You are so brave….

You are so brave…

In the past few months, as I have walked this path we call life, I have heard people say those 4 words to me each time I openly share with them the story of my journey with alcohol.

Until the last week or so, I never saw myself as brave.  I was just me, doing the best I can to live my life.  But now, hearing stories daily of the private suffering of people, both celebrity and not, I realize that being open and honest with my close family and friends really was brave.  I risked rejection.  I risked ridicule.  I risked being told “It’s all in my head”.  I risked hearing them tell me that I don’t really have a problem.

I am thankful that no one said any of those things to me.  I am thankful that I found support and encouragement, not judgement.  But, I am also realizing something else.  Seeking help for a mental health issue is not an action you take once, a single point in time.  It is an ongoing, constant effort.

It’s been nearly 100 days since I stopped drinking.  Each time I shared my story with someone, I in turn received a jolt of support, encouragement and energy from them.  In recent weeks I’ve been quiet with my story.  Some days are easy and I feel like I’ve got this.  Then there are days, sometimes several in a row, when I think, this is hard and I feel alone.  Today, the gorgeous sunshine and crisp clean air outside are in stark contrast to the unmotivated and fuzzy feeling I have inside my head. I’ve tried a shower.  I tried walking the dog.  I’ve tried several cups of strong tea.  Nothing has worked.

However, I noticed today that when I allow myself time to be quiet and think, rather than hide in the “busy”ness of life, I can discover the answers to my questions and worries. While walking the dog, I realized that what I really need to get me moving in the right direction is positive human interaction. Recently, I’ve had too much time alone or with people who do not know about my journey and therefore I’ve not been getting the encouragement and soul feeding energy I need to stay strong.

So, I am writing to reach out to you who read my words in hopes that you might reply and I am going to talk with someone today, likely someone new, and in doing so Be Brave by sharing my story with them.

While I reach out and seek the support I realize I need, please each of you, take time to connect with someone in your life.  Even if they look like they have it all together, and are happy and healthy, I can tell you from experience, there’s probably more to their story than you know.  Sometimes it just takes the encouragement from someone else to help each of us find our Brave Self.

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