How to Conquer Fear by Getting Sober

There were three searches about fear yesterday… conquering it, conclusions about it, and overcoming it. I’m going to take fear one more step and apply it to becoming sober. It has been my experience that I was only able to conquer fear when sober, so that’s what I’ll speak to.

It wasn’t until many years sober that I realized how much fear had ruled my life as a child and then during my drinking days. Basically, everything I did was dictated by fear of some sort… fear of not being good enough, that you wouldn’t like me,  that  I would make you mad or bother you… and the list goes on.

Let’s turn our attention now to the days I have been sober, my days in sobriety. It has taken me many years as a sober person to drop my fears that I am not good enough, although I sometimes return there, even today. What I have found in sobriety is that I experience the fear, but then I use faith to gain the courage to move forward, despite the fear. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I do that.

I’m talking about little things that don’t scare many people… like calling or introducing myself to people to let them know who I am, what I do, and to inform them of my services. I get all fearful, and yet, I need to just do it, like Nike says. So I do, and everything turns out well, just as it was intended to be.

The fear which keeps you from getting sober warrants discussion. What about getting sober scares you? Define that for yourself, in all the possible ways. For me, it was not knowing how I would exist without alcohol in my life… how would I spend my time? It was fear of the unknown. Loss of a lifestyle, even though my current life was detrimental to my spirit and well-being, it was still familiar and, in a sick way, comforting.

At a deeper level, I resisted getting sober because a piece of my heart knew I had to drag out all the heartaches of my life and look at them. I didn’t want to do that and I avoided it. Heck! I drank to escape those feelings!! It took me many years of sobriety to realize that in the end, “those feelings” I was escaping were joy and peace.

So, how can you move forward past your fears? Consider the action or result that your fear is preventing. Define a task that will accomplish your desired action/result. Break the task down into smaller parts or sub-tasks, and do one piece at a time, one phone call at a time, one day at a time. The key here is perseverance. When you accomplish a sub-task, praise yourself with positive self-talk.

Getting and staying sober has allowed me to persevere in countless situations, numerous times. It has allowed me to move forward with courage rather than being stuck in my fear. Heck, I just sent a letter, two actually, to Michelle Obama, inviting her to open a dialogue about her activities with the Vietnam vets. Talk about getting past fears! I needed information and our differences in roles in the world made no matter, as I was reaching out person-to-person, one human to the next.

The thing about getting sober is that, if you stick with it and persevere, you will reap so many emotional benefits in addition to conquering your fears. To conquer your fears, first list them out. Then write out what you think will happen in each given situation. Then write about what you want to be different and how that looks for you. See if the fears have lessened…

The thing about conquering fear is that, if you look it in the eye, acknowledge it, and then befriend it, just notice it, it lessens. How can you move forward in your life, despite fear? What is the one major thing you have been putting off, procrastinating, due to fear? I invite you to leave a comment.

 

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Finding the Courage to Follow Your Dream

Good morning! We are now on a schedule of blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Today we will talk about how to find the courage to follow your dream.

Perhaps you have the dream to become a caterer, or a teacher. Whatever the desire you hold, if it is coming from your heart, perhaps it is your divine path.

Listen to those urgings, the tug at your heartstrings, for it is your intended path. Even if you feel the pulling, it is frightening to follow a dream.

It takes courage to follow a dream, and some daring to stand out. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be a great caterer, or a teacher, or whatever your dream is?” We don’t feel worthy, so we ignore the voices of our heart and soul. 

Instead, we go to jobs every day that do not fulfill our soul’s desire. After a while, our soul dies and we feel lethargic, listless. We are tired and irritable with our family when we get home after a whole day of  pushing ourselves through a job we perhaps despise.

What is one remedy? If we are aware of a dream we have, we can make the decision and commitment to follow it. This takes a lot of guts, or courage. Courage is what allows us to move forward in the face of fear.

Step out, Stop playing small. Be the light the divine forces of the Universe want and intend you to be. Find the resources you need to move forward, even if you don’t think what you have is sufficient. When you move in the direction of your dream, the Universe steps forward and brings you what you need. It just seems to work that way…

Identify what is holding you back from following your dream. If it is fear, pray for the courage to move forward, even just a step at a time. See what happens when you do.  Follow your dream and it will bring you closer to peace.

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Fear of Following Your Dreams

Good morning. I have been at a conference for the past four days, learning how to become a speaker. It was a dynamite workshop! I am armed with the tools to move forward with my dream of speaking to audiences about how to find peace of mind from anxiety and agitation.

Do you have a dream for your life? Are you living that dream? Chances are, if you are not living that dream, it is because of fear… fear of the unknown, fear that you are not good enough, fear to let go of the unhappy life you are living and step into a new way of being.

Just because you step into something new does not mean you have quelled all fear. For example, I am about to embark upon a new career of speaking, and I am terrified.

The terror is that I will not know what to say, that I won’t get it “right,” that my mind will go blank while I am on stage, that I will look stupid to the audience. I feel all of this and still, I press on. Why do I do that? Why do I continue to work my way toward my dream? Why don’t I allow the fear to win?

The truth is, I am allowing the fear to slow me down, allowing it to hamper my movement forward. Still, I inch forward through that fear. I will not allow it to stop me.

Through the actions I take, I will be able to move past the fear. That is not to say that the fear will be gone. Oh, no. I will continue to move forward despite the fear because I feel so strongly that I have a message intended to be shared with the world.

Because that belief is so strong, I will move forward even though I still feel fear. Will it feel uncomfortable? Most likely. Yet, I am bound and determined not to let that stop me. I will notice and acknowledge the fear, and I will gain strength and courage to move forward through it despite its presence. 

That’s the thing about fear – we can continue to move forward toward our dreams even though we feel it. It will not hurt us. What will hurt us, however, is allowing that fear to stop us in our pursuit of our dream, our happiness. If we don’t try, we will feel we have failed. We will kill our spirit if we do not pursue those dreams we hold dear to our heart. 

So, let’s take a look at our dreams, our desires, and let’s identify and acknowledge any fears that come up. Allow them to be and gently move forward anyway. When we can do this, we will feel victorious, and eventually, the fear will subside, or not. But we know we can set aside that fear and still meet our heart’s desires.

 

 

 

 

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Life Offers A Realm of Possibilities

Realm of Possibilities

Realm of Possibilities

“If I climb the steps, anything is possible. Anything.”

This is the photo that appears on the cover of my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. It is representative of the many possibilities available to us if we climb the steps.

And what are the steps we are to climb? All of the things we have been discussing in this blog… first surrender, then awareness of the world around us. We next climb the step into trust of a power greater than us, which leads us to courage and humility

With honesty, openness, and willingness, we have the keys to continue up the stairway and we commit to our journey. We conduct a self-appraisal to discover our strengths and our weaknesses, doing so with gentleness and compassion.

These are things which we show for others around us, and we add in kindness. Once we have learned how to show compassion for ourselves and others, we are led to forgiveness, also of ourselves and others. We finally are able to accept ourselves and our lives as they are, and we feel hope. 

We persevere with patience, while we respect and acknowledge others. We treat them without judgment, and we engage in dialogue with them. When we do all of these things, we will experience grace and wonder. Throw into the mix a lot of gratitude, and the world is our oyster. We are prepared to do anything, as we will have grown stronger.

If we do all these things, we will discover when we get to the top of the stairs, that there are vast numbers of possibilities available to us. All we have to do is quietly take note. We can begin to bask in peace and our sobriety will be easier to maintain.

Today, while you practice all the principles of living we have discussed, find yourself at the top of the stairs and see how many possibilities there are for you. You will be delighted with the choices you have.

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Getting Past Hopelessness

This morning we continue on in my book and reach hope. We have now experienced ways for getting past hopelessness.

Ray of Hope

Ray of Hope

“A ray of light across the bars of my being lights my way, instills hope in my heart.” This is the verse that accompanies the photo on the left.

Hopelessness is defined as having no expectation of an event occurring, being despondent. Despondent implies being in very low spirits due to a loss of hope and a sense of futility about continuing our efforts.

Hope, on the other hand, is defined as a feeling that what is wanted will happen, a desire accompanied by expectation. It is hope which we want to cultivate in order to dispel hopelessness.

We have come a long way in our journey and have learned several tools and ways to act and behave that will be useful in combatting hopelessness. We have learned to surrender the pretense that everything is fine with us and we have discussed awakening to awareness of what is going on around and within us.

We have learned to trust in a power greater than ourselves, and to have courage and humility. Ways to treat ourselves with such things as gentleness, kindness, and compassion have been discussed.

We have become honest about ourselves and heave learned to practice willingness, to commit to the journey, to move forward. Finally, we have learned the tremendous tool of how to conduct a self-appraisal. Through that appraisal, we have come to forgiveness of both others and ourselves. Do you see how far we’ve come?

Now, after going through what we have, we have learned to accept ourselves. All of these things in combination provide for us a ray of hope that life can and will get better for us. Hopefully, it already has begun to do so.

We focus on that ray of hope as we work on getting past hopelessness, allowing hope to grow. We take a deep breath, reveling in this new-found hope, and we allow it to blossom.

Today, take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come, and begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the way past hopelessness to sobriety and inner peace.

 

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Resonating with Our Own Morals, Truth, and Integrity

As we move further in our journey to sobriety and peace, the next topic discusses our morals, truth, and integrity.

Pillar of Strength

Pillar of Strength

“Perhaps, rather than thinking I must make my morals, truth, and integrity match another’s, I can determine what resonates with my own heart. When it does, I have the strength of a pillar.”

In life, we often are swayed by another’s beliefs, especially if that person is domineering and we are retiring in response to that domination. Or, we adopt another’s morals, truth and integrity to fit in, to be liked.

That deviation from our own beliefs affects our soul, I believe, and when we exude our own morals, truth, and integrity, we have an inner strength, as strong as the pillar pictured above.

To determine if we are adopting another’s beliefs, we can ask ourselves the following questions:

  • are we being what others want us to be?
  • are we compromising who we are by doing that?
  • can we feel how that is affecting our spirit?

Sometimes it is very difficult to develop and live out our own truths. I experienced that in my marriage because my husband was very insistent I buy into his morals. truths, and integrity. I did, because otherwise, an argument ensued. So, I did it to keep peace.

Finally, I was pulled from that relationship due to a love I had developed for another man. What a blessing that was, I can say in retrospect. At the time, however, I was devastated. That’s a whole other story…

We need to assess our safety when we speak out in belief of our truths. Are we in a safe environment, a safe relationship? Are we likely to get hit if we speak out on our behalf? If so, speaking up is not wise, so we then ask ourselves, can we get out of this relationship? To stay in such a union degrades our spirit and our soul, little-by-little, day-after-day. Is that what we want?

Being moral is what is good and right in our conduct; it is making the distinction between right and wrong. Integrity is the state of being of sound moral principle, being upright, honest, and sincere. It is the quality of being whole and sound.

When we find ourselves speaking our truths, we will feel our words resonating with our heart and this is how we will know we are practicing our own morals, truth, and integrity. That is when we will be our strongest, our most whole. We can take that strength into our daily lives.

Do you practice your own morals, truth, and integrity? Is it safe for you to do so? If not, can you leave the relationship? If it is safe, can you gain the courage to speak out with your beliefs, to act upon your own morals, truth, and integrity? For today, try speaking up with your own beliefs. See how freeing that feels.

 

 

 

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Spaces of Courage

We have talked about emotions – facing and feeling them. It takes spaces of courage to face the demons those emotions present. We have also talked about belief in a power greater than ourselves that can help us dispel those demons. I would like to share the verse that accompanies the image for courage, as it speaks to both issues.

Spaces of Courage

Spaces of Courage

“We all hold feelings, of hurt, disappointment, grief and despair deep within from which we desperately seek relief. We repress it, drink it away, or turn to another to make it right.

“Perhaps, rather than cast the paiin out of our heart or give it to another, it would be better to find the courage to touch that oh-so-vulnerable spot, to hold the pain tenderly, gently… with great compassion.

“If we find the courage to invite in a sacred force to embrace those deep wounds with us, perhaps we will be graced with the ability to befriend our pain and then, to heal.”

This verse was written verbatim when I was traveling in Baja in 2002. I was driving along, sobbing over an unrequited love, and pulled off to the side of the road to write this down. Years later, in 2005, I discovered this church and its gate. The words fit perfectly with the image.

In those intervening years, I had gained the courage to face my emotions, the deep and horrible hurt that I experienced. And although they didn’t resolve right away, I asked for help from the powers of the Universe to help me get through the hurt. Eventually, I was healed from the hurts and was able to move forward. That took courage, which I got from that power greater than me.

We can find the courage to examine our inner-most emotional pain by asking for help from the Universe, God, or whatever we call the power greater than us. In this example, that power led me through the healing needed to cleanse my heart of the wounds it housed.

They say courage is moving forward in the face of fear. I have found that to be true in sobriety. In those situations where I am fearful and move forward anyway, I always ask for and receive help from my higher power. The result of finding the courage to face my emotions has paid off big time, as I have healed most all of my wounds at a deep level, leaving feelings of joy and peace.

You, too, can find the courage to face your emotional wounds and heal from them, rather than repressing your emotions, drinking them away, or turning to another to make them right. Try following what is described in the verse above, and see if it helps. I wish you well in that endeavor.

Tomorrow I welcome guest blogger Stan Stewart, who will present a two-part blog about humility, the next topic in the book. Please join me in welcoming Stan!

 

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Building Self Confidence by Accepting Yourself

Today we’re going to talk about building self confidence by accepting yourself. This is the next topic in the book, and the verse is:

Building self confidence through Acceptance of Self

Acceptance of Self

“Have we really changed throughout the years, or do we merely hold within our heart and mind and soul the essence of who we are, while our physical form changes?

Can we recapture the delightful being we have always been, as we allow and celebrate our strengths, our flaws, our spirit?”

You start out as a delightful being, delighted yourself with the world and your surroundings. Over time, you are hurt by others, perhaps told in one way or another that you are not good enough, that you are worthless. You are belittled, criticized. These things erode your self confidence.

You start believing all the negative things you have been told or been shown about yourself, and you start putting yourself down. You are not what someone else wants you to be, so you begin not accepting who you are. 

These things are all crazy-making within your heart, your mind. You end up being a confused and hurt person, lacking confidence and wanting to be someone different than you are. This is damaging to your soul.

What if you were to start over and reclaim yourself and who you are? Re-examine the delightful things about yourself and applaud them. Identify your strong points, just as you identify your weak points needing improvement.

Accept that it is all who you are. No need to be ashamed for your weak areas, your negative behavior. Accept that that is who you are and be willing to change those things, but know that that is who you are in the moment.

The more you run away from who you are at this very moment in time, the less likely you will be able to accept yourself and to reclaim self confidence. Seriously, accept that you are that generous, kind person, just as you are a selfish, hurtful person sometimes. Own it – all of it. 

If you do not identify and accept who you are at the current time, if you are always denying your bad points, you cannot make changes in yourself. It is in correcting your bad and weak points that you can help grow your self confidence.

When you do your self-appraisal, have the courage and humility to admit to the good that you are and that you do. Go ahead. Praise yourself, pat yourself on the back. Allow seeing your positive points to add to your self confidence. Stand tall in who you really are. Be honest with the world.

Remember to be humble, though. This exercise is not meant to emphasize your superiority, but to enhance the way in which you see yourself so you can raise your self confidence.

Do good for others. This will raise your self confidence immensely. There is nothing like seeing the look of appreciation on another’s face when you do something kind and giving for them.

In short, reclaim that delightful spirit that you are. Take responsibility for your flaws. Do good for others. Most importantly, find kindness, gentleness, compassion, and forgiveness for yourself.

How have these actions helped to raise your self confidence? Have you accepted who you are in both your darkness and your light? Has doing esteem-able acts helped you with your self confidence? Leave a comment. Let us know.

 

 

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How to Commit to the Journey

Today we are talking about how to commit to the journey you are on, whether that is of awareness, healing, growth, or recovery. The verse begins, “The gate stands open, beckoning me to climb.”

The Steps to Commitment

Journey of Commitment

It goes on to talk about how each step leads further in your journey, offering the opportunity to examine yourself and your life – leaves that have fallen, leaves that will fall, and buds yet to form.

Once you begin the climb and commit to it, you recognize and accept that you will experience both rocky and smooth times, that it will be positive and negative, easy and hard. This is just how life is. It cannot be escaped.

You commit anyway, because you know that the reward of the journey is in each blossom and each leaf along the way. That IS the journey… the blossoms and leaves along the way just keep changing faces as one part of your journey ebbs and another flows. The journey changes, again and again, as you learn, heal, and grow.

You see, when you learn how to commit to the journey, you do not know what experiences and lessons will come your way, but you agree to yourself that you will stick it through. The experiences may be terribly painful, even unbearable. Yet, if you stick through it, you will heal from the pain with time and effort on your part. You will find your way to peace.

If you decide to commit to the journey of healing, I can only offer you what worked for me. I found it useful to engage in activities such as reaching out for help from therapy and support groups, and reading books about the type of pain with which I was dealing. Journaling about my deepest, most agonizing feelings was most useful.

Finding a close friend or confidant to talk with about my thoughts was also extremely helpful. That person became my spiritual coach and learning to rely on that power greater than myself became indispensable.  Learning to use all  the tools we have discussed, such as honesty, openness, willingness, humility, courage… these all helped.

It was most helpful to be useful to others, as that gave me a sense of mattering to someone in the world. What I discovered when I did all these things was that my journey’s face changed from pain and deep despair to that of joy and inner peace. Now, unpleasant situations occur, and I am curious to uncover the lesson to which the journey is guiding me.

I hope I have given you a sense of purpose for your continued journey, and let you know that there is great reward, even in the hard times.

 

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Finding the Willingness to Change

As we move along in my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing, today’s topic is willingness. The verse reads, “All it takes is willingness to unlock whatever lies inside, to turn the knob and open the door… All it takes is a tiny opening, the size of a keyhole.”

Amazingly, if you show the slightest bit of willingness -to heal, to grow, to change – the Universe will help you by rewarding you with even more willingness. This is important because everything hinges on your willingness to be willing.

If you are not willing, for example, to have courage or to trust, to commit or to be humble, to be honest or to open your heart, all the forcing on your part will not get you anywhere. If, however, you are willing, those things will happen with little effort on your part.

I used to pray for the willingness to be willing. That may sound funny, but it worked! I was granted the willingness which changed my mindset around and made me more open to things, more open to change and to grow, to heal.

To find willingness in your life, try praying to whatever power greater than yourself that you have defined. Maybe it’s that doorknob you see in the picture. Make a conscious decision to be willing to see and experience things differently.

Seriously, all it takes is a decision the size of a keyhole. In other words, it takes a small amount of willingness to carry you a long, long way toward finding peace in your heart.

Try making that decision to be willing, or pray for willingness. What do you experience when you do this? Do you feel an opening of your heart, your soul? Once you try being willing, let us know what you find by leaving a comment.

 

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