In this blog, I am talking about courage. Bravery. Perseverance. What does courage mean to you?
The dictionary tells me that courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It is to be brave and confident enough to do what you believe in and it is the ability to control fear and to be willing to deal with something that is dangerous, difficult or unpleasant.
Let’s read these words about courage, from Frictionless Living:
Courage arrives when we finally decide we have had enough.
Courage is always present, but standing in the background, waiting to be called upon.
Courage is not selective. It is available to anyone and everyone who seeks it.
Courage allows us to pursue our dreams, even when the world says our dreams are impossible.
Every person on this planet has tapped into courage, whether they know it or not.
Courage keeps us from being stagnant.
Courage inspires us.
Courage steps out from the shadows to shine Light on our dreams.
Life is always giving us signs, pointing the way for us. Sometimes there are many roads that will lead us to one of our life destinations. The key is having the courage to take one of those roads.
I think it’s safe to say that both fear and courage will always show up in our lives. Which one will we choose to be our tour guide?
Courage is Bravery
I agree with these words 100 % – I know that giving up something takes courage. Making changes takes courage. Facing another day takes courage. But humans are courageous, you are courageous. I believe that courage comes from self-belief. I know that many people lack self-belief.
If you are reading my blog because you want to stop drinking, that takes courage. Yes, it is time to find the courage to say NO. Say no to alcohol, wine, beer, whiskey – whatever it is that you are/were drinking to be “happy” and “like everyone else”.
Why do people drink? I remember my drinking days – I used to look forward to that first wine glass and then the other 3 or 4. But the next day, I did not look forward to the guilt, the puffy face, and the slow body. NO.
Sobriety is Courageous
If you have decided to be sober, you are more courageous than you think. When you choose to take a different path from the herd, to be the real you, you are already probably going to make your friends uncomfortable. You will meet fellow sober people who are happy and bright and healthy. You will open doors to the real you and to authentic living. YES.
According to the Renaissance Recovery Centre, you are wise if you “know that courage isn’t the absence of fear. Many see courage as an absence of fear, but in reality, it is the ability to move forward despite the fears that come your way. If you are harboring feelings of fear when reflecting on the road to recovery ahead — be it fear of leaving friends behind, fear of creating a new lifestyle, or fear of the unknown — it doesn’t mean that you don’t have courage. Your courage will be defined, rather, by how you respond to these fears.”
Courage is made up of different dimensions – we can call them bravery, honesty and perseverance. Be honest to yourself and to your family when you stop drinking – be honest about how much you are drinking and about how much you have lost and how much you have got to win now.
Stand up for the Real You
Be brave when you stand up for your inner child, your inner belief system and if that means losing friends along the way, so be it. Other doors will open. Be perseverant in the face of criticism and judgement from those who still drink. The stigma of NOT drinking sucks because why should we drink if everyone else does? There will be challenges along your sober path, but you will keep putting one foot in front of the other as you create the life you want and deserve.
It was Nelson Mandela who recognised that courage is not the absence of fear, “but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Why do so many people feel the need to self-medicate when they are sad or lonely and stressed? Johann Hari said “To end loneliness, you need other people – plus something else. You also need … to feel you are sharing something with the other person, or the group, that is meaningful to both of you. You have to be in it together – and “it” can be anything that you both think has meaning and value.”
He also said that “something has gone badly wrong with our culture. We’ve created a culture where really large numbers of the people around us can’t bear to be present in their daily lives. They need to medicate themselves to get through their day.”
Watch Johann Hari’s famous “Connection is the opposite of addiction” video here!
To be fearful is to be human. To be human is not to be weak, but to be authentic. Authenticity is a major goal of recovery. Bravery and courage help men confront and walk through their fears, whatever their fears may be. Life is able to be lived without limitations. Learning to confront the limitations of the self and walk bravely through them is the start of a life lived courageously.
The day you wake up and decide that you want to stop drinking is the day your courage drives you. When you admit to yourself that something is not right with your life, you are being brave. When you look up from your smallness and look around, you see others struggling too. You see that if you climb out of this quagmire, you can help them too. I come from a drinking family and I can hardly bear to see now how people’s drinking affects their children.
If you need professional help when you decide to quit, get it. It makes you even more courageous to reach out and find that help. “Asking for help takes courage … If you have the courage to relentlessly pursue sobriety, your life will infinitely grow.”
Ernest Hemingway said that “courage is grace under pressure” and Christopher Reeve said that either you “decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.”
What do you think? Do you have courage inside you? How many day ones have you had? Why? Do you believe in yourself? Have you ever looked at yourself from a distance and noticed your strengths? Did you know that you have so much to offer society? Why are you here? Is it to drink?
Making Changes Takes Courage
When you start to learn about the addictive brain and why some people drink, take drugs, smoke, gamble, shop, eat sugar, and more you start to realise that our bodies are ruled by hormones and chemicals.
Before modern times, people were surviving – they were only concerned about basic human needs: food, water, shelter, sex, social connection. The invention of money changed all of that! Now we all work for money and the earth is being plundered for money. WHY?
We drink to escape and as Johann Hari notes, “What if depression is, in fact, a form of grief – for our own lives not being as they should? What if it is a form of grief for the connections we have lost, yet still need?”
There is a stigma attached to people who are addicted to anything. And many people have an opinion that addiction shows a lack of courage. What do YOU think? Addiction is a complex issue. Much of society’s addiction problems stem from childhood trauma. If you have experienced childhood trauma, it is a good idea to investigate this and seek help.
“The truth is that any kind of life change is scary – whether you’re an addict or not. The comfort and familiarity of the way it has been makes it challenging and intimidating to step into a new life. Sometimes, even though one’s old way of life is hard, it’s common for a person to stay in the difficulty of their old life out of fear of making a change. The fear of what it might be like, the fear of losing a part of you, and the fear of not being able to make it can easily keep someone stuck in the cycle of addiction.”
Dr Gabor Mate suffered deep trauma as a child and has recognised that “it’s not what happens to you externally that defines the trauma but what happens internally to you as a result of it.”
That pain and wounding can happen when a little infant is not picked up when they’re crying. That child experiences a wound, and there will be a corresponding constriction in the psyche and in the self. There will also be compensatory mechanisms to prevent that pain from happening again. Those mechanisms could be trying to be pleasant and nice to others while ignoring one’s own feelings, or it could be trying to soothe oneself through various behaviors. Kids may rock themselves or suck their thumbs or masturbate or overeat and then, later on, may use drugs. With those compensations, one is either trying to make oneself more acceptable to others by constricting one’s own self-expression or trying to soothe the pain when it becomes too much. Either way, it’s a pathology.
Pathology is disease and most of society suffers from dis-ease. I believe that. Dis-ease goes hand in hand with addiction. What do you think about all of this?
But let’s get back to our theme of courage. Do you have courage? Are you willing to make changes to your life? Connect with us and send me a mail about your dreams and goals.
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