[Sober Living] Just “Stay Strong”

I just snuck an extra benzodiazepine from their hidden stash, and was debating when to ease my anxiety, before fully seeing this beat-up keychain I found during a decompression walk. I put back the same medication I had been prescribed after my panic attack and continued my day. Even years later, there are days when it would be nice having that crutch to fearlessly ease into social situations. That’s when I must “stay strong” most.

I perceive fear differently now than I did years ago.

Now I’m able to have those difficult conversations, address most anything directly, because after all it’s just our minds interpreting something as dangerous. It’s not that I’m fearless. I just have reference points for being calm within storms, which isn’t as good as it sounds, because fear helps us stay safe. Fear reminds us to check in with others because we’re worried about the repercussions. Fear is our armchair adviser asking us if we’re strong.

When you know fear is just an illusion, you gamble harder.

Most of the time, disregarding fear opens up the vistas to possibilities you’ve never even imagined, where things are infinitely better and more comfortable than they were before. If you don’t want to go that far, even just a little bit of discomfort can take you almost just as far. It’s just that without your own internal checks and balances, your fear sensors firmly in check, you can push it too far. When that happens…

If you’re lucky, you come back into reality on the other side of regret.

Something I realized when I was young helps me keep things in check: there is no universally positive thing. For anything, there is someone that will like it and someone that will dislike it. Not everyone likes drinking water and not everyone enjoys listening to music. I enjoyed my hangovers and rarely enjoyed being high. There will always be someone out there to debate with, along with someone that will see things from your perspective.

Don’t let fear, or fearlessness, control you.

Sometimes it’s good to be scared. When my fear has attempted to strangle me during conversations, I’ve been able to steer the boat toward addressing that choking sensation. If it doesn’t feel right, then subconsciously something is incongruent. It could just be learning more about the situation. Or there could be a cliff over that vista of infinite possibilities. Either way, I’ve found it’s helpful to fully consider my fears rather than hide from them.

I’ve been trying to learn to embrace anxiety.

I’m no doctor. I don’t pretend to know the full effects of anxiety and stress. I just know that I don’t live with chemical imbalances that evoke anxiety. My mind “blue screens” when it can’t fully rationalize a situation. For me, taking something to ride out that situation would be disastrous, because it will just reappear later with worse repercussions than if I’d handled it sooner.

That’s why I must stay strong and face fears.

My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write “The Story.” My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I’m a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let’s strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)