Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Are You Scared?

One of the most difficult aspects of getting sober is learning to deal with fear.

Fear can prevent us from even getting off the starting blocks. I get lots of e-mails from people saying something along the lines of "I really want to quit drinking. I know I have to quit drinking. But I'm scared. Scared of failing, scared that I'll be miserable for ever, scared of living life without my favourite prop..."

That first hurdle is so daunting that, for many people, they can only scale it once they've reached 'rock bottom' (which is a place none of us want to get to).

Once we've overcome that initial fear we then have to learn how to cope with on-going fears and anxieties without our favourite method of numbing the edges, and that's really hard. We're totally out of practice at doing fear (or any emotion, actually), in the raw.

If any of this is ringing any bells with you, then check out this great YouTube clip of Will Smith talking about overcoming fear (click here).

Will concludes with the words on the other side of your maximum fear are all the best things in life.

And you know what? He's right!

Think back to some of your best days. Your finest moments. Maybe your wedding day? The day your first child was born? The time you won that huge contract, launched a new business or landed a book deal. The day you climbed a mountain, jumped out of a plane or ran a marathon.

What preceded those days? Fear, right? Or, at least, anxiety.

If you'd sidestepped that fear, you never would have experienced the brilliance of the other side.

Well, that's all very well, but even when you focus on the end goal, even when you know this is something you have to get through, it still doesn't mean it's easy, does it?

So, try this advice from the latest book by the brilliant Amy Cuddy:

Amy says that the secret to not only dealing with anxiety, but making it work in your favour is to reframe it in your mind as excitement.

In a recent study by Alison Brooks, when people were given a challenge of singing, speaking or doing a maths challenge in public, those who took a moment to reframe their anxiety as excitement outperformed all the others.

And, funnily enough, fear and excitement feel very similar, don't you think? There's that butterfly in the stomach sensation or, in my case, the nest of squirming vipers.

I've been trying this out. Every time I feel scared, I make myself think This is so exciting. There is something amazing on the other side of this hurdle. It's going to be fabulous.

It really works.

So, if you're still at that I know I need to quit but I'm really scared stage, then try thinking this instead: I'm so excited about starting on this challenge, because life on the other side of it is going to be INCREDIBLE!

And it will be....

Love SM x


  1. Aw thanks Sober Mummy. This just what I needed to hear today! You are amazing

  2. I love, "on the other side of your maximum fear are all the best things in life." So true.

    I'm going to try reframing anxiety as excitement. I'm a master at reframing excitement as anxiety, so surely it can go the other way, right?! I can't remember the last time I felt genuine excitement - somehow it always turns into stress and a desire to drink (I am only 9 days sober). I'm going to really work on being able to embrace this feeling. :) Thank you for this encouragement!

    I am documenting my journey, and am happy to find others also sharing their experiences. http://freedomandfearwithout.blogspot.com/

  3. I've just shared the will smith clip on my Facebook, I love love love it!!!!

    It's so true, feel the fear and do it anyway! So many times I tried to stop drinking and the thought of a night out or social event coming up would scare me and I just would go back to my old ways. But I was so fed up of that and this time I just did it, and the times you dread going out sober turn out to be ok, and you think you know what I can do this! I've just got back from my first sober camping trip and I had the best time, lots of hot chocolates and Becks blue lemon (which I've just discovered!) and a much better mummy to my 2 girls, playing games together, and just sitting and chatting.

    I'm on day 164 and to everyone in the early days the best advice I can give ( and that you gave me SM) is that take one day at a time, day by day, you can do it. Feel the fear and do it anyway, your Best ever version of you is out there waiting, go get her!!!!! Xxxx

  4. I just love your blog! But most importantly, the message you send out about being sober as the best gift in life one could have.

  5. I read this article from GQ today, an interview with Brad Pitt, who clearly had problems with alcohol and other things, as he admits. His privilege aside, his account of identifying tools to use to overcome his struggle with alcohol are interesting to our entire conversation with booze.


  6. Wise words. Alcohol for me was a way of escaping the present, which in reality meant my fears, anxieties etc. Reframing is a powerful technique (I use it in mediation). I am going to try it on myself now and reframe my fears as excitement!

  7. I'm feeling the fear and doing it anyway...!! Thanks SM x

  8. Excellent lik to the Will Smith clip. What was equally interesting in the side bar was that Brad Pitt has come out as sober for 6 months after claiming to drink enough vodka to drink a Russian under the table. Go Brad.

  9. As ever SM your words are thought provoking :-) Fear of stopping the numbing juice was very real and as you say, once the line was crossed, the journey for onwards and upwards is awe inspiring and exciting. Just thought I would share another of the benefits I am enjoying ... Memory!! I not only feel free and relaxed now at events and celebrations, but I remember and can re-enjoy the best bits :-))) 8 month target just met ..
    Happy Sunday all ....

  10. This is amazing advice! I am going to try this, thank you. xxx