OMG if I had a dollar for every “What if” I’ve heard come out of an alcoholic mouth, I’d be rich, rich, rich! That includes myself. Fear prevents us from moving forward and the “What if’s” are pure fear.
What if I fail?? What if I’m not really an alcoholic? What if this, what if that. Playing the What If game is a dangerous thing. We alcoholics are masters at justifying our actions and the What If game will enable us to continue to walk our same dangerous path out of fear. When faced with the possibility of getting sober, we’re hit with all kinds of emotions. Fear, anger, doubt. Of course, we don’t want to admit any of that, we convince ourselves we either don’t have a problem or we can do it on our own. What if gives us the ammunition we need to fire back and continue to live in denial.
If you live your life doing the “What if” thing, what kind of life is that to have? What if is fueled by fear. If you let fear lead you around by the nose, you’re not living, you’re merely existing. Trust me when I tell you I did that for a great many years, and it’s not a way you want to live. “What if” I leave the house today and get hit by a truck? “What if” I go to class and they don’t like me? “What if “ I go to the job interview and I don’t get the job? Here’s an enlightening thought…..”What if” you succeed? You’ll never know unless you TRY.
In recovery, there are a great many people who don’t get it the first time. I once met this older man at a meeting. He had about 30 plus years of sobriety. He had what looked like a multi-colored walking stick. Most of it was white. It wasn’t too long before I realized the walking stick was made up of his “chips” In a 12 step program, here in Northern Florida, they give out chips that signify different phases of sobriety. The White chip is the chip of surrender. It’s the chip you pick up when you’re finally ready to give in and try to fight for sobriety. The Brown chip is 30 days, Purple chip is 60 days, Red chip is 90 days, Yellow chip is 6 months, Green Chip is 9 months and the coveted Blue chip is 1 year or any anniversary. I asked the man about the walking stick and he smiled. He said, “ Most people look at all the white chips and see how many times over the years I screwed up, do you want to know what I see when I look at it?” I nodded and he then said, “I see how many times I didn’t give up.” I can’t describe all the feelings that rushed through me at that moment, but I can name one….”Hope” He gave me a sense of hope that I’d been missing. You can do ANYTHING you want to do, providing you put your mind to it and put in the work. It’s not going to be handed to you.
September 30, 2014
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist