Day 20 – Saturday evening, December 24: Small but definite progress

Christmas Eve day was spent helping my aunt get the house in order for the family dinner, doing a bit of cleaning in my own room, enjoying the Christmas Eve service at church, and attending to one particular are of my recovery journey… And let me just say that I find this difficult to talk about here, but that is the point of this blog – to face my fears and challenges. (It is oh so tempting to not post this.)

More than a decade ago, I began giving the love-relationship area of my life over to God. After my last relationship ended, I recognized that I did not know how to do this part of my life well. I was tired of feeling like I couldn’t shut off the “guydar” that was on constant alert and wanted to discover what it was like to let God lead me into a healthy, loving relationship. Since that decision, my progress has been gradual and sometimes challenging. In fact, I have not always been able to tell if I’m actually making progress since I have not been in a relationship in a very long time.

Friday, my aunt told me about “George” (not his real name). George and her oldest boy had been best friends in their youth and George had taken to calling my aunt “mom.” George and my aunt’s oldest son had reconnected a year or so ago and have again become the best of friends. It turned out George would be joining us for dinner.

When I learned that he was single, I knew I needed to not pretend my curiosity and possible interest would be piqued. I immediately began releasing any preconceived ideas or romantic fantasies that might come into my thoughts. As it turned out, having so many things already on my plate around my recovery, it was actually fairly easy to turn my thoughts to other things. Yay!

I helped my aunt by clipping holly branches to adorn the buffet, cleaning and decorating the front bathroom, vacuuming the carpets, and setting the table. During the afternoon, I spent time organizing the small, but chaotic collection of kitchen and food items in my room. (One of the “conveniences” of temporary living quarters is having virtually everything all in the same room…) It didn’t take long, but I appreciated how helpful even this small task of organizing was. I was rewarded by finding two items I had fruitlessly searched for earlier in the week. Besides, now I know what I have with me.

The first guests, my cousin and her spouse, arrived while I was dressing for church. I left shortly afterward and returned from church to find everyone assembled: my cousin and her spouse, two step-cousins and their spouses, my aunt and uncle, and my aunt’s other “son,” George.

I am often nervous around people I don’t know, especially single, handsome men, which he turned out to be. But my efforts over the previous day and a half paid off. It was important that I had honored my plans to attend the Christmas Eve service at church and, even more so, that I acknowledged that I am still not ready for a relationship. It took me a very long time to be willing to recognize the boundaries of my recovery and to respect where I am right now.

Right now, I have important things that need my attention: finding more work, finding a place to live, taking care of my health and finances, and focusing on my recovery. As much as I do hope to someday have a love relationship, now is not the time. Recognizing this and respecting it has taken time and effort on my part. But this evening’s dinner, even with George sitting right next to me, showed me that I am making progress.

I was grateful to discover that, with very little effort, I was relaxed and comfortable being myself in circumstances that, a short time ago, would have gone quite differently. And that was one of the best Christmas presents I could have received!

This day’s action step(s):

  • Organizing my food and kitchen stuff.
  • Keeping my attention on my recovery and letting go the circumstances around me.
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