Worlds Are Colliding!

I had an interesting experience last night that I thought I’d share about today.  I was asked to speak at a lecture series run by an organization called PRO-ACT (Pennsylvania Recovery Organization-Achieving Community Together), which is an advocacy and recovery support initiative.  My lecture was a compilation of the series I wrote on this blog, found in the category labelled Twelve Steps in Everyday Living, in case you are interested.

Here are the reasons why last night was unique.  First, I have never done anything quite like it before.  In AA, I have been asked to share my story multiple times, and of course that has certain anxieties associated with it, but this felt a lot different.  I guess when I am telling someone my life story, there is no room for opinion or rebuttal.  It’s not like someone is going to stand up and say, “No, I don’t agree that you lived like that!”  Whereas in presenting my writing, there is room for criticism, or dissenting opinion, or complete disinterest (I guess, now that I think about it, there could be complete disinterest in my life story, but so far I have not encountered it!).

Another difference is the audience.  In AA, I feel at home, and I believe that at the heart of it we are all the same.  In this room of about 50, I have no idea who is really present, because it is open to the public.  For all I know TMZ was there recording me so they could make fun of me on that night’s broadcast (I sincerely hope everyone knows me well enough to know that I am joking!).  Yes, I do put my writing and opinion out there for the blogging world to see, but there is certainly more anonymity in sitting at my home computer than there is standing at a podium in front of live human beings.

So, I definitely had serious butterflies going into the evening.  I arrived, and found I would be the second of the two scheduled speakers… whew!  I have some time to relax.  I sat through the first speaker, ironically enough the subject was mindfulness, that poor woman certainly had at least one audience member completely unable to stay in the present!  There was a break, and the hosts were setting up my power point presentation, and…

In walked my husband, who rushed as quickly as he could from our daughter’s basketball game to come and support me.  Such a beautiful moment, and I thanked him immediately, but also said I would be able to give more genuine gratitude once my lecture was finished.  We’re chit-chatting, in an attempt to calm my frayed nerves, and the thought occurred to me…

I am going to share my story in front of my husband!

Now, true enough, the majority of this lecture is material he has already read, but the first 5-10 minutes of it was my qualification, why I have the right to be standing in front of these people and discussing the 12 steps of recovery.  To qualify myself, I need to give the highlights, or, rather, lowlights, of my active addiction, and the consequences of it.  Ye Gads, I thought I was nervous before this thought, that was nothing compared to what I was feeling now!

And then I mentally reviewed all that I was going to cover.  Am I revealing any new truths?  Nope.  Covering ground that hadn’t yet been covered by us as a couple?  Again, no.  Am I, at the heart of it all, speaking my own personal truth, and am I willing to stand by what I am saying?  That’s a big Hell Yeah!

So I took a deep breath, and, as those marketing geniuses at Nike would say… I just did it.  And I got through it, without embarrassing myself in any way (that I am aware of).  And no one ran out of the room screaming, no one fell asleep in their chairs (that I am aware of), so I guess I will call it a success.  But for me, the biggest takeaway, I will list below…

Today’s Miracle:

That I can tell my story, I can share my real self, and my husband tells me that he has never been prouder of me… that is a real miracle.

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Posted on July 17, 2013, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Your miracle made me tear up! So happy for you! At the end of the day, all that matters is LOVE!

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  2. You are awesome! I’m SO proud of you for standing up there and sharing your story! We need more people like you to help defy the stigma associated with our disease. You rock – and sounds like you’re hubby is pretty great too!

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  3. Congratulations! I agree speaking to a mixed audience feels different from sharing your story at a meeting… for me it’s interesting trying to craft a presentation appropriately without giving up any authenticity. Sounds as if you’re making a great contribution!

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  4. i’m so glad to have such strong friends that can inspire me like you do!

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  5. Way to go Josie!

    So funny too, I loved that Seinfeld episode.

    Man, I used to work so hard to keep all my lives separate. I was quite the master juggler. But ugh when those balls dropped….. So wonderful to live a fully present, genuine and single life now.

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    • Isn’t it the best? You keyed in to the exact moment of peace for me before the speech… when I was already nervous, then in a panic when I realized I would be disclosing in front of my husband for the first time, and then… I thought about it… and… peace. Because there is nothing to disclose. Probably one of the top 3 miracles of recovery!

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  6. ohhh this brings back memories of an amends I had to make to my husband for something he didn’t know about, but clearly my worlds were gonna collide whether I told him or not, better to fess up. You, you, you … always give me the best thoughts

    ps. I want to apologize so much for the delayed reply, yet I know I committed to not apologizing, yet I must because I love your posts …. ughhhhh … I’m in a conundrum. How do I keep up with all the bloggers I love? What to do, what to do? How does Paul do it?

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    • Lisa, I see some regression going on!!! What the heck are you apologizing for?!? And I could not agree more; in fact, I believe my next post is going to be titled “How Does Paul Do It.” For the record, I am laughing right now as I’m mentally composing that post, I could totally do it!

      Anywho, oh man, you just hit on the exact barrier I am having with respect to continuing on with my amends process… the idea of admitting to something no one knows about. I know it needs to be done, but damned if I don’t want to do it, and so on and on I drag my feet. Obviously, you are still married, so I am guessing that tale had a happy ending. Thankfully, my amends have to do with people other than my husband, I did get him out of the way (he was first, actually), but still, those feelings are the same, no matter who the person is.

      Have to run to the orthodontist (don’t you just love the well-check/fill the forms out time of year?), but I am hoping to have some reading time later this afternoon!

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