July 1st is my 6 months of complete sobriety. I actually didn’t realize it’s been that long until I counted out the months on my fingers a couple nights ago lying in bed. 6 months already? Wow. A couple days after realizing this, I attended my great friend Colleen’s wedding. As I sit here today, 6 months sober, reflecting on how different I acted at this event as opposed to how the old Kandace would have, I am blown away. I feel a whole new sense of mental clarity. I really stepped out of my comfort zone. HARD.
I have always labeled myself as a “shy” person. I just assumed people got that and understood, I expected other people to start conversations and talk to me. It wasn’t until very recently as I was listening to some personal development by Chalene Johnson in the Courageous Confidence Club, that I realized something huge. Being shy is not an attractive quality for me and I needed to tremendously work on that Chalene said, “being shy is cute, when you’re 3.” Yea…I get it now. I now understand that my shyness and lack of social skills was making other people uncomfortable. I would sit in a group and not say one word. People probably thought I didn’t like them! WHAT!? No! That is NOT the vibe I was trying to put off. Darn it. I am determined to improve this. I will improve this.
In any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.
I wanted to explain a little bit about how different I feel being sober. Upon my chosen sobriety I have come to realize that I do not like the person I become when I drink. I did not like the way alcohol made me feel. I always get sick. It never fails. My body was telling me something and I wasn’t listening. For more than 5 years I ignored signs that alcohol did not agree with my body. I started a challenge with a close friend to provide support. She was trying to get sober and I said I would absolutely do this with her and she did not have to do it alone. I knew that I did not have an addiction, thankfully, so I would be able to fully support her decision and stay on track. The length was 10 days and even after those 10 days, I continued to not drink. It just felt right. The last time I had an alcoholic beverage was a lemon drop martini on NYE at midnight! I have nothing against people who drink, I just like myself better this way.
Although my husband was unable to attend the wedding with me, I told myself, I can totally do this alone. I CAN do this. I have to. I drove 2 hours and some of that was through the mountains, where I felt I surely was on the wrong road because there wasn’t another car in sight for 30+ miles. I even drove quite a ways off road in the dirt, through a very little creek bed, up “butt pucker hill”, with NO cell service! But, I did it. When I arrived at the wedding, I told myself before I got out of the car, “You are going to be okay, you are going to make friends. Just smile.” I walked in to the event and my eyes skimmed the premises for a familiar face, ANY familiar face. Didn’t see any… Hmmph. Little piece of panic and fear trying to sneak in. I pushed those out quick and trucked on. Oh hey, I know the dog, I’ll say hi to the dog! “Hi Zula, Hi Jett!” Yea that happened… I was then greeted by Sean, the groom, and he had this way of making me feel like we’ve been friends forever. I immediately relaxed. We exchanged a few words and then the crowd of people was instructed to make their way into the meadow area to the ceremony location!
When we got to the the seating area where we would wait for the ceremony to start, I spotted someone whom I tremendously look up to in the business. Lindsay Stay (9 Star
Diamond & 2x Elite Coach) sitting in an empty row with her husband and son. I immediately sat 2 rows behind her, as the old Kandace would have done. “No, you get up and go introduce yourself to her and sit next to her!”, I mentally instructed my new confident comfortable self. I got my butt up and did it. She was AWESOME. I learned she had traveled to Tahoe for the wedding and that it was also her 4th anniversary on July 1st! I told her that I had been reading her blog and learning about her journey and how much I loved it. She asked about me and we got on the subject of how I was traveling alone through the mountains all the way out here. She said, “Wow I wouldn’t have been able to do that alone!” I said that I had no choice, I had to be here. It was too important to me. She responded with, “You CAN do hard things!
WHOAH! Yes. I. Can. I can do hard things!
After I cried my eyes out during the beautiful ceremony, I made my way over to the elegant glittery DIY decorated tables. And now came the hard part. I had to make friends! EEK EEK EEK. I told myself I was going to sit at a table where I knew no one and do my best to start conversations. The old sober Kandace would have sat in the corner and hid all night. I found a table with two girls and asked if I could sit with them. We exchanged introductions and I stayed at their table with all of their friends all night. I asked many questions and learned about them, where they were from, what they like to do, how they knew the bride and groom. They asked questions about me and I got to share a little bit of my story. The old Kandace was never the first to make new friends. Making new friends was scary and uncomfortable. Unless I had a drink in my hand, courage did not exist in my book. I would quit whatever I was doing as soon as it got remotely close to uncomfortable.
Throughout the evening I made my way through all of the guests to connect with some fellow coaches/team members that were at the wedding. Bethany, Meaghan, Danielle &
Katie. Yay, I have real friends in person, not just a bunch of internet friends! That felt awesome, safe, loving, warm. Danielle and I ended up out on the dance floor together all night long! If you know me,
then you know I have a fear of dancing in public because it has been very uncomfortable for me to learn how to be sober in the usual drunk situations! The old Kandace only danced when she was drinking. Period. End of story. I am proud to say that I conquered that fear. I danced in public, sober AND I had a blast. I did it and I did not die. This community of coaches never ceases to amaze me with the amount of support and love I receive on every single level. I even celebrated with Jinelle on the phone today about dancing. She knows how big of a step this was for me and how hard it was for me to put myself out there. I CAN do hard things!
Making the choice to eliminate alcohol from my life left me analyzing who I was when I drank. I realize I do not like not having 100% control over my body and mind. I want to be the type of person that can do daring and adventurous things while being fully present and aware while doing them. I want to remember how courageous and proud of myself I felt while pushing out of my comfort zone, no need for any liquid courage! I now know that I don’t need it and that feels better than anything! I have come to find that I just really want to know myself better and this is the way I am choosing to do it. For me.