The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway



If you’re a parent, you’re familiar with that closing line from the Frozen soundtrack hit “Let it Go”.  For those of you who don’t have children, and haven’t heard the song…I envy you.  You are on terra firma.  The rest of us are plunged into an icy abyss of relentless repeats of that song being played by our wee ones.  Or at least I am.  My two boys listen to that soundtrack ad nauseum. I have practically memorized the songs and lyrics through osmosis.  I have absorbed the Disney-ness of those tunes and I am not sure where I sit with that.  I have mentioned my helplessness to others, and they have been cheeky in reminding me to just “let it go”.  Hardy har har.

But they are on to something.  I really did have to let it go.  I had to surrender to the fact that the boys love the music, and it’s harmless and to them, it’s also the soundtrack to their young lives at this moment in time.  So why take that away from them? But the idea of letting go goes beyond a simple soundtrack.  For this alcoholic, letting go takes on a greater meaning.  My entire life process now revolved around letting things go.  From the minuscule annoyance to the gargantuan resentment, letting go is my ticket to serenity.

Whole books have been written about letting go, and many spiritual teaching discuss this as well.  I am not an expert on it, but merely a mortal trying to navigate through that which no longer serves him.  And that is simply the way I look at letting go.  I release myself from the things that no longer add to my life or serve it.  The problem with that simplistic way of looking at it is that the ego doesn’t like to let things go.  As Eckhart Tolle and others would describe, the ego holds onto problems as a way of creating an identity.  Ego has no identity of its own, so it attaches itself to thoughts and forms that gives it identity.  Left to its own devices, ego dies into non-existence. It’s when I allow it to leach onto thoughts, like a remora to a shark, that it starts to gain strength and leads me astray.

When I clutch onto things that don’t serve me, consciously or unconsciously, I am either causing more pain or discomfort in my life, or I am limiting myself.  Or both.  I am also taking energy away from the things that I could be doing.  When I feel in tune with what my heart or spirit tells me, I feel serenity.  Even if it’s tough at first, or there is fear.  When I am out of joint with where I am supposed to be, I feel it.  I know when I am not in tune when I get that knotted feeling in my gut.  When I hear that tiny voice of reason / conscious contact telling me that I shouldn’t be doing X, Y or Z.  I know I am swimming upstream when things seem to be an unnecessary struggle.

When I was drinking, or even when I wasn’t drinking but not well, I would run my life counter-current to how it should have been.  I strongly identified with whatever it was my ego was telling me.  I was negative, foul-mouthed, irresponsible, inappropriate, reckless, etc…self-will run riot, if you will.  I always had that wee voice telling me different, but I shut it down with alcohol and just plain defiance.  In my heart I knew what I was doing wasn’t how I was to be, but I ignored it.  Ego drove the bus and to hell with the consequences.  I was in the cold.  The warmth of the sunlight of the spirit was yet to cast itself upon me.  I would justify and rationalize my behaviours and thoughts.  I isolated.  I drank.  I vowed, like the song says, that the cold never bothered me anyway…I was alone in my frozen icy castle, cut off from everyone.  And that is how my illness liked it.  Felt like home, in my icy castle.

Surrendering to my illness and my powerlessness over it was the first great Letting Go that I did.  I had no choice. I was dying a slow death.  Everything in me wanted to preserve the status quo, even if it was going to kill me.  But I did.  And as I have continued on this journey, I have seen that my life is now a matter of letting go. Big and small.  I know I have let go when I feel my breathing is easier.  When that tightness in my chest dissipates.  When I feel closer to Creator and to others around me. When I feel more centered in my self, rather than in my ego.

I have had to let go of many things in my recovery and life so far – relationships, friendships, certain activities, thought patterns, emotional baggage, etc. Ego continues to be my nemesis, and the things that come with it – negative thoughts, self-centered fears, selfish acts, etc.  But I have learned to recognize when I am being untrue to my true nature and at least that gives me a fighting chance. Seeking counsel with others also lets me see things I don’t see. Forgiveness is also a great way of letting go (and a topic on its own).

What I also know is that something that I thought I let go of, can easily return if I an not vigilant and staying in the actions that brought me there in the first place.  Hanging onto certain things gives me a sense of comfort, and ego likes that.  Even when they cause me grief in ways.  Even when I see that its causing some harm. And that’s the tough part.  The underlying thought is “well, if I let that go, what will become of me?”.  Hmmm…maybe getting better? Maybe Creator fills that void with something else. Always does.  So why am I still fearful of letting go sometimes?  Comfort…again.  Complacency.  Laziness.  Fear.  Transformation comes only with shedding the old skin.  But I will sometimes hold on even when that skin it’s tight and constricting.  And it’s in that discomfort that I know it is the right thing to do.

I have a long list of things I have released. I also have a long list of things I still grasp onto.  I know that I will get there.  Through daily surrender and walking through fear, I know that I can alleviate those which anchor me to suffering.  It’s a process, and a slow one for me, but I am learning to do it.  And often it shows itself by the simple way of me just waking up and deciding that I am going to stop X, Y or Z or I am going to do X, Y or Z.  Just like that.  That is how I started up with running – that day I let go of the narrowing idea that I wasn’t a runner and never would be.  I recently woke up one day and realized that I no longer wanted meat/fish/chicken in my diet.   I woke up not too long ago and decided that I would stop trying to dictate what I think my recovery should look like and stop comparing.  Staying awake to Creator is most important in my growth.

I have woken up to a lot of things and hope to do so looking forward.  I am no longer satisfied to live in the cold of my ego, the chill of my ignorance.  I am happiest when I am basking in the warmth of Creator and His will for me, no longer frozen in my head and will.  It sounds airy fairy saying all that, but it works for me.  And learning to embrace a design for living rather than struggling…I will taken that any day.

What have you let go of recently?

69 Comments Add yours

  1. sassysober1 says:

    The song Little Wonders by Rob Thomas reminds me of my sobriety for similar reasons.

    1. Thank you – I will check that one out.

  2. stinkydrink says:

    Beautiful. Needed to hear this.

    1. Thank you for being here. I look forward to reading more from your blog.


  3. ASA says:

    Great post, Paul! This came at such a perfect time for me. I am realizing I may be “letting go” of my current friend group pretty soon. I notice that the longer I am on this journey, the less and less I have in common with them…and that had me balled up with stress, anxiety and FEAR all weekend. I decided I would reach out more to people in the sober community – here online and in my city. Just in a couple of days of actually trying to reach out (for once), I feel a new life blossoming…and I feel really certain that everything will be alright! I’m so glad this showed up in my inbox today. 🙂

    1. I am glad you’re here – it sounds like you’re on the right path and are going with your gut on those things. Reaching out is important…and you’re doing well with that. Thank you for the kind comments.


  4. ainsobriety says:

    Wow. Powerful and so true. Letting go has been my lifeline. My saving grace. My release of ego and my return to whole ness.

    You put it so eloquently.

    And what I love is that if I decide to try something, like giving up cheesecake or coffee, I can change my mind if I realize that I’m not actually letting go, but trying to control. It’s very liberating to realize you can change you mind!

    I love this. I have had some fear that in letting go I was giving up. But that is so not the case. When my actions come from a place of kindness and compassion for myself they are steps forward. They add to my peace of mind.

    Thank you for this wonderful description.

    1. ” I can change my mind if I realize that I’m not actually letting go, but trying to control. It’s very liberating to realize you can change you mind!”

      You bring up a very, very good point. Wanting to control can look like liberation in one way or another (I did the same with sugar). It wasn’t until I let go of the fact that I am trying to control, was I able to truly moderate and be comfortable with that…and many other things. Clearly I am trying to control other things still. It’s a process for me.

      Great insight in your comments…thank your for this.


  5. Wow Paul. Love this post. Couldn’t help but think of my eldest daughter who is struggling through life right now. I need to share your words with her. Especially, “I release myself from the things that no longer add to my life or serve it.” Thanks, as always, for your wonderful insight. Trish

    1. I am praying for you and your eldest daughter. I hope that good things come to pass for you both. Thank you for being here.


  6. Dustin John says:

    You are a runner, writer, inspirer, and Disnlanthropist. Amazing post. I find it strange HOW EASY the old, worn out, peeled back, false Dustin pops back up when I think I am due for an AA vacation. Sometimes even when I’m fully aware he will pop up like a jack-in-the-box. I am quick today to put the lid back on him but I realize now that he is really trying to kill me. It’s no wonder I hate clowns. Thanks again for another great piece.

    1. You speak my truth, Dustin. You really do. I am having that situation happening to me right now – the old me is cropping up as I take my AA vacation. It never ceases to amaze me how it happens every single time, which makes me truly realize that I cannot be casual with this. Your words really hit me today, in the midst of an old-Paul kind of day. Thank you for the wake up.

      Love and light brother


      1. Dustin John says:

        It sounds much more enticing for me to relax with my wife before work than to hit a meeting. Especially when I only get to see her for two hours on the weekdays. I fight this every time. It is a constant battle in my head and if I’m not careful, a week will pass without a meeting. Then the negative thoughts of “well it has already been a week so you might as well not go today” creeps in. The anxiety builds the longer I go without going. I take more vacations than I should. Luckily, I can go days before I get squirly. You know your limits. Stay inside them and don’t be hard on your self. We all slack off. Breaks can be healthy too. 🙂

        1. It’s been about three weeks for me, which is squirrely time. My problem is that I get up so early, that 8pm seems an eternity. I was asleep at that time last night. Excuses, I know. I will hit the meetings. I get that anxiety too. I get locked into my own head, even though I do communicate with other alcoholics online. But it’s just not the same, as you know.

          Thanks again Dustin – you’ve helped me.

          1. Dustin John says:

            I believe we all push our limit of squirely and for myself, I still slip into thinking I have it under control. Its funny because I know I don’t and I have proved it with many relapses. The only good thing that has came from it, well two things is, I haven’t gotten addicted to AA which is easy to do, and I now know where my breaking point is. Hang in there my friend and get you ass to a meeting. lol I will go tonight as well. I need one. I agree with the online networking. It is healthy and good for us but we are great at abusing and putting ourselves into a position that can hide us in a danger zone. I talk to many of AAers everyday while I am isolated alone, on my couch. That to me can be dangerous if I am not careful. Thanks for helping me see that I need a meeting too. I love all your work you do and many of us need you around.

  7. Ah yes, but when we were drinking, the cold didn’t bother us anyway because we enjoyed(?) numbing out. It was so much easier than taking the plunge of the really hard work of getting real.
    What I like best about that movie, though, is the younger sister’s persistence. Her love for Elsa is unconditional, and if we look around at the people who love us even after the dust has settled, we are indeed basking in His glory. The unconditional love I have been granted by my family brings me to my knees. Working my ninth step has allowed me so much letting go. The ultimate paradox: I HAD to let go of control in order to gain it back.
    Thanks, Paul. I’ve been absent from here for a bit because I opened my door and guess what? There was a whole big world going on and I didn’t want to miss anymore of it! LOL.

    Great post. As usual.
    p.s.Generally speaking, I am not a fan of Disney endings because they seem trite and imposed. But then again, I haven’t watched any Disney movies since I have been sober so maybe I will like the endings.

    1. You bring great wisdom and insight into this, as usual. I think that we could draw lots of things from that movie (Jeff down below in the comments brings forth the lyrics from Let it Go as an example) – and that unconditional love is something that we don’t speak much of, but is so important. Family has been fantastic for me, and it’s been another support system for me. The 9th step certainly brings us to a play of further surrender and humility. And of forgiveness – the ultimate letting go.

      Thanks again for being here – you really add to this space.


  8. Hello Paul, what an insightful and inspiring post. Your writing and everything it contains is beautiful. I am four months into my journey along this path and can just feel the beginnings of a need to ‘let go’ of a whole load of STUFF. Exciting times! (Btw, I feel a little short-changed on the whole Frozen ‘thing’. My two little’ns were not enamoured!)

    1. I am in awe and jealous that your little ones’ weren’t sucked into the Frozen vortex. That’s bold. And thank you for the kind words. Congrats on your four months…that’s fantastic! Letting go isn’t always easy, but the more we do it, the easier it becomes, when we see the results.


  9. lucy2610 says:

    Hey Paul I shared your blog with a new male friend in recovery and he thought that it was ‘great’ 🙂 Me? Letting go of perfectionism xx

    1. I am flattered that you shared this space with your friend. I hope he makes contact, would love to speak to him. Letting go of perfectionism…that’s a tough one and truly liberating one. Thanks for sharing, Lucy…and congrats again on your year of sobriety.

      Love and light,

      1. lucy2610 says:

        I’ll let him know your message 🙂

  10. Lisa Neumann says:

    Good as gold here. On a personal note, I’m through the Disney years, however, we did see Frozen without purchasing the soundtrack (lucky me).

    I liked the question at the end and have decided to answer. What have I let go of recently? Nothing. Seems I’m still trying to let go of the old stuff like: bad attitudes from teens, not enough time in the day, conundrums about what to cook for dinner, unfinished web site, and … well there’s more, but those are the big things. Even now as I sit here reading your blog my mind is busting open with objection to sitting and reading. Arggh… I think I need to follow advice from my mentors: Spend more time in meditation. And this seems like my time burner, but clearly it cannot be, as it is the number one item that redirects my thinking on a dime.

    I love how you say “staying awake to Creator” … could it be that Creator is calling me forth to spend more time with Him and this is accomplished through my relinquishment of ego driven tasks?

    I am at an impasse and could happily receive some feedback.

    Yes, good as gold over here. I love how you write. I love how it reaches me.

    love and such,

    1. Hi Lisa,

      I am so chuffed to see you here, as always. You always seem to add so much more and add a depth to things that escape me or that I don’t see. I too realize that the longer I go without meditation, the more I need it. Problem is that I wait until I am in crisis mode before I start getting back into it. So consistency is one of goals in all things.

      Thank you for the kind and warm words, and they did touch me, as I have not been wholly spiritually fit the last day or two. You helped me see some things…so Creator has worked through you.

      Love back

  11. greg w says:

    Reblogged this on club east: indianapolis and commented:
    Paul at Message In a Bottle swings for the fences on this stellar post concerning letting go. Here’s just a bite-size morsel:
    When I clutch onto things that don’t serve me, consciously or unconsciously, I am either causing more pain or discomfort in my life, or I am limiting myself. Or both. I am also taking energy away from the things that I could be doing. When I feel in tune with what my heart or spirit tells me, I feel serenity. Even if it’s tough at first, or there is fear. When I am out of joint with where I am supposed to be, I feel it. I know when I am not in tune when I get that knotted feeling in my gut. When I hear that tiny voice of reason / conscious contact telling me that I shouldn’t be doing X, Y or Z. I know I am swimming upstream when things seem to be an unnecessary struggle.
    I strongly suggest sitting down, pondering and digesting this entire thought-provoking tract.

    1. Thank you again Greg for the reblog and for your service. I am glad that we have crossed paths. You have what I want and you are showing what it’s like to be of service to other alcoholics online and in real life. Thank you for that.


  12. Letting go. I am the WORST at this. I could barely read your post through the misty tears this afternoon.
    So many truths here, so I’m going to grasp onto a phrase that I haven’t been able to assimilate yet,
    “When I clutch onto things that don’t serve me, consciously or unconsciously, I am either causing more pain or discomfort in my life, or I am limiting myself. Or both.”
    Yikes. How true is this?? So many things/people/habits I’ve been able to ‘physically’ put out of my life, but the most persistent stay mentally. This is a bookmark for me, Paul. Thank you for always bring such important subjects forward…subjects that reach everyone.
    PS: If you makes you feel any better, my 14-year-old son also like the music from Frozen 😉

    1. I am so glad this resonated with you, my friend. I too have things that crop up now and then from the past, things which make me wince, but I know that for the most part, I am released of those. What I struggle with is the release of the old Paul way of thinking and being. So it’s not the events per se that dog me at times, but my own mental garbage…my old thought patterns. It’s in learning to do that which will bring me true freedom. But we are all a work-in-progress and are at this in our time, in our ways. I know that you will find your way with this. Your intuition and positivity are strong, Michelle.

      Love and light…and thank you for the warm and kind words as usual.


  13. NotAPunkRocker says:

    OK, someone else posted about “If I Knew the Truth” earlier today. I mentioned there I had to let go of a lot of things in the past because the truth now would do more harm.

    I still have a long way to go with this though, more recent things that are still haunting me. Mentally and physically.

    (I still have not seen Frozen and still have not heard all of that song. All I know is “Let it goooooo!”)

    1. Thank J once again. I think you are doing a great job from reading your blog and you seem to have a bit more peace within you. Letting go of the past hauntings will go so far in releasing you into the Now of life. It’s a process for all of us, my friend.


      P.S I am jealous that you don’t know the song the way we parents of wee kids do…lol

  14. I have to laugh because my kids want to listen to the Frozen soundtrack constantly! It’s hardest for me to let go when it involves another person. That’s when my ego rebels the most and I want to control and influence. Then I realize that maybe God doesn’t want everyone to like me or agree with me or be just like me. I’ve done so much letting go lately that I feel like I’m a shedding dog! Great post and thank you for getting the song stuck in my head…again. 😉

    1. You certainly have been letting go of a lot – your blog seems to get lighter and lighter in terms of releasing what has been weighing you down. And I admire that in you. I know I have some anchors that pin me down, and that’s the work for me. I am finding more clarity when I start to do this kind of work. And for a guy like me, this IS work. Daily stuff. Long term stuff. But I know I reap the rewards of it (as do others in my life)

      Thank you for being here…and sorry to bring up Frozen again 🙂

  15. Tracy says:

    Perfect! Still in the midst of a big letting go and this helped me so much… Realizing how my ego is still hanging onto to something…and that knotted up stomach and the fact that I’m still trying to buy bread in the hardware store!!! Dammit!!:-) thank you for sharing this Paul. Maybe I’ll learn and start going to the grocery store!!!!

    1. I love that buying bread at hardware store line…awesome (I am stealing it 🙂 ). But it’s true. I make multiple trips there wondering why they don’t have sourdough. Still letting go, still at it, Tracy…thank you for being here.


  16. fern says:

    Your blog post is incredibly insightful. Sometimes it’s uncanny how much you nail a certain topic that I’m dealing with. Are you sure you’re not inside my head?

    Lately I’ve become more aware of my fears around speaking up for myself. The fear is much worse than the reality because nothing happens when I do express my needs, except when I do speak my mind a huge weight is lifted. 🙂

    1. Thanks Fern. I have that issue sometimes, especially in my personal life. At work I have no worries as such, as I am in a position of authority and I feel I have the clout, but elsewhere, I have to battle the idea that I am worth it, and setting boundaries, etc.

      Love and light,

  17. This is something I struggle with, but I actively work on. Like with my next race, I’m trying to hang on to how much I love running and the fact that I trained hard and well… and let go of my fear of not doing well because I have done almost everything I can do with what I am able to control (except my state of mind). It will do me no good and potentially (likely!) make things worse if I stew in my insecurities and fears.

    Great post!

    1. Hi Judith
      I like the running analogy (of course I do!) and that’s where I am with everything…including my upcoming race. Could I have trained harder / better / more efficiently? Of course I could have, but did I am where I need to be and as long as I in a good headspace, the result is the result. But it’s the effort I put into it, and that goes with my recovery too.

      Thanks for the great comments!

  18. Paul, I love you and I love this post, but damnit, man. I had JUST got that song out of my head! My girls are 3 and 6, want to guess how many times per day I hear that song? GAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH.

    (Please just infer an actual reasonable response to the substance of your post here. I really do love it, and have thought of the analogy myself a few times. But I can’t type right now, I have to fling my arms out wide and sprinkle magic snow everywhere)(

    1. Sorry to put the song in your head…it would have gotten there at some point again, no? (trying to justify and rationalize here).

      Hope you’re well!

  19. When I first heard that song in theatres I pictured letting go of my addiction, letting go of perfectionism. That’s a big piece for me I don’t have to be perfect anymore. I don’t have to put up a front anymore. I need to let go and let God. I have struggle with addiction since then but now that I’m starting to build my recovery (day 25 today) I have been listening to that song a lot. It’s on my cellphone (the whole frozen soundtrack is) so I can listen to it anywhere, the only other audio on my cellphone are the song beauty by shaye which was sang when I completed treatment July 31 (even though I relapsed afterwards it still helped me get back on track), and some NA speakers which I haven’t listened to much and may look into more. It’s there whenever I need it. Though I need to find headphones so I don’t freak people out.

    1. Congrats on your recovery time!

      There is a great book called The Spirituality of Imperfection

      We all have perfection issues. I still get it for sure. In all ways. It’s ego manifesting in the manner of “that’s okay for you, but for me…” kind of thing. But I am glad that you are re-building your life. I am following your blog now and am looking forward to reading more about your journey 🙂

      Blessings and thanks for being here

      1. It’s interesting you bring up that book. When I was in treatment the most recent time my primary counsellor there gave me that book to read and I did. It really helped me. My perfectionism isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be.

  20. Paul says:

    Excellent post Paul. Well done.

    1. Thank You Paul. I hope that this finds you well, kind sir 🙂


  21. jeffstroud says:

    This song could very well be the recovery person’s anthem. As you discussed here we are always in process of letting go, even when we thought we let go already. There still maybe a trigger, a challenge that the addict just grabs hold of. I know I do. Learning that none of it matters, getting out of our own way, viewing our story from a brighter perspective when we wish to wallow in dirt to get attention. The wrong kind of attention.
    This song speaks about breaking free, free from the isolation of being what everyone else wanted. Look familiar? When the lyrics are read from the enlightened space, power of acceptance is a gift.

    It’s funny how some distance
    Makes everything seem small
    And the fears that once controlled me
    Can’t get to me at all!

    It’s time to see what I can do
    To test the limits and break through
    No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free!

    Let it go, let it go
    I am one with the wind and sky
    Let it go, let it go

    1. you always say something that grabs me, Jeff. Getting out of my own way and seeking attention for the wrong reasons. They speak to me right now.

      Thanks for sharing the lyrics…when you put it the way you do, they are indeed powerful for us.


  22. getupflyaway says:

    Hi I have to let go of the fact my 5 year old daugher is an Elsa fan and I’m with team Anna. There’s no arguing and I guess I don’t have to impose my stuff into this simple childhood experience. Nobody made me choose betweens Hans Salo and Luke Skywalker, and at age six, of course I idealized Luke but later the space pirate was the man.

    1. Ha ha…I love the comparison between Anna and Elsa and Hans Solo / Luke Skywalker. I am on team Elsa, for my own crippled thinking ways, but Anna is good people. The fact that we are having this discussion as grownups is a bit alarming though. Disney wins?

      Hope you’re doing well and thanks for swinging by 🙂


  23. stacilys says:

    Frozen isn’t all that big here in Brazil, however, as you know I was just in Canada with my family and Frozen quickly became a favorite. Both of them singing “Let it Go” and talking about Elsa and Ana. It’s died off a bit, but every so often something of Frozen comes up. hehehe.
    For me, letting go is the first step to being free. I think I’ve even written something about that once: Finding freedom is releasing control. It’s only when I realize that in and of myself, I can’t accomplish much. When I give it over to God, things seems to work themselves out and change happens in me too.
    Thanks for another touching post Paul.
    Hugs and blessings

    1. You’re the second person to mention the word I failed to do in this post: control. We LOVE to control things, no? I mean, aren’t we the “dominant” species? Aren’t we told to master our domain? So when things seem “out of” control, and we panic…why is that we panic? Letting go relieves me of that panic sometimes.

      Giving it over to God. That’s the key…and I need to continue to do that.

      I also have responsibilities and the ability to take action.

      It’s all in the serenity prayer for me;

      God grant me the serenity
      to accept the things I cannot change;
      courage to change the things I can;
      and wisdom to know the difference.

      Living one day at a time;
      Enjoying one moment at a time;
      Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
      Taking, as He did, this sinful world
      as it is, not as I would have it;
      Trusting that He will make all things right
      if I surrender to His Will;
      That I may be reasonably happy in this life
      and supremely happy with Him
      Forever in the next.

      1. stacilys says:

        Such a beautiful prayer Paul. It really is all summed up here, isn’t it?

  24. mike says:

    “A sick mind cannot heal a sick mind”

    1. I love that website…and thanks for pointing me to that page. I am going to read that today (just printed it off).

      Hope you’re well, Mike.

      1. mike says:

        I’ve taken a lot of vacations from meetings. A lot. Especially since I moved south to this geezer ghetto. -retirement community. The one thing AA relapser’s all have in common is: They stopped going to meetings. Its the universal truth. It gets easy to stop going. It gets easy to forget about praying. And whats worse is it get easy to beat the shit out of ourselves because …..’we know’.
        And then we become afraid of going back to meetings. And what is a meeting anyway? Its relationships/people.

        Self centered fear keeps us ‘separate’. Keeps us isolated. Keeps us not feeling connected. Keeps us bullshitting the world and the folks around us.
        In my experience, self centered fear manifest in myriad of different ways. One is having a severe inferiority complex and always trying to manipulate so other people don’t know I have it. Weird. I may think I am a piece of shit but go to extraordinary lengths to keep people from thinking the same. Always trying to gauge and figure out what people are thinking -about me- and trying to manipulate every outcome is a tremendous amount of work. Its so much easier to just run away or escape somehow. Fear of what people are ‘thinking’ about me is huge.

        There are two kinds of F. E. A. R.
        The Fuck Everything And Run -fear
        The Face Everything And Recover -fear

        Easier said then done bro. But that’s why we have those steps to show how fear manifest in our lives and the necessary instructions of how to acknowledge it, face it and walk through it.
        I know you know all this stuff bro. And I don’t mean to be a preachy a-hole, though I know how you felt at your sponsors anniversary and how you ran for the door because you didn’t want to feel it. That’s the kinda shit we get drunk over. Unless we are facing this shit daily, it will build up on us and we are going to run.

        So Paul, I have only gone to 4 or 5 meetings in the past 6 months or so and haven’t gone all summer. I wrote down on a piece of paper: ‘Why I haven’t gone to a meeting in months” and I’m going to list the reasons why. Do you want to know my reasons?

        1. I understand what you say, Mike. And I don’t think you are being preachy. I think I need to hear this, frankly. I can relate to what you said. I can. I had this very, very frightening picture in my head yesterday (for a flash) of me *thinking* I know it all and *thinking* that I don’t need the program. So once again, I have a *thinking* problem. I have to say, Mike, it scared the shit out of me. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to be the one who thinks he knows it all and walks away. Deep in my heart I don’t feel that, but my actions need to reflect that.

          So yes, I would love to know your list. I am sure I would have similar ones.

          Thank you

  25. LooseLeaf says:

    I really appreciate your insights. Thanks for sharing. I hope you achieved some catharsis in writing this. Very thought-provoking.
    Thank you for this post.

    1. I always find some catharsis in my writing…always lets me crystallize some of my thoughts…as fleeting as they are. Thank you for the kind words and for being here.


  26. “When I clutch onto things that don’t serve me, consciously or unconsciously, I am either causing more pain or discomfort in my life, or I am limiting myself. Or both. I am also taking energy away from the things that I could be doing.”

    It’s a wonder that we do ourselves harm as we do, on so many levels – whether we struggle with a glaring addiction or not. And the fear is often behind it. Why be so afraid to let go? But we are. Everytime I read you, Paul, I marvel at the maturity and courage you found to dig your heels in and fight your self (yes, two words here) as you have done, and come out the other side.

    You’re an inspiration.


    1. Thank you Diana, from the bottom of my heart, for your deeply touching and kind words. We are all on our journeys and I think it’s vital to see many ways of looking at things. That is why I turn to others for inspiration and guidance. You are one of them, even if you don’t think you are doing either.

      Thank you for being on my path.


  27. Kirst says:

    I let go of the belief that my marriage wasn’t working and was pleasantly surprised to find that it actually did.

    My life’s lesson right now seems to be all about vulnerability – so I am vulnerable-ing all over the place. With my kids, friends, work and especially with my husband and it is making the most amazing difference

    So I guess I am letting go of the belief that I have to be invulnerable.

    Great post Paul.


    1. Thank you Kirst for sharing and the wonderful comments. Glad things worked out for your family life 🙂


  28. I listening to that song on repeat in my early days of sobriety!! I have never seen the movie but love idina menzel. She also has a song called I stand that is really powerful!

    1. Thank you for sharing this on your site…I am flattered. …and thank you for sharing your thoughts here! I wish you well in your recovery and look forward to reading more from you 🙂


  29. artistdevee says:

    I’m letting go of the thought that I’m not good enough at that thing that I’ve always really wanted to do. And I agree that vigilance is needed because if your not you can pick that same thing up again that you thought you let go of. Like toilet paper stuck to your shoe that you thought you had gotten rid of in the restroom. And you wonder how did I wind up here again. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you AD for the comments and insight. I am one of those people who if they don’t succeed perfectly at the thing they want to MASTER in one shot, then they abandon it…lol. I have gotten much better at that. I had to let go of controlling everything and being perfectly right and just perfect in general. But it still bites me in the ass.

      anyway, hope you are having a great day and thanks for being here 🙂


  30. So, first lesson learned: if you stay away from Paul’s blog too long, you will need a retreat-like stay at your computer to read the missed posts plus comments. Holy cow, and I still need to read what you wrote today!!!

    Next lesson: Not only have I not let go of something, I am holding on to it like it is my security blanket. Even as I type this, and know what I have to do, I’ve got to be honest and say my answer is still, even after reading your beautiful and wise words, NOT TODAY.

    Crazy reading this today, on a day spent attempting to work on this problem. Thanks for this post, Paul, and I am hopeful that your words will inspire me to take the correct action (and I am thinking of Mike’s words as well, which FEAR acronym do I want to use, thanks Mike, if you are still reading!).

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