Learning to Walk Before Running
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Learning to Walk Before Running


This post was originally published on April 23, 2014.

I’m having one of those days where I’ve needed the presence of huge faith surrounding me. Lately, I feel like my life is kind of stagnant. Things are in the process of getting where I want them to be but like the professional alcoholic I am, I want everything to hurry up. Patience and having faith are concepts I’m still learning to navigate.

I very often feel like a toddler trying to walk for the very first time. I’m getting up and managing to balance myself on my legs, and it feels wonderful to be strong enough to stand on my own. I feel empowered. I want to do it all by myself. I don’t want to hold anyone’s hand anymore. I don’t want to be told what to do. I want to be a big girl.

I wobble a little bit. It makes me a little fearful and I question if I can actually do this. Some fear sets in and sometimes I can rebalance myself while other times I fall on my ass. And when I fall, I cry with sheer frustration just like a toddler. I want to scream and throw a tantrum. But my determination makes me get back up again and eventually I start to make some headway, maybe taking one or two small steps forward, usually falling on my ass again, but always, always, managing to find the strength to get back up.

With each new attempt to walk, I realize that I have learned some great lessons from my last failure. I’ve learned that I need to plant my feet more firmly on the ground and take things a little bit slower. I know now that slow and steady is what works best for me, yet there are times where I almost lose my mind with impatience and so I try running. On occasion I can in fact make some progress when I run, but ultimately it doesn’t last. When I do that, it’s not my ass I fall on but my face—and that hurts. And a broken face takes much longer to heal than a broken ass. You can cover your ass pretty well so nobody sees the cuts and bruises, and my ass has quite a bit of padding so the pain is minimal. But with your face—well, you have the whole pride thing to deal with, right? Nobody wants the world to be able to see their failures, and too often I haven’t been able to deal with my bruised ego or the ugliness of having my face broken.

And let’s be honest here. I’ve failed at the same thing many times because I’ve insisted on running. Running from life, running through life, running to life. Marriage, jobs, recovery, friendships, lovers, money, run run run. Kicking up dust in all directions—so much dust that eventually I got lost and had to find my way back to the start again. My heart heavy and head hanging, I’d swim back to the beginning with tears of disappointment at yet another shattered dream while blaming the world and all its inhabitants for what I had manifested. Things seemed to be going so well. Where did it all go wrong?

So for me, having lived my life in the fast lane for what seems like eternity, patience and trusting that a power bigger than myself knows what’s best for me can be torture. Actually, scratch “can be torture”— it’s total torture. Again, I’m like that toddler whose mother insists on putting those horrendous leash type restraints on me so I won’t get away. And as inhumane as it seems, it’s the best thing for me because it’s saving me from my own innocence or perhaps ignorance. It is a definite must for me to become mature and responsible before setting me lose on the world. I have a habit of creating chaos; ask anyone who knows me.

While I’ve been learning to walk, I’ve also become conscious of what my talents and assets are. But making me aware of things like these only further fuels my frustration. It makes my zest for living all the greater and I become dissatisfied with my surroundings. See, in my head, when I make a plan or want something, it’s supposed to materialize instantly. You see, in the past, during my drinking and using days, things did materialize instantly. I just pretty much took what I wanted. There was no mature or rational thinking about my actions. I wanted what I wanted, regardless of the consequences. But back then, I didn’t really want much—just instant gratification, which is cheap and easy to obtain but boy, does living like that kill your soul.

So today, my hands are tied. I’m home, my car is with the mechanic being fixed, money is tight and I’m waiting on other people to get back to me about work. My head is going a million miles an hour trying to scheme a plan to push things along. Yet I’m forced to sit tight until everything unfolds. My impatience is oozing out through my skin at this point. I hate waiting. When I want something, those mundane things—the lawn that could use cutting or the pile of dishes that needs washing—seem trivial and beneath me. I know that the next right thing to do would be to cut that grass and wash those dishes, but my ego loves to fill me with delusions of grandeur and so thoughts of having a cleaner and a gardener occupy my mind. See how I love to catapult over reality?

But today the divine plan seems to be to put a halt to my escapades. I’ve been forced to slow down, find gratitude for all that I have at this moment and all the people in my life that continually support me. I can be a horrendously ungrateful woman at times. Even days like this are full of endless possibilities, and when everything does unfold eventually, I’ll surely be too busy to tie my shoes, wishing for days like this and wondering why I was feeling so discontent.

Ah, there I go again, running before I can walk.

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About Author

Nicola O’Hanlon is part of the blogging community for the recovery website intherooms.com. You can see her blogs on iloverecovery.com. She was born and still lives in Wexford, Ireland.