Drunkless: Facing the Fear of Failure
DRUNKLESS: FACING THE FEAR OF FAILURE
BY: TAMI HARPER WINN
So begins our first month of #TopicSeeds where bloggers and podcasters come together to express our individual conception of a randomly picked topic concerning recovery. This week is fear of failure. We are excited to share the many different views from various remarkably different people and we hope you are too. For Drunkless this is one of the many “firsts” that have come along as we have grown.
We have tried many things out. Some have taken flight better than we could have ever anticipated. Others have quietly faded off into the sunset, silently put to bed beyond the horizon to possibly rise up again at a different time.
As a group, we are adventurous. We are brilliant. We are brave beyond measure. We are fearless in our quest. Even with all our successes, I must admit we often times were cloaked in the fear of failure – each one of us.
Scott started this baby with no idea he would be part of a very big picture that is being painted grander and grander with each new stroke. He took me on as his featured blogger very early in the development of Drunkless, with no clue as to what was about to happen or at the rate it would. We didn’t have any clear-cut direction, but we we were going – and fast.
As time passed the blogging birthed the first podcast for Drunkless with Scott and I. Later, I would step away to pursue other endeavors, but the show would go on and blossom into a strong leader in recovery podcasts. He has since added another one that continues to grow listeners at an alarming rate as well. I can’t help but giggle when I think of how afraid he was the first time that mic opened up. I challenge you to listen to the first one and then listen to him now. Wow! What a difference. What growth.
Our first year would speed by fast and somehow we stumbled across some amazing friends on our journey. We were blessed daily. Our social media exploded and so did our readers and listeners. At times it felt like we couldn’t keep up. We would get burned out, only to find a renewed sense of inspiration unexpectedly and continue forward like children with new toys.
Somehow, throughout the year we came across some very talented individuals who had strong stories of inspiration and recovery that we thought would be a blessing to have onboard. Amazingly, each one that we asked agreed to join us and volunteer their gifts to share with the world via Drunkless. I have to say that we have gathered together, internationally, some of the strongest voices in online recovery. They have become our family now.
We have had various writers and guest bloggers, as well as podcasters and guests on the shows. They have stayed for awhile and with our blessing, moved onto their own next adventure. We love them all and are sincerely grateful for their contributions.
The fear of failure has littered our path from the very beginning. I remember Scott being so afraid to break anonymity in the early days and have his family read his writings. He was so afraid to share his beautiful soul with the world. I remember being terrified of my first ever blog and wondering if I had anything valuable worth saying. I was so insecure about my writing.
Both of us braved through the fear of judgment that we were sure was going to be thrown our way for even attempting to throw our hats into the arena. But, that never happened. In fact, just the opposite did. We found encouragement and support around every new corner we took. The numbers of people who graciously gave us help, promoted our dreams, and stood beside us were astounding. What was crazy is that each of them were from various walks of life. It was unbelievable. I was amazed – humbled to say the least.
The website met challenge after challenge as Scott spent countless hours (and still does) building it to accommodate our ever growing need. He has spent days on end fine-tuning and constructing each page that was developed. Sometimes it would meet an unexpected turn and he would scurry around filled with fear, trying to fix it.
Halfway through its first year, Drunkless would come face-to-face with its first legal challenge – the possibility of being sued for content used without permission. Scott was laced with fear and frightened terribly. His worry consumed him as he pedaled at break-neck speed trying to resolve it without too much further damage – all the time trying to manage his own recovery.
We had no idea how fast or at what rate this would grow, but it happened. Luckily, the legal scare turned out to be a very valuable lesson. Afterwards, he spent enormous hours researching the legalities of running the site and putting together the necessary formalities of Drunkless. Fear motivated him to find the solution. I stood amazed.
As the year progressed, I would meet challenge after challenge. I was broad-sided almost continually with tragedy after tragedy. Fear devoured me. Some days I didn’t believe I could go one more step. My recovery was being tested. My fear of failing was insurmountable. But I hung on.
Then I decided to seize fear by its pretty little pearls and do something I never thought I could. I challenged fear to a dual. I sought after things that made me afraid, like flying in a hot air balloon at the mercy of mother nature herself, acting in my first play since school, and traveling to another country completely by myself. I was a fear-seeker. I needed to beat it – and I did at every corner.
As I invited our new writers to write for us, I feared rejection. However, each new member of our family stood forward through their own fear, and agreed to utilize their personal fears and write about their own recovery’s for us. I was so proud of their bravery. For some this was their first time coming-out into the world with their recovery, through writing and podcasting, in such a large arena. I knew they had fears of their own, but boy did they shine – and still do.
Our stories, through our writings and our podcasts, have rendered us vulnerable to a world that once saw us as social pariahs. We have feared the stigmatism that is attached to our pasts. We have stood in the darkness for years with our fears. We became willing to expose those fears to the light and move through them. We became Drunkless and fearless.
For someone suffering from addiction, of any kind, fear can be deadly. It is what brought us to our addiction, and it is what kept us there. It remained our constant companion in our early hours of recovery, threatening continuously to take us back out. We battled it on a daily basis – because our very lives depended on it. Some of us have not been so lucky battling those fears. Some have had to die from their fears so others could live through theirs. We miss them terribly. We remember them with solemn hearts. They are deadly reminders of what our fears want us to do – to fail..
So, for each of us, we suit up and show up – together. We cannot do this alone. We all know that now. The lessons have been many, for us to come to that understanding. With each new fear we slay, there is another waiting in the shadows that we never knew we had. Yet, with each fallen fear, we grow stronger and more capable of facing the next one with an even greater chance of beating it too. Experience has shown us this.
I can say with all surety, that I will never be able to be free of fear. That’s the truth about life in general for everyone – not just addicts. But, I can bridle it, tame it, and teach it to work for me. It is true that fear is a wild animal that lives only in the jungles of our own minds. We feed it, and nurture it, and give it room to grow. We are the ones that give birth to it.
But we are powerful beyond measure if you think about it. We were strong enough to create the all-consuming fears, so therefore we are strong enough to defeat them. It is the delusion that they have the power, that can kill us. They only have the power we give them.
I am reminded of a professor I had early on in college who said something to me that has never left me. I was just beginning my education and career in broadcasting and was opening up the mic to go on-air for the first time ever. I was petrified. In class, I was a brilliant out-going star. In that booth, in front of the soundboard and microphone, I was rendered mute. I couldn’t speak. I was horrified. It was a nightmare I had no choice but to be in. I couldn’t run. I was live on the air with my classmates and professor watching in horror as I took my first segment down in flames.
By the time the show was over, I was drowning in tears and shaking uncontrollably. I had failed. I knew that day that I would never be able to go back on-air again. When my professor lovingly asked me what had happened in that booth I responded by saying, “I was so afraid of being a complete failure that I succeeded.” Failing at broadcasting was my only success.
He stood there for a moment, staring at me. After what seemed like forever, he punched me with the truth. He said, “I don’t think its fear of failure that’s your problem Tami. I think it’s the fear of success that you are most afraid of.” He went on to explain that in class I was super confident and one of his best students. He had no doubt I was very qualified and talented enough to be behind that mic. I was the one that refused to see it.
I hated him for revealing my nakedness in front of all of my peers. My face reddened and I ran from my class. I didn’t return to that class. In fact, I gave up. I let me fear of failure win. I want to offer hope here and share that I would later go on to overcome that fear and get behind a mic again. I got to do what I loved, entertain and inform people. I loved it and I was successful in conquering my inner demons.
I understand today more fully, that we addicts have brainwashed ourselves into believing that failure is all we know and are any good at. Its all we are capable of. However, the light that we try to snuff out with our addictions, is so powerful that others are afraid of it. We hide it, choosing to remain the failures they have come to expect of us. Because for us to succeed, we might be worth something to someone, even to ourselves. If we succeed we might just be happy, joyous, and free finally.
We do not fear failure - we fear success. We deserve to be successful. We deserve to be able to attain all our dreams, and beat the odds. Just for today, we are a success. We are free from our addictions. That is a huge one.
As for Scott, I, and the rest of our family at Drunkless, I’m sure that fear of failure will continue to creep up from time to time, for a variety of reasons. One thing I have seen is that each of us will face up to that fear and own it. We will pass through it and turn to see the glorious result of our successes.
So, from all of us here at Drunkless, we thank you for helping us overcome our fear of failure, one blog and one podcast at a time. Thank you for continuing to support each of our writers and our podcasters and their recovery’s. We wish each of you light and love on your next success.
~ Tami Harper Winn ~ Co-Founder and Featured Blogger for Drunkless.com
(Out of respect for those whose lives have been touched by addiction, I am asking for prayers and a moment of silence for those we have lost and for those who are still suffering.)
The story written here is solely the work of the author’s. Any use or reproduction of this article is prohibited without written consent of the author or credit to the author through works cited.