Transcript:

Hi, I hope you're well today.

Yesterday was Halloween - you can tell because I still have the remnants on the side of my face! - and it got me thinking about fear and how, when you're thinking about stopping drinking, you can be scared of all sorts of things. And so today's video is all about fear and why it doesn't have to stop you from taking the action you want to take.

So for me, when I first started thinking about stopping drinking and getting sober, I was terrified. I was terrified not only of what would happen if I carried on drinking, what was going to happen to my body, what was going to happen to my mind, my mental health, my emotional health, my relationships, what was going to happen to my future life if I carried on drinking, what terrible physical things were going to happen to my body… but I was also terrified of life without alcohol.

I was scared that I was going to become dull and boring, that I was going to become Billy-No-Mates because nobody would want to be around me when I wasn't drinking. I was scared that the alcohol was what gave me my sociability, my ability to be able to chat to other people, to interact with other people, to have a laugh, to joke around, to become a bit more uninhibited. I was scared that alcohol was the thing that gave me the courage to be kind of different versions of myself, you know... to be the outgoing, sociable, happy and carefree version. I needed alcohol to unleash that version of me to be able to party, to be able to enjoy myself. I was scared that without alcohol, I wasn't going to be able to do it. I was scared that without alcohol I had to kind of be a version of me that was real and the real version of me wasn't worth really hanging around. I wasn't good enough as I was without the alcohol.

So, I was scared that I was going to lose people, that I wasn't going to have friends because I wasn't worth it, I wasn't good enough as I was. I was scared that my life was going to be empty from here on in. That if I became sober, there was going to be nothing to look forward to anymore. I wasn't going to be able to de-stress, to relax, to unwind. I couldn't imagine enjoying myself without alcohol. And, that's a really true test actually as to whether you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol or not. If you can't imagine enjoying things, having fun, managing or navigating social events sober, that's a really good marker, a really good test that you've actually got an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

So, I couldn't imagine ever enjoying myself again. Ever having fun. Ever letting go. Ever really throwing caution to the wind and just going woo hoo! And just enjoying life. I couldn’t imagine doing all of that without alcohol and that terrified me.

The thought that my life was going to be empty of joy, empty of relationships, empty of fun, empty of friends, empty of connections, empty of socialising. Everything that I believed the alcohol had ever brought me, I was scared that I was no longer going to have that in my life.

And what I want to share with you today is that none of that is true.

I've been sober now for about four years, and everything that I was fearing isn’t true. None of it has happened. In fact, the complete opposite has happened. So I've discovered that I have more meaningful relationships and connections with people because I'm sober. Because I'm being the real authentic version of me, I'm connecting with more like-minded people and I'm socialising and interacting on a more authentic and meaningful basis. I've got the kind of relationships with people in my life that I want, that are good for me and that are meaningful for me.

So, all of that side of things has improved in terms of socialising and having fun and enjoying myself and throwing caution to the wind.

I've discovered that I'm able to do that without alcohol and it's better without alcohol because it's memorable, it's clear, you're 100% immersed in it, in the moment, so you're remembering everything in clear, high definition detail. You've got a much more authentic connection to what's going on around you. You're 100% present in the moment when you’re living it sober.

I've learned that my life isn’t empty now that I'm sober, my life is much fuller than it ever was when I was drinking. I get more enjoyment. I get more meaningful connections, I get more memories. I get to do more of what I love doing because I'm sober. I'm no longer cancelling things, re-organising things, having to change my plans to fit in around my drinking commitments, or recovering from drinking commitments. I'm able to cram my life full of all of the things that make me happy. My life is fuller and richer, and I get more enjoyment, more fun, more engagement, everything.

I can't even begin to express how much better absolutely everything in my life is since I've been sober.

None of the things that I was fearing would happen actually happened and this is the thing… Fear only holds you back if you believe what it's telling you. So the point I'm making is this… that what you've been scared of about living your life sober is very likely untrue. What your fear has been telling you is likely to be untrue and either one of three things will happen:

  • either what you're scared of will turn out to be true, but it won't be anywhere near as bad as you think it's going to be
  • Or it might turn out to be true, but only temporarily. For example, it might be true that when you first learn to live your life sober, it might be awkward when you're socialising. You might feel nervous. You might be shy, you might not have the social confidence yet to be able to navigate these social situations effortlessly and confidently and uninhibitedly sober. It might take a while to learn how to do that. So some of what your fear is telling you might be true temporarily for a short while.
  • Or it might be that what your fear is been telling you is completely untrue, and actually that the opposite is going to be true and that you learn that living your life sober gives you so much more joy, so much more happiness, so much more fulfilment than you ever got when you were drinking.


So the point is, don't trust the fear.

The fear isn't telling you the truth. The fear is a protective mechanism and it's based on all sorts of unconscious assumptions and guesses and feelings and patterns that just aren't serving you well anymore. So ignoring the fear, recognising that the fear isn't true and that you can override the fear, you can ignore the fear, you can carry on and act regardless of the fear, you don't have to do what the fear’s telling you and your life will be.100 times better as a result.

So, let me know what kind of things have scared you about stopping drinking?

I’ll look forward to catching up with you very soon but, in the meantime, let's go get sober together!


2 Responses

Jo
Jo

July 17, 2020

Hi Greta, thanks for your comment. You absolutely can do this! You need to go long enough alcohol-free to get your natural confidence and sociability back. But you will get there. You end up becoming naturally and authentically socially confident without alcohol when you’ve practised enough.. But it can take a lot longer than 4-6 weeks for some people. Ignore whatever crap your mind tells you when it starts freaking out about the rest of your life sober. You won’t continue being sombre and feeling dull – you will get to the stage where you’re naturally yourself and starting to enjoy social events again. They’re not the same sober as they are with alcohol – but it’s not a better or worse – they’re just different. Keep practising, keep ignoring unhelpful thoughts that float through your mind and keep in touch! :)

Greta
Greta

July 17, 2020

Hi Jo,
I stumbled across your blog today looking for answers regarding my sugar cravings. This topic really caught my attention!! I am 8 days sober (this time). I have been an alcoholic for 20+ years. I quit drinking about twice a year when I get fat and sick. ( I call myself “fat elvis” during these times) Then, when I’m in “Sober Mode” I feel better and lose weight. But I’m so SOMBER that whole month. I have trouble having conversations with people and I mourn the loss of alcohol every day. I simply CAN NOT imagine a life without it!! I want desperately to be that "normal " person that can drink socially and not be left out of all the parties and activities that alcohol is associated with. So, after 4-6 weeks of the struggle….I fall off the wagon again, because I simply cant see living the rest of my life sober. Your post has given me some hope and I have signed up for your bedtime reading. Thank you for being there and helping others that are still struggling.

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