If tons of snow and impassable roads have taught me anything, it’s that I’d never make it as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel.  Just the idea of confinement gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Step three: made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.

It’s the uncomfortableness of my own skin that is brought into sharp focus whenever a blizzard hits. Or a really bad thunderstorm that knocks down trees.  My deep-seeded need to run, escape and isolate comes flooding back whenever that very possibility is threatened.  I might not have anywhere to go; it’s just enough to know that I can’t go anywhere that will start me on a low-grade panic.  I become a caged animal unsuccessfully convincing itself that the cage is just fine, thanks for asking.

I’d like to chalk some of it up to remnants of my drinking: the ghost movements of an amputated arm.  And I’m sure there’s something to that. But I also know that there’s something more deeply rooted, something that caused me to drink in the first place, something that had me searching exits at an early age.

Again, it’s fear.  Of not being excepted.  Of not fitting in.  Of not belonging.

However, these are also issues that, thanks to this program, I’ve identified and started working through my daily practice.  For instance, I’m much more engaged with my coworkers. That never happened before. Ever. I’ve also been known to recently start up friendly conversations while waiting in line. That definitely never happened in the past.

To some degree, I’m learning how to function with strangers, then to a lesser degree with friends, and then to a still lesser degree than that, family. Funny how it works inversely to the way I think it should, right?  I assume it’s because I feel like I can unmask when I get home; take off the happy face and the “everything’s alright” demeanor, and revert to my old dry self: irritable, anxious, edgy.

Well, here’s the thing about the program: I can’t ration it out.  It’s kind of an all-or-nothing thing.  I need to suit up and show up, even after I’ve taken off my suit.

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