Is My Fear The Fear of Fear Itself?

Okay, so it happened again today, for the fourth time in as many months.  Let’s get it clear here, this is not so much a fear of my past rearing it’s ugly head once more, as I am more than convinced that I have a hold on that, the will to drink is there no more, I don’t desire a drink, I haven’t for well over a year and although there is a fear I could regress, that is not what is causing me to panic these days, in fact I honestly don’t know what it is.

I was invited to go into town this lunchtime after Church to watch the football with a couple of friends from Church.  Now I don’t have a problem with people I know drinking around me, or indeed anyone drinking around me, that really isn’t a problem, but I just couldn’t say yes, I wrestled with over twenty four hours and still couldn’t work out what it was that was stopping me.  But I simply couldn’t bring myself to go and the sense of panic set back in and the fear inside won again.

This as I say is third time since last November, when I had my brush with depression, since then the fear seems far deeper.  But the thing is before that I was quite comfortable sitting a pub with friends, I was happy with a Pepsi or a lime & soda, whilst my friends drank whatever they wished, it really wasn’t a problem and people drinking around me still isn’t, but when it comes now to putting myself into that environment, I just seem to struggle.  So far I have managed to conquer the fear twice out of these three occasions.

Firstly, back in December, as the week before our work’s Christmas Meal moved on and the date came closer, I panicked and almost pulled out of going, right up until a few hours before I wasn’t going, the attack set in, but as I knew I would just have to face the inquest and go through it over and over again on the Monday morning back at work, I went, I stayed for the meal, which was early evening and then left the others to move on to various pubs and various degrees of drinking.  I have to say I enjoyed the meal, but didn’t really feel comfortable or even really fully part of the proceedings, I was just getting through it behind a kind of forced smile.

Then at the end of December, between Christmas and New Year, it was the fortieth birthday of my old school friend, who when I had no work a few years ago gave me a few days to keep me going.  I was invited and had agreed that I would go even if it was only for an hour or so, just to show my face and celebrate with him.  Again I didn’t have an issue with the drinking aspect, but when it come to the day in question, I panicked again and this time, when the time came to get ready I just laid down and turn away, I gave into the fear, I didn’t even have the courtesy to text or ring and explain, I just froze and chickened out.

Then the last time was a few weeks ago and my Boss’s wedding reception, seeing as I’ve known him about twenty five years, longer than anyone else at work and that he stuck his neck out and got me a job when I really needed one, I knew I had to go.  But again as the week the preceded it went by, I began to get that sense of fear and at one point I wasn’t actually going, but I hadn’t told him that.  Then on the day, one of my colleagues said he would only be going for an hour or so if I wanted a lift, so I agreed.  Again, I didn’t feel comfortable, I got through it, I couldn’t really bring myself to interact or get into the swing of things, I tried, but again I was just getting through it.

So when I got a text from Ali yesterday, inviting me along, all those feelings came back again, that fear, that panic, all of it came flooding back.  The thing is, I had no fear for drinking, the two people I would be with, one is one of our Pastors and Ally is one of the hosts of my Connect Group, they wouldn’t let me fail, I knew that, I knew they would support me, that have done for so long, I would be safe with them, but I still couldn’t go.

I really can’t get my head around this, I know that I wasn’t a big fan of the sitting in crowded pubs or restaurants, even when I was drinking, I much preferred the quiet pub, I drink with friends whilst chatting away, in fact in the last few months I have been in a pub a few times with a friend from Church, we just sat and chatted with a Coke each, no problems, no fear.

So what is the fear and panic?

I know from my karate training, it was always drummed into us that a good martial artist always avoids a fight, that the best way to avoid trouble, was to not be where you are likely to find it.

“Best block, not be there!”
(Kesuke Miyagi – Karate Kid 2)

Maybe I’m just avoiding a situation, it’s not a bad tactic, but as in this instant there was safety with the company I would be keeping, there is more to it.

I know that I really am beyond the urge to drink, far beyond it, it isn’t that, I’m sure of it, but I can’t really get a handle on it at the moment, it does seem to be something that become more of a concern since I fell into depression in November.  I know the anti depressants have done their job, those dark days of those couple of months have passed by, I actually feel more optimistic and hopeful for the future than ever before.

There are things in my life that aren’t as I would really like them, but when those become issues over the last few weeks, I just pray and feel a sense of comfort, a sense of “He has it in hand, carry on with what you’re doing and leave the rest to Him”.

But this one I can’t get beyond, I don’t know how to really get beyond it, I guess at some point I will have to brave it and move beyond it, that day will come, I’m sure of it.  I’ll be at Ally’s house this week, I will have a chat with him about then, maybe it’s really time to share this fear and let others help me through it.

There was though a very encouraging moment in Church this morning, Alan one of my biggest supporters, introduced me to a couple of guys who came to Church this morning, both are alcoholics who have been sober for a week or so now.  We had a good chat and it was great to see that later in the meeting they both raised their hands to accept Jesus as their saviour, it’s great to see other lives changed and hopefully I will be able to share their journey, just as others have shared and encouraged me through mine.

Your blood makes the deaf to hear right now
Your blood takes away the curse right now
Your blood heals every disease right now
Your blood sets the addict free right now

And I still believe 
You’re the same yesterday, today, and forever
And I still believe 
Your blood is sufficient for me

Your blood mends the broken hearts right now
Your blood compels me to forgive right now
Your blood transforms my mind right now
Your blood brings the dead to life right now

And I still believe 
You’re the same yesterday, today, and forever
And I still believe 
Your blood is sufficient for me

You’re the higher power
Darkness cannot stand
No longer bound to sin
I am free

And I still believe 
You’re the same yesterday, today, and forever
And I still believe 
Your blood is sufficient for me

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