Day 44: Learning Limits

Sometimes I think I know myself better than I do.

Sobriety has given me so much more confidence in myself than I’ve ever had before.

But, confidence is a tricky thing. It can give you the impression that you’re ready for things, when in fact, that’s not quite true. While believing in myself and feeling powerful is a stupendous rush, it can also take me out of it. Take me out of the moment I’m in, and, I forget that it’s not me who’s in charge. While turning my life over to my God and his plans for me has been one of the most rewarding gifts of my sobriety, thus far, sometimes those gifts empower me just enough to make me think I can break away. Go back to handling it all on my own. And that, my friends, could not be farther from the truth.

I mentioned just a few days ago in my Day 42 Post, that I took myself out Saturday night, despite having other plans for myself. I wanted to get myself out there. Exit my comfort zone and live. And, I did, sort of. But, the experiment was not as successful as I was hoping. I got ready, left my apartment, and headed to Plan B, a music venue and, yes, a bar, here in Portland, OR. I was planning to meet a fellow AA at the club at 9PM for another AA’s metal show.

I arrived, smoked several cigarettes outside, and ventured in. Paying the cover, getting my hand stamped, then, walking into the sea of studded, black denim and patch clad metal heads that stood before me. This was so not my scene. But, there I was. Repeating: You’re outside the comfort zone, this is good. My eyes scanned the room for my friend. Nowhere to be found. I checked the smoking patio out back. Nope.

There I stood. The most non-metal person you will ever meet. A sore, sober thumb. Groups of smelly, angsty twenty-somethings paraded around me, clinging to their PBR and Hamm’s tall boys. I didn’t even want a drink. But, it occurred to me that just holding one would make me infinitely less awkward. A signal to the rest of the group that, despite the fact I looked like I should be attending a Coldplay concert, I could hang.

I went to the bar and ordered a soda water with lime. It looked just like my old stand-by, Stoli and Soda, extra limes. I sat at the bar, feeling now, with my glass in hand, somewhat better. And, then it occurred to me how those feelings and thoughts I was having, were pretty fucked up.

I wasn’t drinking alcohol, but, I sure as fuck was back in that zone. And, that zone, has nothing to do with comfort.

I wanted to get the fuck out of there. And, at that precise moment, my friend walked in. He wanted to eat, so we walked over to the food carts on Hawthorne and 12th. Ate and chatted. And, I politely said, I’m not going back to the show. I need to go home. Got in my car and came home to my kitty cat.

I am not ready to be back in a bar yet. I have a set limit of tolerance, but, Saturday night, it was exceeded. So, my jaunt out of the comfort zone served a purpose, it revealed something to me:

There is a ceiling on your comfort zone. Set limits and respect them, lest we find ourselves at the threshold of a much bigger predicament than whether or not Saturday night is going to kick ass.

Movie night on the couch,  YES. Metal bars without a support system, NO.

Limits and lessons learned.

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