By: Lisa Tower, Alumni Coordinator, Transformations Treatment Center
For as long as I can remember, fear ran my life. As a child, I let fear stop me from making friends, getting outside of my comfort zone and raising my hand when I had a question in school. I let fear keep me from standing up for myself, even when I knew it was the right thing to do. I let fear keep me from trying a new hobby that I was secretly interested in or even applying for a job that I wanted. I let fear consume my life. My life was no longer based on what “Lisa wanted”, but instead it was a life based on what I thought others expected of me. Needless to say, it was exhausting.
Fear was the driving force behind my alcoholism and it manifested itself into deep-rooted anxiety that I carried around with me like a ball and chain for 23 years. “God forbid anyone knows how I really feel inside, they will surely not like me.” Sound familiar? Probably because it is. Fear, delusion, and self-seeking were the driving forces of my life, and good God was it a bumpy ride.
I was blown away when I first started on my recovery journey and when I first started to see that I was not the only person that had fears and insecurities. I was not the first person that suffered from anxiety and I was definitely not the first person to avoid social situations out of fear of rejection.
Now, I can’t blame myself entirely for this fear. It was an automatic response that I developed unknowingly due to various situations and interactions leading up into that very first time I chose to pick up a drink or a drug. I was fearful due to not knowing how to interact with others after years of hiding behind closed doors, and for most of my young life, I had witnessed loved ones use the same operating manual. I let fear and anxiety run rampant for many years and used it as an excuse for not making the first “scary” step and reaching out for help with my addiction.
The thought of moving to another state, attending treatment and living with a bunch of women was the definition of terrifying…but something was different on that cold day in January of 2013 when I had a moment of courage and I chose to make the first step towards not letting fear run my life any longer. Someone new had taken the driver seat. I now know it was my higher power working in my life.
On January 21st, 2013 I finally decided I was tired of fighting a losing battle and admitted that I could not “win it” alone. Within 24 hours, I was on a plane to Florida.
By getting honest with another woman, and learning that I am indeed not the only person with these thoughts, I was able to begin the process of healing. I’ve had ups and downs during this journey but one thing that I have never done these past six (almost seven) years was pick up a drink or a drug out of fear. That alone is a huge accomplishment for a once “hopeless alcoholic” like myself.
I remember a time when I was new to the program. The thought of putting my hand up in a meeting or a group made me absolutely nauseous. Speaking in a room full of people seemed like an impossible feat. If I am being totally honest, I still get butterflies before public speaking, but it is funny how life works because here I am today. Writing a blog in my office (that sentence alone is absolutely crazy), talking about overcoming the one thing I thought I would never be able to even begin to conquer. In a few moments, I will head out to our weekly alumni meeting and introduce myself to countless new strangers. In moments like this, I like to take a step back and really reflect on how far I have come since that first day when I was too scared to even raise my hand. Today I know that fear is a human reaction, and it is ok to experience but I now have a support system and a set of tools to help me work through it and in a healthy manner. The peace, serenity, and confidence that I have gained in my recovery are two of the most cherished gifts my sobriety has given me. Truly, anything is possible when we decide to kick fear out of the driver’s seat.
To learn more about Lisa and our alumni department, please click HERE.