I actually touched a book!! I really have to give a HUGE shout out to my support group! Wow, they were there for me last night.
Before I left the house, my husband took me down to the basement and said, "Ok, it's time. Get a book." So I grabbed a plastic grocery bag, and while using it like a glove, I picked up a book and placed it, and my "glove" in another shopping bag. I then went to my group with my contaminated package. As soon as I showed up, I told everyone what was in the bag. Immediately, the group leader (who also happens to be a therapist) picked up my bag, took the book out, and held it. He then asked everyone if they would hold it and several fellow group members took turns holding it because they knew it would help me. Amazing. I was really touched. At that point, I had to hold the book - I couldn't disappoint them. So, I took it. You know what? As usual, the anticipatory anxiety was much worse than the reality. I did shed some tears. I'm not sure why. I think it was just all the pent up emotions I was experiencing.
Last night after group, like we do most meeting nights, we went to a local restaurant just to hang out and socialize a bit. I even took the book with me to the restaurant and, after a few tense minutes, placed it on the table next to me while I ate. When I got home, I put the book on the kitchen counter as my husband had suggested, where it is still sitting now.
I realize that this ERP is only partially done, however. I am now comfortable with this book, because so many others held it and told me that it was ok to hold it. The other books on the shelf still seem a bit scary to me. The best thing I can do is to take a different book every day, handle it, and put it on my kitchen counter. I need to keep doing this until the anxiety is gone. That makes me nervous just thinking about it. I'm not sure I will do this right away. I know I will do it though, eventually. The sooner, the better.
So there you have it. I also want to say a GIANT thank you to all of you who commented, and encouraged me, and reminded me to not be too hard on myself if I didn't go through with this ERP. Your constant support has been an incredible gift. I would never, ever, in a million years, have thought I could make true friendships in an online situation, but that is how I think of you all. Good night, dear Friends. God Bless.