It's that time of the year again! The time when all the ghosts and goblins come out, and people take joy in hiding behind their masks. For those of us who deal with substance abuse disorder, it's not uncommon to hide our true selves behind the masks of our disease. Fear can be paralyzing, especially when it prevents you from enjoying the gifts of sobriety. I know that when I got sober I thought my life was over and I had many overpowering fears that hung over my head like a rain cloud. Since we're in the spooky Halloween spirit, I've complied a list of your worst sobriety fears complete with creepy gifs. Hopefully you'll see just how silly sobriety fears are!
"I'm sober my life is over and I might as well die."
This the most common fear about getting sober. Literally people think life is over and it won't be worth living. I'm here to tell you this was exactly how I thought when I got sober and I was dead wrong. Your life isn't over when you get sober, it's just beginning.
"What is fun? I'll never have it again if I'm sober."
For many of us, the only time fun was involved in our lives, alcohol was there. I used to make fun of sober people and how dull their lives must be. Again, I was wrong. I thought sobriety meant the end to fun, but I learned how to have fun without blacking out or taking shots. Today I can have fun in settings I never thought I could without alcohol - weddings, birthday parties, holidays, etc. Not only that, I have more stress-free fun without having to worry about making stupid decisions, embarrassing myself, or relying on alcohol as my social lubricant.
"Everyone is annoying and ugly when I'm sober."
Did anyone else feel people in general were much more tolerable when you were drunk? When I go to nightclubs or bars sober I realize how there are a lot of drunk people who are not good looking and are actually super annoying. I used to be one of them! I used to think I was the hottest girl in the club and I used to wear beer goggles viewing all of the other "hot people." Now I finally see people's true drunk colors.
"Getting sober means I'll have to admit when I'm wrong."
Oh yeah this is a big one. You may have heard people suffering from addiction have big egos. I never realized that I was one of those people! I could never admit when I was wrong. I always had to be right. Getting sober I knew I would have to take an honest look at my side of the street and it's a big pill to swallow. It's also liberating. Trying to be right all the time is a big weight to be carrying around and I'm glad today I'm just a regular human who admits to her mistakes.
"My amends list scares me so much I'm afraid to get sober."
Let's be honest - we've all made some pretty unhealthy decisions while in active addiction. Most likely we've hurt people we love and maybe even some acquaintances we'll never see again. Who wants to drag all that hurt up and talk about it? Not me! This fear can be paralyzing. I've learned in sobriety that the amends list, and all of the 12 steps, are not meant to beat you up and make you feel like a bad person. They are meant to help you pick out behavioral patterns that no longer serve you and help you become the best version of yourself. Saying sorry and living your best life will make you feel better, not worse. You'll be surprised at how relieved you are.
"I'm fearful I might fuck up and relapse. Then my life will be over."
Let me tell you this - relapse doesn't define you. Relapse doesn't make you a bad person. Relapse is NOT a bad word! Everyone's recovery is different and sometimes it takes us a few times for it to stick. The point is for you to keep coming back and try again. You can always start anew. Get up, dust yourself off, and come back to the sober life.
"I'm scared I'll be all alone and no one will love me."
Whether it's a 12 step program, or some other form of recovery, fellowship is an important component. During my first year of sobriety, I still had my family and boyfriend supporting me and loving me, but I often felt alone and misunderstood. Being involved in a recovery program with meetings helped me feel loved and supported by others who knew EXACTLY what I was going through because they had been through it themselves. Like they say, "we'll love you until you can love yourself." Now that's a powerful statement about sobriety.
"I don't know who I am without alcohol."
The big one. I don't know how many times I've said this line myself: I don't know who I am without alcohol. I don't know when I got to that point, but I did, and many of us do. Alcohol had become my best friend. It was there in every stage of my life. It was my crutch for bad days, good days, and everything in between. Of course leaving it behind was scary. Going into the unknown is scary, but sobriety became my new best friend, my new normal. At 2.5 years sober I am still discovering who I am. It's a beautiful process that has brought me so much joy. Once you come out of the fog of alcohol, you won't want to go back. You'll finally be the real you!
Halloween may be a time to tap into your fear, but one thing is for sure - you shouldn't be scared of sobriety. Don't let fear hold you back from the rest of your life.