I am awesome. What started out as a daily affirmation turned into something I actually began to believe to this day. I am celebrating my 16 month soberversary today and I am so grateful. I’m grateful because at some point, the line began to get hazy between the person I was trying to be for everyone else while I was actively drinking and the person I really am; the awesome me.
My family and friends have seen me go through recovery and they know me; it keeps life simple. Then again, I haven’t invited anyone NEW into my life – male or female. Meeting someone new would mean they are meeting the real me and, up until 2 months ago, I wasn’t ready for all that. Professionally is something different, I can handle that. A lot of us have our professional selves that’s different than the person outside of the office. But personally or romantically, I didn’t know if I was ever going to be ready, both because of personal heartbreak and because of the fear I had that someone was going to meet ME, the real me!
It gave me serious anxiety to even think about it. To step outside of my comfort zone, that is, the hermit shell that I lived in was so unbearable that I cried. A well-intentioned friend tried to take me out of that zone and I had a full on panic attack because I felt pressure to do something I wasn’t ready to do. I’m surprised I didn’t start hyperventilating to be honest. Sheesh!
I think I woke up one day and suddenly felt it – I don’t need someone, I want someone to share my life with. After a year and some change of being alone (and loving every minute of it), and having a full plate of this thing called “life with kids” that takes priority, I had the nerve to think I had more space in my heart for someone else. I was ready to let someone in. Risky as I felt like it could be, I was maybe 92% willing to take that risk and see what happened.
I was kinda stuck between a rock and a hard place because even though it gave me anxiety to meet someone new, I felt like I was ready to take a chance and let someone meet me: Maritza Ortiz, the boastfully sober mother of 4. My only roadblock was, without picking up [a drink], I didn’t know how to be anyone else anymore, just myself, which was cool because I already loved her. So, ready or not, someone was about to get it and that person was Mr. Baseball (aptly named because he is a fan of the sport and because he took me to a National’s baseball game for our first date, even though he is a devoted Cardinal’s fan – Go Cards! More about him later…)
While I wouldn’t put it on anyone else to make me happy [anymore], I certainly didn’t expect to get the confirmation that I received, either. The confirmation that someone could make me love myself more than I thought. Yes, that’s what I said:
I love me more than I thought I could.
That self-love came from being the real me while I was with Mr. Baseball and he likes me for me – that feels amazing! “They” say you can’t love someone until you learn to love yourself first. Is it cliché? Yes, totally but I can open my heart again because I love me, and I live me, and I feel my feelings, and I experience life, and I love every up and down that comes with it. Today, I am thankfully sober.
*The moral of the story: Learn to be alone because you will love it and, in the process, learn to love yourself and there is nothing wrong with that. 😉