Freedom from fear

Freedom From Fear – Act Like a Kid Again

Recovery from substance abuse is very serious business. For many addicts and alcoholics, fear took over their lives while they were using causing them to repress simple moments of being connected to life.  

Fear is paralyzing and can force the natural, spontaneous feelings of joy and wonder deep down inside. When fear takes over there isn’t much room for anything else. Embarrassment, judgment, shame, pride, feeling less or better than…all these self-conscious emotions are barriers to getting in touch with true freedom and joy within.

Freedom is a funny concept to an alcoholic or an addict. When using, addicts might define freedom as:

  • Doing exactly what I want, when I want – with drugs and alcohol of course – because they really make me feel free
  • Rolling down the highway, being higher than a kite, music cranked up, wind blowing in my hair
  • Changing my mind mid-stream on decisions, large or small, because I get a feeling or a sign – and I’m stoned
  • Telling people exactly how I feel regardless of how it might hurt their feelings – “Hey, it’s my truth, man!”

Some of the work in recovery is realizing that true freedom doesn’t necessarily come from doing and getting what you want or from excessive displays of excitement. When we place ourselves in the flow of life, in tune with the universe, and are willing to try things that scare us, big or small, pushing through the fear whether we’ll be embarrassed or fail, we are free.

Recovery is all about getting back in touch with the kid inside and that means feeling and expressing joy. Kids aren’t afraid, they stumble forward, willing to try just about anything, and get up and do it again when they fall. There are times when the work in sobriety is very serious and we “dig deep” – but don’t take yourself too seriously – it’s a joy killer. Stop and smell the flowers, stick your toes in the sand, jump in with both feet, act silly with no regard as to how it will look to others, face your fear and go for something you’ve always wanted to try.

Some great ways to express joy and feel free are:

  • Pick a fear and FACE IT: if you want to experience life solo, without being dependent on whether friends can join you but it seems scary, buy a ticket to a concert and go, take yourself snowboarding for the weekend, eat a meal by yourself…anything can happen.
  • Sign up for a class you have always wanted to take.
  • Make yourself a mixed cd with inspiring songs that make you want to SING!
  • Ride a rollercoaster just because.
  • Go body surfing in the ocean.
  • Turn the music on – LOUD – and dance.
  • Tell someone you’ve always thought was cute, that they are – with no attachment to the outcome.
  • The next time you feel the need to explain your reasoning to someone for fear of being misunderstood, DON’T!
  • Make a bucket list and start checking things off.
  • Say, “YES,” to opportunities that come your way – look for reasons to participate in life – not excuses to avoid it.

Practice feeling free – it’s good for your body, mind and soul!

May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.  Living sober can be the ultimate expression of living free.

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