The Fear of Being Happy

Do you ever have moments where you realize that things are actually going pretty well, that you are feeling pretty good, and you wonder "Okay, what's wrong.

When is the knife going to drop?"

I have that stupid Joy-Fear connection.

When things aren't falling apart, I wonder when it's going to start.

It's Day 5 sober today, and I'm feeling a number of things, from pride and confidence to control and health. I feel lighter. But tagging along as that loud, rattling fifth wheel is the constant worry of when I'm going to stumble and have a drink again.

Of when I fail at this.

Of already feeling regret for drinking eventually, despite being completely committed to never drinking again (because I've been through this before and know that I can't).

It hangs over me like a dull heavy knife on thin, frayed twine.

Worrying about all the inevitable situations where I'll be uncomfortable and tempted.

Why can't I just be here right now, sober on Day 5, and let that be enough? The problem with so many of us is that we are always somewhere else: in the future, in the past...we are always anywhere but here.

Worrying is just like any other habit. If you do anything long enough and often enough, it becomes second nature.

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

I read somewhere that the trick to breaking the Joy-Fear cycle is to replace the "fear" part with moments of simple pleasures. Instead of thinking "Wow things are going so great, I wonder when something awful is going to happen", to stop halfway at "Wow things are going so great" and follow it by something that brings you calm and happiness. Or to intentionally set out to do activities you know bring you great joy, followed by another experience of something that brings you calm.

It comes down to turning the Joy-Fear connection into a Joy-Calm connection.

To expect good things. Always.

It doesn't help that that I'm detoxing and going through withdrawal, and my anxiety is already at an all-time high. Yesterday was pretty brutal mid-day and I had to lay down for an hour.

It felt like I was under a blanket made out of patches of worry and threads of dread.

It was my 3rd day of not sleeping, and I just stared at the wall wanting to feel better. It passed eventually, but I had to spend the rest of the day literally keeping myself busy, wanting to pick up a bottle but instead picking up pots in the kitchen, cooking food I didn't need or want.

I was trying to turn my anxiety-fed-fear into things that bring me happiness, instead.

It sort of worked. Just like any other time I try and change my habits, it's going to take a lot of practice and awareness. And failures.

See? I'm already expecting to fail and stumble, regardless of how well things go.

Maybe it comes down to those false truths we tell ourselves every day? That voice inside that whispers "You're doing great...for now."  We've been listening to it for so many damned years of course we don't question it anymore.

We just silently agree and accept it as truth and wait for the day when we aren't doing great anymore.

And, because we agree with it, expect it, and inherently believe it, of course we are going to fail. Because we have a fear of being happy.

I do, anyways.

Did I drink because I was sabotaging myself and my life? Tearing it apart from the foundation because I felt I didn't deserve to be happy or successful? Waiting for all my good things to come toppling down, because I've just been waiting – forever – for them to?

I won't get into where I think that deep-rooted belief of mine came from (but I think I know), but I will say I know that expecting success is the game changer. Feeling it in my heart and the deepest parts of my gut that my life is so very much better without alcohol and will continue to be. Feeling so completely that the only possible outcome here is that I can and will totally rock this sobriety thing.

It is not the absence of the fear, but the courage to take action anyway that determines success

It's time to start expecting nothing but my wild success, one day at a time.

My only job is to line up all of my successful one-day-at-a-time's into weeks and years and forever and ever and ever's.

Sober, alcohol free recovery blogger.

Photographer. Writer. Ex-Blackout Artist.

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