The Adventure Begins When the Hero Takes a Stand
21 years ago, the only thing I hated more than waking up in the shame storm of a raging hangover was the idea of quitting drinking. Living in the world unarmored and scared, with nowhere to hide—umm, no thanks.
I was a ‘no’ to the world I was caught in, and an even bigger ‘no’ to the way out.
Drinking was decimating my life, but I was angry that I ‘had’ to stop.
I danced circles around my fear. “I shouldn’t have to give up the very thing that makes life okay, gives me confidence, makes me feel playful and fun and free. How come other people can drink ‘normally’? It’s not fair. I shouldn’t have to deal with this shit.”
If someone had told me then that quitting drinking would be an adventure, I would’ve told them to fuck directly off.
There’s no adventure without a “why”.
It sure as hell didn’t feel like this was happening for me, and I was in full resistance.
I wanted comfort and safety, and I wanted it to be easy. I was looking for a way out (make it stop), and turning away from my most valuable resource: Me.
I was being called to find something deeply true for me, and to trust this experience was here to move me toward that truth.
The compelling reason presented itself one (hungover) day while doing yoga.
Standing in tree pose, I became aware of an immense weight, like a heavy cloak on my shoulders. It was dark and restricting, and as my hands naturally lifted to drop it away, I felt a sense of light, and of the potential that existed within me.
It was one clear note: I would never realize who I came here to be if I kept drowning myself in booze.
I got it. Crossroads. Keep going down the road to hell, systematically destroying everything that matters to me—or find out what’s possible if I show up to live into my potential.
It was only a glimmer at the time, but it was enough. It was a YES to track, a compelling ‘why’ that I could anchor myself to, and I let it lead me.
BUT FIRST THE FEAR
Our thinking mind complains, argues, and resists—convincing us to run, fight or control our way through a tough situation. These strategies may work for a while, but they’ll always lead back into the mess, because there’s something there for us.
An attempt to bypass our disempowered thoughts by ‘focusing on something positive’ won’t work either, it’ll feel like a backed-into-a-corner demand to be okay with something when we’re totally not. You can’t think yourself into believing an experience is on your side when you feel powerless and at the mercy of it.
My resistance was a cue to get intimate with fear—and the thinking that fuelled it—because I needed to face off with fear if I was going after the treasure.
The challenge was to meet fear head-on and transform my relationship with it.
Be the Hero
Fear comes from a belief we’re powerless, and a belief we’re powerless is a protection strategy—it’s an unconscious desire for rescue: “Don’t make me have to do something I don’t want to—don’t make me look here, face this, swim in the shark infested waters of my own fear.”
Complaint is a way to deflect fear—and it cuts us off from our wisdom and creativity.
If you’re willing to find the thing you’re most afraid of in your experience and turn straight for it, you’ll find ways to weave your courage through it.
Not long after my ‘why’ showed up, I talked myself into going to an AA meeting. That night I got out the door late— I was an 8 minute drive from a meeting that started in 2 minutes. It was the perfect set up to delay sobriety one more week.
Gotta make a good impression, right? If I’m walking into an AA meeting, better look like I have my shit together. Yup, next week. Definitely a better time to start this journey.
I rolled up to a T-intersection: a left turn pointed to the meeting and a right turn back toward the safety of home. My mind voted right, and my courage turned left. With deep compassion it drove me to the doorstep of the last place on earth I wanted to be. And to the hands-down best move I’ve ever made.
You can twist in the wind hoping something outside of you will change, or you can choose to be the hero in your story and use your ‘crappy’ situation to embark on a quest to become clear-hearted, clear-minded and truly free.
You don’t need rescue—you need to suit up, be a warrior for your truth, and bravely navigate your way through life’s challenging experiences.
That’s the adventure. And life just keeps inviting us in.