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  • Writer's pictureMike and Glenn

Sobriety can be scary shit

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

In our youth, there was an old scary story or movie reference (When a Stranger Calls; 1979) that went around where an assumed killer kept calling the babysitter's house phone spewing disturbing and descriptive, harsh threats. The whispered intimidation was terrifying, but the sitter found some comfort in locking and blocking all the homes openings. Toward the end of the tale, the babysitter reaches out to the phone company who informs her that the calls are coming from inside the house. She was trapped by her own hand. We don’t remember how that fable ended, but the fear of the simulated scenario gripped us regardless.

Our journey from terror to tranquility resembles the fictitious narrative presented above. We, too, found ourselves imprisoned, by our own doing, in a dwelling with no opening for an escape. We felt the danger closing in and, like the minder, found that the threat was about to be the victor. We separated ourselves from available help, cutting off the outsides while refusing the capability of the insides.

Simply put, We isolated ourselves from the world and let our fear dictate direction.

Our advice to the young lady today would be as follows: Call the freakin police- and get the hell out of the danger area. And, by the way, STOP answering the phone! If she had taken a solid inventory of resources available, her night might have turned out less bloody – some would say more pleasant.

The path from scary to sober is long. It's longer than what gets crammed into a ninety-minute movie or an eight-hundred-word blog. The base required to heal fully is a complete and comprehensive understanding of what makes us tick. The process of self-discovery is a journey that never ends. The voices, calling from inside the house, tell us that doom is our destiny. That discovery is overrated and unnecessary. That help is for the weak and that our self-created scenarios hold our fate.

We have found that fear flees when we turn the lights on, exposing reality. When we reach out for help, relief arrives rapidly. When we set in motion a plan to keep moving forward, we seldom find ourselves moving backward. And, when we choose complete honesty, we receive wide-ranging reward.

Practical Advice to ourselves – when we are in a scary place:

We don't do this alone. There is power in numbers and peace in shared experience. We need be aware that one can be alone in a crowd; been there! Open up and be vulnerable if needed, as others can see the danger we are blind to. The opposite of isolation is connection. We have learned that isolation delivers devastation. In connection lies a cure.

Honestly, find honesty. The root of relief is found in reality. Getting honest with ourselves is the first and most important step toward recovery. The truth, proven to us over time, is that there is a resolve to our drink problem; this resolution requires complete and absolute honesty. Half effort in this area will result in a half-healed soul. The stakes are too high for a misstep here. We have seen many a man laid out in a coffin due to half-heartedly approaching himself.

Embrace the past. We are the result of millions of experiences and thousands of interactions. Our instinct is to discard all as bad. To throw the baby out with the bath water. Most of our past was wrapped in the aroma of alcohol; underneath each instant and individual, however, a scent of legitimacy and sensitivity lingers. Love happened despite the lounge setting. We acquired skills and added value. We formed relationships that can now flourish if fed. We can, with effort, learn to forgive our old, sick selves and nurture our new, healthy form to experience what is meant to be. Living in a pure place, a loving space, can be ours with the right amount of work.

Trudge with both feet. The word trudge stirs up thoughts of pain and discomfort. Actually, the definition reads, in part, to walk slowly and with heavy steps. The point is to move constantly toward the goal, understanding that harsh conditions may surround us. Learn along the way to suffer better. Put the pain in perspective. It is the work and exhaustion in the gym that produces the desired physique. Some promises unfold as unexpected miracles for those who painstakingly approach recovery. We freakin guarantee it!

Recovery is a process. It takes time. Don’t give up before the miracle happens. Do the work and be prepared to reap the rewards. If one fights fear head-on, accepts guidance, gets honest, and keeps moving, they will experience an indescribable transformation – we have seen it happen hundreds of times.

If we aren’t feeling it, it is because we are not working it. If we are not investing in self-discovery, we are letting fear win. If we are not getting diagnosed and treated, we are short-selling our potential.

Baby steps in the right direction remove the barriers we have placed in the bogyman's path - obstructions that are hampering OUR freedom.

We hope the babysitter in the leading story got out safely. We know we did. And we know you can, too.

Keep the lights on,


Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from a podcast titled #140 “Serving up Sobriety - with CJ..” The session dropped on 11/29/2023…Click here to hear the podcast.


Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.


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