Some people just can’t drink. Plain and simple.
There are those who may have gotten a little “out of hand” with their drinking. Maybe they needed to grow up or deal with some traumas in their past. However, there are also those like me who can not and will never be able to drink successfully. We can go into issues like disease concept and higher power as to why these reasons may be, but that’s for a later time.
If you are one of these people like I am, then the harsh truth is that you can’t drink. Ever again… for the rest of your life.
If you fall into this category of people, it is safe to assume that you may have or may have had some fears when first entering your journey of recovery. It’s natural. I had many fears when I was getting sober, but I slowly learned that these fears were all in my head. It is the experience of it all that taught me the lessons about fear and its control over our hearts and minds.
So let’s call it for what it is. Fear is a liar.
1 – You’re Afraid You Won’t Have Fun Anymore
This was without a doubt, my biggest fear when getting sober.
I knew I couldn’t use drugs anymore. They did something to me that I can’t describe. They consumed me, they ruined me. The funny thing is that with all of the negativity and pain they brought into my life, I still couldn’t picture my life without them.
I love excitement. I love chaos and I love going fast. It makes me feel alive. Drugs gave that to me. They gave me the rush that I longed for.
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So what was I going to do? I honestly couldn’t decide. I could crash and burn in an adrenaline-fueled life of misery, or I could get sober and live a peaceful yet long and boring life.
Relieved was I to find out that recovery did not equal boredom. Quite the opposite actually. Here’s why…
Recovery gives you options. You will learn to manage money and manage time. You will be able to prioritize and balance your life so that you have resources required to gain meaningful experiences. Just this year alone I have…
- gone to Scotland.
- gone skydiving.
- went to Bonnaroo with my best friends.
- gone home to Philadelphia multiple times.
- I play soccer with my friends every Saturday.
- went to at least 15 amazing concerts.
- bought my dream car.
- went to the Jersey shore for a week with my family.
Here’s the proof! Yes, that’s me about to jump out of a place.
The list goes on. For the sake of not coming across as arrogant I will stop listing all the awesome experiences I get to have now that I am sober. But the point is that you can have these experiences too!
Fearing boredom in recovery is understandable. In fact, it is to be expected. You must trust me. You will quickly find that recovery will give you the freedom to do all the things you used to talk about with your friends in the bar.
We all have one life to live. So go live it!
2 – You’re Afraid To Lose Someone
Look, if the only thing you and your partner have in common is that you get high together then you have a shitty relationship.
There are few things in this world that are sicker then an intoxicating relationship fueled by drugs and sex. I get it, there is something very inviting and appealing about those lust filled love affairs that many of us have been in. The truth is that over time, they just get sad.
Arguments and crying and desperate pleas of codependency, it’s messy and it keeps people from discovering themselves.
No matter how much you love someone, if you don’t understand yourself then it will not be a healthy relationship. An honest relationship consists of two people that challenge each other to be better people. Real love is about growth and addiction is the opposite of growth.
Now that we got that out of the way, there is good news!
If you are in a meaningful relationship with someone who loves and respects you, they will love and respect you just the same if you get sober. It may feel like it is a weakness, but people really admire people who fall on their face and pick themselves back up again. We admire it because it takes courage, and courage is the most desired human characteristic of all.
If your partner really loves you, all they will want for you is contentedness and satisfaction. At first, some things may change and be uncomfortable but I promise that in the end it will all be worth it and your relationship will be healthier because of it.
If fear of losing someone you love because of judgement or stigma is holding you back from getting sober, then maybe you should reevaluate the relationship. If someone leaves you because you are trying to make a positive change in your life, then it probably wasn’t meant to be.
It will take time, but recovery will do wonders to heal a damaged or unhealthy relationship. I’ve never met anyone who said that their marriage suffered because one of them got sober.
3 – You’re Afraid What People Will Think Of You
Someone told me years ago that what other people think of me is none of my business. I understand what she was saying, but it never really made me feel any better.
Eventually, I learned that most people don’t really care about me enough to worry about what I do with my life. It’s not that no one cares about me or loves me as a person, it’s just that everyone has their own lives and very few people spend their time worrying about what other people are doing.
The one’s that do spend their time worrying about how you or I want to live our lives, well… they could use a hobby.
One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is that things are always changing. Things that I used to think were a really big deal turned out not to be.
Yet, this fear still has merit. It’s very scary to wonder what your coworkers will think. What will your friends think if they find out you went to rehab? or what will the neighbors say if they find out you go to AA meetings? It’s an understandable fear, but it’s also an irrational fear.
At the end of the day, it’s really not a big deal. Just do what you have to do and over time you will find that most people will be proud of you for the positive changes you have made in your life. You will find that other people really don’t care. Finally, you will discover that the ones who do judge you really don’t matter.
This Is Just My Own Experience
In the grand scheme of things, I still have so much to learn about myself so I want to be sure not to come across as a know it all. I have way more questions than answers, and I find that every time I find an answer to a question, another question pops up. That’s life.
But what I do know is that I have spoken on the phone and in person with hundreds if not thousands of people who need help. They all sound so desperate to change. They all act like they want. No, like they NEED to get sober. It’s always one of these fears that holds them back.
We fear boredom, we fear losing someone, and we fear judgement.
What I need to be absolutely clear about is that none of these fears will cause you harm. Once you decide to not let fear control you, then freedom is truly yours.