All of us in addiction recovery, we all get that feeling - usually close to our hearts. It's a tightness and it can lead to a speedy heart beat, sweating and shallow breaths.
I still get it.
You can call it whatever you choose to call it, but the fact is that it's fear.
For me, it's usually fear of an uncertain future, long term or short term.
We want good things to happen to us. If we didn't care where we were headed in life, we would just have a constant feeling of boredom and apathy instead of having this "tightness" appear from time to time, sending us an important message.
So what message is this feeling sending us?
It's telling us it's time to take action - action is the only way to deal with this type of fear of uncertainty
Despite what you may think, motivation is the result of action, not the other way around. If you're waiting for some inspiration or motivation before you take action, you'll have to keep waiting because it's not coming.
This is why so many of us get stuck.
We are too afraid to take action because we don't know if it's the right one so we justify our inaction because we don't want to screw up. Pah! Such BS. I've done it.
Done is better than perfect!
This phrase has saved so many people from a below average existence. It means that we MUST take action and get the job done even if it's not going to be perfect.
(This blog post is a great example of this)
Nothing is perfect! The more we take consistent action, our opinion of ourselves changes and we acquire identity capital.
Think of identity capital as a virtual asset that we carry with us at all times. If you are a person who is not used to taking action consistently and you start doing so, your behaviors change and this also changes the way you think and will spill over positively into other areas of your life.
You begin to change.
Just because "done is better than perfect" doesn't mean that as long as we take any action that we're going to be okay. Not so.
We need to know where we want to be in the future so our actions can guide us in that direction.
So let's back up a second. If you're feeling anxious, frustrated, have an elevated heart rate and break into a cold sweat from time to time, is it possible that you really don't know where you want to go?
The first step in overcoming any sort of block that we may be experiencing is to have a clear plan for the future. If we don't have a plan, we don't know what action to take and that leads to all kinds of fear.
I'm a recovery coach and when I start working with a new client, the first thing I have them do is identify exactly what they want their future to look like.
I have a set of specific questions that they answer and this gives them a crystal clear vision of what they want their lives to look like.
We reverse engineer that vision into a daily series of actions which will transform them into the person who can achieve their vision.
If we don't have a vision, we don't know what we're supposed to do today and this is not the way to live happy and free!
Think about it - you've made it this far. You've done the impossible and you're sober today - the hard part is done!
Take some time today and write out exactly what you want your life to look like in 3 years. Don't sell yourself short either. The person you are today is not going to be able to achieve those goals and dreams, but the person that you are going to become, can.
Kelly is a nationally certified recovery coach, interventionist and motivational speaker.
He has been in long term addiction recovery for over 15 years.