Recently Detroit Muscle was reviewed on the blog Sober Boots.
You can read it here: Sober Boots.
Monday, September 12, 2016
When I was a child I was somewhat fearless looking back. I grew up in Peru in the midst of internal conflicts, which pitted armed groups of men against each over differing ideologies and political affiliations. At night I would hear the bombs of The Shining Path, the armed wing of the Communist Party of Peru, going off and it would barely disturb my sleep. The sounds of gunfire were a regular occurrence as the Peruvian government would fight back these insurgents, and through all of this, I was usually not scared.
The only thing that did frighten me during this time was the thought of losing my parents or being kidnapped, which were real threats. Sometimes I would have nightmares about these two things, but since they were actual threats they were healthy fears to have.
Fast-forward a few years and I am actively participating in the disease of addiction back here in the States. I am in an abusive marriage that isn’t working, all of my relationships are strained and I find that I am terrified all of the time. I am in a constant state of paralysis that can only be extinguished through the usage of drugs and alcohol. During this time period, fear ruled my life.
I once heard someone say that fear, true fear, is our reacting to a situation as if our life is being threatened. That fear is a response of the body to keep us safe and that when we react to a situation that is not life-threatening with fear, this means that our instincts are out of alignment.
This is partly what happened to me during my active addiction. My instincts were not aligned with reality and so I reacted to situations with abnormal reactions. I could find that some days I would be afraid to even leave my house. Where this fear came from or why it manifested is beyond me, but during these dark days, fear touched about every aspect of my life.
When I finally got sober I was still very afraid. I was afraid of what it meant to be sober and I was afraid what it meant to continue on drinking and using the way I was. I was afraid to live and I was afraid to die. And most of all I was afraid of losing my children forever. But I found in time that my fears lessened and I was better able to cope with them as they came up.
That being said I am not free of fear today. To be free of fear is to be inhuman and that is not the goal of my sobriety, but for the most part I have healthy fears, ones that help drive me in the direction that I need to go.
One of my main fears is not staying sober and everything that this would mean for my life. I have built a pretty good life for myself over the past couple of years in sobriety and tearing all of that down is terrifying to me. I am afraid that one day I will wake up and the itch will be back and I won’t be able to not scratch it, but this is a healthy fear to have.
Being afraid of losing my sobriety means that I am able to see that it is a gift that I have been given and this keeps me grateful for it. It also keeps me doing the things I need to do, like going to meetings, sponsoring women, and reaching out so that I do not have to live out this fear.
They say that fear won’t keep you sober and I tend to agree with this saying. If fear of going back out was the only thing that kept me sober I would be drunk and high in no time, but I believe that in my own life the fear of going back out is based on a reality that I see around me, that being that many people do not stay sober. Also, I have the Steps in my life and God, which help me stay sober on a daily basis.
The thing that is interesting as well about this fear is that it is not overwhelming and paralyzing. It is not like some fears that I have experienced in the past that kept me from action and left me cowering. It is a fear that produces action in me and helps me to stay active in my sobriety due to the consequences that will ensue if I stop.
Being sober has taught me a lot. It has shown me how to deal with most situations that arise in my life. I do not always handle these situations gracefully, but I make it through them with a strength that I previously never had before in my life. The same thing goes for fear. When fears crop up that seek to keep me away from my goals or dreams, I am able to handle them and walk through them. I am able to muster up the strength to continue on, even if it is not at first, and do what I need to do to overcome my fears. I have found in facing my fears a strength and resilience that I never knew I possessed and for this I am very grateful.
I am not the fearless little girl I was when I was a child and this is probably a good thing. With age comes the experience of being hurt and hurt tends to lead us to fear, but with my age as well as my sobriety I have learned how to deal with these fears and not let them rule my life. I believe today that my instincts are probably as balanced as they have ever been during my lifetime and with God and my continued sobriety I hope to keep them that way.