Today was a full day with the boys – lots of fun Momma-time doing things C doesn’t usually do like eat sweets for breakfast, go to Chic-fil-A, eat a “picnic” dinner in front of the TV. I know, I know… routine is important, but once in awhile, ya got to mix it up for fun.
While the day was too busy to do much reflecting, in the back of my mind I’ve been going over the dinner I had on Thursday with a good girlfriend of mine – the first dinner with her since I’d quit.
Usually, these Girls Night Out evenings with A would involve dinner, lots of wine (at least on my part) and at some point, a tearful exchange after complaining about my sad and lonely marriage. I knew, in the back of my head, that I was burdening her with my issues and that it was rather pathetic and needy. But I did it anyway.
This time, I’m in an entirely different place, and I looked forward to the opportunity to exercise that. I resolved to let her do most of the talking, and when I spoke, to talk only positively about my marriage and the kids.
The meal went well, and I succeeded both at being a good listener and at expressing only positivity, genuine – not manufactured. And throughout the evening, little thoughts would occur to me, as they have in the past:
-This is the point where I would have had a couple and been interrupting her to share my own related story, pulling the focus back to myself.
-This is where I would have been half in the bag and crying, playing the pity-card and hoping for her empathy.
-This is the point where I would be regretting sharing so much with her about our marriage, feeling like I’d crossed a line but not knowing how to stop myself.
But at each of those moments, I wasn’t. I was listening – really there, really connecting. For the most part, my mind was clear (aside from these little blinks here and there) and able to focus on her words without translating it instantly into my own experience.
These “firsts” with friends have been encouraging, as they reveal to me how much I’ve changed. Whether it’s the lack of alcohol, or the awareness that sobriety brings, or the willingness to work on myself, or all of it, I don’t know.
But I’m grateful.