They go up and down and all around. So hang on, or put your hands in the air if that’s your thing. Breath and realize you’ve never had a scowl on your face after riding a roller coaster. You have always gotten off a roller coaster smiling from ear to ear and can’t wait to tell your friends how awesome the ride was, right? This is exactly what living in recovery is like. It starts out slow, building to the top of the roller coaster. You are nervous about the coaster being released onto the track pointing downhill, seeing many different loops and curves ahead. You know you need to brace for those hard, tight curves. You start to sweat with excitement, maybe some fear. And you come out unscathed able to take a breath. Next comes the big loop. You don’t like loops of roller coasters much, but you’re willing to face and power through them . Once again, you grab on tight and take another deep breath. You pray that you don’t fall out of the your car. – “Yeah, we’ve all had that thought. Don’t lie to yourself. Remember, this is a program of honesty!”
The next thing you know, your hair is standing straight off the top of your head (mostly for the women). You think this is fantastic. In a split second, you make it through the loop of (fear) excitement. Understand, you’re going to feel both fear and excitement some days in recovery. Both feelings are healthy to “feel” and “experience”.
The most important thing is that you “experience” those feelings and make them happen. You’re not taking action if you’re only feeling them or thinking about them. Don’t overthink things. Ride the ride and power through the tough feelings you have some days. “You won’t die from feeling a feeling!” But you may not have the life you want if you don’t face the feelings you have and act on them. Most importantly, the fear feelings. Fear is only a projected perception of what may or may not happen. Understand? Good!
What does this all mean then when you tell me to ride the ride without thinking about things? It means to simply jump in the roller coaster and face the fear of your feelings without overthinking what the outcome will be. It is a hard to do at first. I’ve walked in those shoes and still need to jump in my own roller coaster everyday. But remember, “Were you smiling before, during, and after the roller coaster ride was finished?” – Yes, you were! It is no different with having to do things that are scary in recovery. You have to focus on the good feelings that you’ll experience. These type of feelings will far outweigh the fear feelings.
There is one thing for certain that will happen if you face your fears in life. Your strength will grow everyday by doing the next right thing to better your life. The first being, that you choose to be sober today no matter what it takes. I promise you this! I was scared as hell at times having to do something or talk to someone I didn’t know. I had a perception of what would happen if things didn’t turn out how “I wanted it to turn out”. Wrong! It will never turn out how you want it to. I’d like for you to take a step forward with faith, just as you have done with reading my blog. Geez, I hope my blog isn’t that scary of a thing to read? So why are so many things (actions) so hard for us to do as alcoholics and addicts? I won’t go deep into that right now, but usually we’re over thinking things. Keep your program simple, relax, breathe and capture what today has given you. Ever heard of paralysis by analysis?
Be the person who wants to sit in the front car of the roller coaster. The one who is going to be the most scared, yet seeking the best view on the ride. Be the person who wants to lead everyone on this crazy roller coaster of recovery by putting up your hands and scream with excitement! – (Show them how to have faith!)
Be the person everyone sees when that roller coaster ride is done that has a big smile on their face and can’t wait to tell their friends about their experience! (i.e.- Get excited to get to your next meeting to tell others how crazy yesterdays ride was for you.) This is what it will be like for you in recovery. Living sober, living happy, and living in peace.
I hope you enjoyed the ride with me today. I did. It’s 3 minutes to 10pm. My wife is sound asleep. My dog is patiently waiting for me to go to bed. I’m sacrificing time away from the ones I love to write this post for you. I write because I am you. I need you and you need me. I don’t ever want to ride a roller coaster alone. I bet you don’t want to either. Hang in there with me if you’re having a tough ride today. Remember, maybe you’re roller coaster ride isn’t supposed to end today. You may only be in the loop of the ride. But don’t worry, I’m sitting next to you and so is your Higher Power. We’re all going to finish the ride together with smiles on our faces when it’s done.
I may be sitting in the front car today leading you in this thing we call recovery. But soon, you will be telling your own story about what it’s like to ride on your roller coaster. A story just like mine that will help the next suffering alcoholic and addict.
So ask yourself, “Do you have a scowl on your face right now or a smile?” I hope you’re smiling after reading this! You’ll sleep better for it.
May you smile through all the loops and curves of your roller coaster ride in recovery!