it is painful, at least it is familiar. With success, I feel completely unprepared. I feel as though I plunge out the door every morning completely naked and bare to the world. Dance out into the sunshine (or thunderstorm) with my armor thrown aside and my heart laid open.

Self-centered and, perhaps, foolish, to be frightened of success, but I wholeheartedly admit that I am. What will happen if I dare to keep showing up every day and propelling forth my unguarded, unashamed, imperfect self at every task that comes my way? What if I keep doing my best? What if this really is my new path -- making my way, healthy and sober, through the world?

I am crippled with self-doubt at every turn, only to be awash with relief when I realize I made it through another day, project, challenging task, daunting endeavour.

In what seems a matter of moments this an inspiring, beautiful new project has come together, and I'm tumbling into loveliness everywhere as I help to bring Some Talk of You and Me, a fellow writer's gorgeous website, into full bloom as a hub for other writers, creators, and kindred spirits of all sorts. I am in love with this intrepid life I am living, daunting as I find it at times.

Perhaps it's okay to be more than a little (openly) scared as we venture into the unknown successes of the future. Maybe it's alright to know that on occasion we will fail (but we will turn that into a success by trying again).

Quite possibly, it is just fine to admit that this is all overwhelming, and sublime, and bewildering at the same time.

"I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed." ~ Anne Lamott

This piece was originally published on Some Talk of You and Me: The Conversation You've Always Wanted To Have.

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