I imagine my fear as a huge dragon that takes many different forms. Health scares with my children, relationship problems, death, work stress, my underlying value. The dragon has a different label, but it’s the same. And I am trying now, as a completely sober person, to stare it right in the eyes. I don’t want to let it chase me off. I don’t want to keep running forever or hiding in the forest or looking over my shoulder. I want to be able to stand out on the edge of the canyon and see it all. I want to feel free and strong, not held back by fear.
Although I don’t have anxiety issues, and my rock bottom was not as deep as Elizabeth Vargas’s , her book reminded me of exactly how I felt four years ago, and of how precious my sobriety is. She reminded me that whether or not I thought I started drinking too much for good reason, once I started hiding bottles, once I started lying to my husband about how much I was drinking, and unsettling my children with my memory lapses and bizzare behavior….it was game over.
I look away when things are scary. When I’m filled with fear, I try to control other things because I feel like I can’t handle it. I get light-headed, nauseous, sweaty, panicked. There is a ringing in my ears. Sometimes when it’s not as bad, I just procrastinate instead. I do laundry, shop online, watch
I am tracking my progress with a purple heart. At first…..I thought “no!” because purple hearts are reserved for heroes who show enormous courage to save another.
And then I realized: I am a hero.
Recovery is taking all the courage I’ve ever had and some I didn’t know I had…..I am saving me.
Yup. Purple Heart is more than appropriate.