Did you go overboard during the holidays and bust through the New Year, drink in hand, drugs in hand, only to regret it? Are you considering sobriety in 2019, but paralyzed with fear at the thought of sobriety? That’s ok. Normal, even. It’s quite common and is part of the sobriety journey.
Before getting sober, every addict enters a what is called the Contemplation Stage. During the contemplation stage, you (or your family member) realize things have gotten out of hand, and you start considering getting sober. The contemplation stage can last for a day, a month, or longer, but every addict goes through it before getting sober.
In this blog, I want to explain why we stay in that contemplation stage for so long and inspire you to shorten yours. The reason we remain stuck in a cycle of swearing off the drink or the drugs only to continue for another day is because we fear sobriety.
To an outsider, that may sound like madness. And, once we get sober, we realize that fear was madness. Nevertheless, the fear of sobriety is very real. Let’s look at the fear under a microscope and squash it like a bug.
Once addiction takes hold, it becomes a new normal. We forget what it felt like to wake up without NEEDING a drink or a drug before our feet hit the floor. We are used to the grind of spending endless hours working out ways and means to keep ourselves fueled with whatever substance has enslaved us. As our pre-addiction days move farther into the distance, no other reality is imaginable. If you (or your family member) are an addict the way I was an addict, the thought of going without a drug feels as life-threateningly terrifying as going without oxygen. We’ve literally forgotten how to breathe on our own.
When a drug feels as life-affirming as AIR, the thought of stopping evokes a sense of panic. We begin to believe that sobriety is impossible, and a sense of hopelessness and despair sets in. That intense fear and depression prevents us from trying to get sober and allows the very thing that is killing us to keep us sick.
Addiction isn’t called a soul sickness by accident. Once we are addicted, it’s as though we have amnesia and can’t remember who we were before. If sobriety scares you and you cannot put your finger on why it’s because you no longer remember who you were without a drink or a drug. What’s more, if you can remember, you may feel such shame that you don’t feel worthy of sobriety.
If we are committed to anything at Breakthrough Recovery Outreach, it is to TRUTH telling. The thought that there is no hope, the idea that there is nothing left of you to save, the fear that you won’t be able to enjoy life again if you get sober is the biggest, fattest lie your mind will ever tell you.
We’ve covered the contemplation stage, and we’ve discussed the fear of being sober. Now let’s talk about walking through that fear and why it’s worth the work to do it.
I want you to do something you may never have done in your life. I want you to dream with me for a moment. Close your eyes and think about this question.
WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Read that again before you answer. Don’t think about WHAT you want to be. Think about WHO you want to be.
I remember the very moment, I thought about this in early sobriety. I’d gotten through the first six months, and while my hands still shook from withdrawal, I suddenly realized I had the chance to reinvent myself. I let my imagination soar the way it couldn’t when I was a child. Now it’s your turn to become whoever you want to be!
So, take stock of last year and consider the magic of sobriety in the coming year. If you didn’t have a childhood that allowed you to dream, sobriety in 2019 promises you the chance to dream perhaps for the first time.
Sobriety, with work and commitment, can unbreak you so completely that just when you are sure you’re whole again, something else cracks open and yet another wound heals.
Getting sober isn’t easy. It takes effort and support, and we’re here to provide that. You won’t become that version of yourself that you want to create overnight. Every sober minute is an achievement, though, and we invite you to learn to be still and celebrate each one that comes your way.
Setting realistic goals and accomplishing them will help rebuild your self-esteem. In the beginning, set simple goals. Stay sober this minute or this day. Get 30 days. Get 60. Find a sponsor. Work a step.
Every time you reach a goal, allow yourself to feel proud and celebrate. Let your achievements boost your confidence and dare to dream a little bigger with each one.
Eventually, the withdrawal will wear off, the pride will take hold, and the dreams will grow. One day, you’ll wake up, your feet will hit the floor, and you’ll mindlessly tumble into the bathroom to brush your teeth, and realize with amazement – OH MY GOD, I DIDN’T EVEN THINK OF USING.
If you are ready to end the contemplation stage and get sober, we’re here for you. We have hundreds of past and current clients who wake up in the morning like newborn babies – gasping for the only thing they need to live now – air.
Breathe in, baby, and come back to life. You have a brand new you to build, and you’re worth it.