Sobriety Can Be Scary

Age: 3 months sober
Neon sign: You are here

Nothing negative is happening. I mean, no big things are occurring that I should feel threatened about. This anxiety and fear is coming from someplace else. I can’t sleep. I wake up every hour and am having vivid intense dreams and nightmares. What is wrong?

It isn’t easy to deal with stresses again without my old crutch of booze. It can really suck. I wish I could be normal. But I guess that is a ridiculous wish.

When your fantasy becomes a nightmare, it is necessary to surrender to that which you have been running from.

Some of this 12-step stuff is annoying me, but I don’t want to be in the pain I was just a few months ago. I still feel the pain sometimes, but something is different now, like there is hope or a little light. They call this one thing, where you have to write down all this shit from the past or whatever, they call it taking a “searching fearless honest inventory.”

It is ok to feel emotions that are difficult. It is ok to remember your story. It brought you to where you are and directs where you will go. It’s scary though. No doubt it is scary. I don’t think it is supposed to be easy. It says it right there. After all, why would you have to courageously take an inventory of your life if it wasn’t scary?

Do not be ashamed of what has already come to pass. Regret serves no one any good. Nothing productive ever came from anxious regret. Nothing. Facing the past is different than regret, by facing it you can integrate your present with the past. Like trying to fly but my load is too heavy for takeoff. Even once I’ve gotten in the air after unloading a little baggage, the load is so unevenly situation that it grounds my flight anyway. Fucking drop that baggage and let it go.

I can only drop the extra weight by telling my story. Your story is worth telling, it built you and you built it.

Doing this inner work is good for me. Even if I analyze and dissect it too much and even if it draws up more feelings of different kinds that are painful, the confidence of a clear mind which I seem to be getting from all this work, makes the feelings less foreboding. Like most fears, until I talk about it, my mind can rationalize the most extravagant webs of imagined terror.

I’m here. I can only be here, and sometimes it is painful, but I’m doing this. I’m going to keep being here for this sobriety thing.

one day at a time,

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  1. Alice Lynn on December 23, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Your article gave me an insight into recovery. I’ve seen addiction from the outside and what it can do to a person and the family. I’ve also seen how coming back into the “light of day” from the nightmare of addiction can look. But I’ve never really heard that story from the inside. It gives me renewed respect for those who struggle with addictions, during and after. From what I’ve read here and elsewhere, I’m reminded that this battle is ongoing and requires great courage.

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