Today, I got stuck driving behind what I can only think to describe as a ‘crazy lady’. In fact, she put me in mind of Cruella de Vil from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians.
I could see that she had wild hair and was arguing animatedly with her passenger. She was also smoking, and when she flicked the ash from her cigarette it landed on my windscreen. She then suddenly sped up, dangerously overtaking the car in front of her and disappeared up the road.
I’ve never seen anything like it and it put me in mind of the saying, grow or go, which has been very relevant to me over recent weeks.
It has been almost ten months now since my last alcoholic drink, and I have been thinking a lot this week about how much my life has changed during this time. At times it has not been easy staying sober but it definitely has been worth it!
I knew that I would face challenges living a life of sobriety, and that facing these challenges would ultimately be easier to deal with than the ones I faced on my worst day of drinking, but what I was perhaps unprepared for, were the changes in the attitudes of the people around me once I was sober.
There are people, like Pam, and my friends at the boxing gym, who have stood by me through it all and are genuinely happy for my successes, but there have also been people who I thought would be friends for life that are now no longer in my life.
It has been quite a painful learning experience for me, and as you know, I do not shy away from my emotions anymore, so I have sat with this pain, I have learnt from it and I am now ready to share it with you.
So here we go…grow or go!
I made some new friends before I stopped drinking alcohol.
Before I stopped drinking I had extremely low self-esteem and did not believe that I was a good enough person to have any friends. I believed what my mother had always said, that there was something wrong with me and that I deserved to be alone.
Because of this belief, I entered into the friendship feeling unequal, and because of that I gave too much of myself too soon. I extended confidences about my fears and dreams. I said yes when I wanted to say no. I responded to texts and phone calls straight away, even if I was busy, because I valued my friends more than I valued myself.
Then I had an alcohol detox and actually started to achieve some of the things I had spoken about before I got sober. I thought my friends would be happy for me but as the days of sobriety turned into weeks, and then months, my friendship started to fade. I wondered if I had done something wrong.
At first I avoided talking about my feelings with my friends because I was afraid to upset them, but then I realised that not talking would only reinforce my belief that I didn’t matter. Once I realised this I challenged my friends at the next available opportunity. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done.
It was the first time in my life that I have ever risked upsetting someone because I wanted to talk about the behaviour they were displaying that was upsetting me. It wasn’t an easy thing to do. I cried and found it difficult to speak at times but I was determined to say what was on my mind.
The response I got was quite aggressive and uncaring which really surprised, hurt and angered me. Needless to say, that conversation marked the end of our friendship.
As I walked away from two people I had thought were going to be lifelong friends I was surprised to feel a fierce sense of elation! All of the depressing emotions I had been carrying around with me for weeks had vanished. I had spoken up for myself and I owned my feelings. I knew that I was speaking from a place of love and integrity and that was why I had absolutely no feelings of remorse as I walked away.
I truly believe that we meet the people that we do for a reason. We are both teacher and student in any given moment, and through this experience I have learnt that I am a good enough person to have friends in my life. I do not deserve to be alone. My feelings and emotions are important and I have the right to question behaviour that makes me feel bad.
As we grow we change. When we change, the people around us will also have to change in order to accept the new you. If they can’t grow with you they will go.
My advice is, let them.
When you can own who you are nothing and nobody can touch you. They might try, but anything negative that is thrown at you will bounce back, just as the ‘crazy lady’s’ cigarette ash bounced off my windscreen!
When you start to grow and serve your highest purpose you will notice that the wrong kind of people will make every excuse to get away from you, like the ‘crazy lady’ speeding away, and the right kind of people will make every excuse to be near you, and you will feel the benefit of their presence in your life.
I hope you have enjoyed reading todays post.
I hope that when you need to, you can find the courage to let go of the things that no longer serve your highest purpose.
I hope you know how important you are and that your feelings matter.
And I hope you never get stuck driving behind a cigarette wielding ‘crazy lady’.
Thank you to everyone who has recently been in touch. Your messages inspire me more than I could ever explain.