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.