5 years ago I was beginning my new year having given up drinking alcohol. For the first time I felt that the New Year was going to be really, really challenging. After all I enjoyed to drink with friends, so how on earth was I going to manage socialising without drink. How easy can that be? I was partly filled with dread, and partly filled with excitement. Excitement came from the fact that I had hoped I would give up drink for many years, but always found a way to put it off. Denial was always in the way. This particular year would be different.
In order to get my New Year resolution off to a flying start I joined a salsa club. The first night I went I was late arriving. I couldn’t believe I was actually about to go into a room full of strangers and learn how to dance. How mad is that?! I hung around in the car park kicking my feet around and tried to put myself off from doing this act of what felt at the time, complete humiliation or certain social suicide if my drinking buddies ever found out.
But I did get the courage up eventually. The room was full. Mostly women and with their friends. Everyone was kind of nervously wondering what they were all doing there. Most people it turned out, were just there to learn how to dance. I was definitely more unusual because I was sure that I was the only one there that was trying to juggle both giving up drinking as well as taking up dancing.
After 2 hours or so of trying hopelessly to keep the Latin up tempo beat the class came to a close. I actually enjoyed it. It was fun. And most of all there were others more or less in the same boat as me, just looking for a change. A change in perspective is always a good thing, because it’s refreshing and makes you look at the world differently. Salsa dancing was something I’d only tried once before and I was fairly drunk and totally self conscious. But this time was different. I felt that in time it would be something I could get my head round and learn and enjoy learning as well.
I went the following week and soon I was progressing through the classes and learning more difficult routines. I’d made friends with some of the regulars and was soon going to both the twice weekly classes.
Getting beyond the fear I had of making a fool of myself was the hardest part, but once you’ve done that and you realise how little there was to fear, the rest was easy. What’s the worst thing that could happen?! Dr. Pepper – always there in my mind. I mean, once you realise that there is really nothing to lose, you end up having a lot of fun! Most people who went were it turned out all looking for a chance to do something slightly different.
For me, it really helped me along my road to recovery. It was still months before I told people where I was going on Tuesday & Thursday nights, but once I did, I felt totally free and happy with my life.
If you’re reading this and thinking of drinking less or even giving up completely this year then go for it. You won’t regret it. Post your comment and tell how you’re getting on.