Why do we Fear Sobriety?

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Why do we fear sobriety? It seems to me that the alternative is much more scary yet when we all or at least most of us approach the decision to quit drinking we express a fear of leaving alcohol behind. This makes no sense. Why should we fear escaping from our tormenting captor whom we have become hostages to?

Stockholm syndrome (Wikipedia) is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity. These feelings, resulting from a bond formed between captor and captives during intimate time spent together, are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims. Generally speaking, Stockholm syndrome consists of “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” (“The Stockholm Syndrome Revisited”. Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations.)

If we put aside the scientific physical evidence of the chemical changes and dependency that alcohol creates I believe there is an underlying psychological dependency as well. Much like the effects of the Stockholm Syndrome or in the way that an abused person learns to equate abuse with love we grow to need or require that pain. Without it we feel lost, abandoned.

Breaking that bond can be difficult. We are severing a familiar relationship that we have relied on to validate our feelings or dispel our needs. Although our fear is somewhat founded, if not misguided, it is a false fear that has become deeply ingrained and entangled with emotional demands.

Recognizing that we have come to rely on that abusive relationship with alcohol to provide solace and that it is erroneously founded is a vital beginning. One that we must cling to as we develop a new relationship with ourselves and learn to satisfy our needs in a positive manner. This can take a great deal of time. We are dissolving a learned and comfortable (however painful) dependency which can leave a hole in its wake. A scary place to be sure but one we must navigate and find our way through until we have replaced alcohol as our source of emotional support and outgrown destructive dependant behaviours.

As we may have had little or no prolonged experience with sobriety it is difficult to believe that it can provide us with the same relief as drinking. We find it hard to understand that our relationship with alcohol is a bad one and the idea of being without it is frightening. A strange concept when you consider the pain that alcohol has created but one we have become accustomed to.

So we must get beyond the fear and believe that we will fill the void with a better relationship. It will take some time and we will experience the same grief we do when we lose a loved one but we can attain that if we maintain our resolve. When the grief passes we will come to find a different love and acceptance. Our fear will be replaced with recognition and understanding. We will no longer be held hostage.

Fear not freedom.

Today I will not drink,

Will you join me?

Will you join me in making a change in your life?

Will you join me in leaving pain and remorse behind?

Will you join me in clarity?

Will you join me in freedom?

Will you join me in resolve?

Will you join me in strength?

Will you join me in finding yourself?

Will you join me in peace?

Will you join me in all that life has to offer?

Will you join me in sobriety?


This post is by Rob Morton , the self published author of Stuff I Wrote and a member of BOOM the Independent, anonymous, private community inside Boozemusings .

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