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!



Dealing With Fear in Sobriety – 3 of 3

To continue… For those of you new to the blog, here’s what’s happening. I am talking about each topic in the book I wrote called Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. I talk about the topics in sequence of their order in the book; there are forty-two topics.

Webs of Fear

Webs of Fear

I am then taking each topic and discussing it in relation to living in sobriety. Today, it is a continuation of Dealing With Fear In Sobriety. I hope what I write has merit to you non-problem drinkers.

There is another way to deal with FEAR other than what has been discussed, and it is “Screw” (you get the idea) Everything And Run. This is the method I most practiced when I was drinking.

Actually, my whole life I’ve been practicing this, keeping myself quiet so I wasn’t noticed. Not wanting to start controversy. Keeping the feelings of hurt and pain at bay. It was my method of dealing with the pain and hurt I felt in my soul. I was miserable deep inside.

But I’m not like that now. Now, my heart and soul are filled with light. I owe it to becoming sober, to all that have helped me throughout my recovery, to some force greater than me. The thing is, I did not do it alone.

There is help out there for those of us who are avoiding things and running, and drinking heavily over it. Even if you have not developed a drinking problem, help is available if you have difficulty with running from your emotions and it has led to misery. Others have been there, too. We know what it’s like. You are not alone.

Look at the ways in which we drink or shop or eat, for example, to avoid and numb things. With drinking, we call it partying, being social, but when it reaches the proportion of having repeated hangovers, for example, it’s a warning sign, perhaps, that the alcohol is ruling your life too much. You are consuming more than your body can tolerate. Take heed from one who lived like that for twenty-seven of her forty-eight years… it’s not necessary to be miserable in life. It starts with dealing with fear in sobriety.

FEAR has also been called an acronym for “Face Everything And Recover.” Once we look at the fear we have and examine what’s behind it, we can move forward. With the light of day shined on it, the fear seems to lessen. This is called recovery. If we deal with our fear in sobriety, we begin to feel some peace. 

Tomorrow, the topic is worthlessness. I invite you to join me.



Dealing With Fear in Sobriety – 2 of 3

As an addition to yesterday’s post, I’d like to point out that me worrying about whether you would find me stupid for what I blogged was worrying about the future. I didn’t have my mind on the present. That takes practice, remembering to be in the moment, yet it’s an excellent tool for dealing with our fear in sobriety, and ultimately brings us much peace and serenity.

Back to the continuation of yesterday’s topic, the old hurts and wounds behind why being called stupid bothers me… It’s based upon repeatedly being called stupid about everything I did and thought. It was the past, will not change, and was not the truth. I tell myself these things. So do I need to say “get over it and move on?” There are many who say just that.

I am not one of them because that didn’t work for me. That is what I drank heavily over – to hide the feelings associated with the hurts. I believe we do disservice to one who is struggling emotionally and is stuck, repeating the same thing again and again, when we say “get over it and move on.” It does not acknowledge their pain, their grief, and they feel alone in the world in their misery with no hope for improvement.

On the other hand, it gets difficult to listen to over and over again over a long period of time, when we have seen no action taken on the part of that person to deal with their pain. Maybe they are drinking heavily, and we’re focused on that.

The thing is, I think we can gently acknowledge the suffering person’s pain by saying we know it exists and it is valid. And now it’s time to look forward, we gently say. We then can encourage any action they take to get past their pain, however small.

This is especially true for somone who has elected to get sober, as that is the beginning of being responsible for their wound healing, even though they will probably be totally unaware of that.

So, pardon the digression, but I wanted to say that… Back to the issue of the wound’s origin. I need to look at the situation from a different angle, with the new eyes of a 59 year old sober woman instead of a 10 year old scared child. When I do that, I realize something important. It was said by a man whose view of the world was narrow. I think about this a long while, and I feel it in my heart, my soul.

I discover I can, and do, have compassion and sadness for that man, because he misses out on so much. I have been graced with that compassion, and, over time, it has led me to forgiveness.

The thing is, I got to this place of acceptance, peace, compassion, and forgiveness by getting and staying sober. We saw an example of growth in sobriety by dealing with false evidence appearing real, and now we see another way of dealing with fear in sobriety, looking at the old story with new eyes, the eyes of the heart.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to choose the other way, the new way, because that brings me serenity, that brings me peace.

Tomorrow, another way of dealing with fear in sobriety.



Dealing With Fear In Sobriety -1 of 3

Here I sit with the topics in the book over, and I am undecided. Do I restart the book right away? That would mean we’d start with fear, and then four difficult emotions and I’m not sure I want to do downer topics before the pulling-yourself-out-of-it topics begin.

Yet again, there may be those who are feeling those emotions in the holiday season  It might be helpful for them to read something about fear, worthlessness, sorrow, and despair.

If I don’t restart the book during the rest of the season, I am in a quandary, for I have no clue what I’d write about. I smile as I say this, because I recognize I have relied upon the book to give me my topics, and my images. Not that that’s a bad thing…

After all, I am writing about the book to convey the journey, the process, in the hopes that it will be useful to us and help bring us to peace.

And as I sit here thinking, my mind wanders to the fact that I am fearful to stray from the book’s topics. You may find what I say stupid, after all, like I have no clue what I’m talking about. Hmmm. The book seems to have started itself on its own accord, so I’m going to follow this thought process of dealing with fear in sobriety. Even those of you not in recovery may find this interesting.

Feeling stupid is something with which I have struggled my entire life, and continue to do so. I try to catch myself when I’m beginning to feel stupid and change my thought pattern. But I still go there initially… As far as not knowing what I’m talking about, I remind myself that all I can do is relay my experiences and general observations about life. It is then up to you to determine what you think or feel about what I have to say.

The thing is, what you think about me is none of my business, as long as I am honest and kind in what I say. And, you might not even have been thinking I was stupid, or that I don’t know what I’m talking about. So, I broke my serenity and peace based upon information that is only my speculation, and that speculation is based on old stories, old experiences.

Hmmm. Let’s look at that. First of all, with the first issue of you thinking me stupid, aren’t I buying into False Evidence Appearing Real? FEAR? As a matter of fact, I am. 🙂 I can now chuckle at myself. “Ah, Jones. Caught again…” lol Suddenly the fear dispels as I realize I got tripped up in fear – again – about nothing that has happened and most likely won’t.

But what about the old stories upon which this feeling of being stupid is based? Join me tomorrow for more about this and dealing with fear in sobriety.