Quieting the Internal Battle


No one can do for us what we must do for ourself.

Simple in theory … challenging nonetheless.

While the purpose of this blog is to facilitate spiritual growth in addicts, it is not limited to those who are new to sobriety. This journey in life does not end when one ceases to drink. Quite paradoxically the not-drinking is the beginning. When we see and feel life (sober), alcohol soon becomes the seductress.

There appears a measure of misperception as to what life—sober life—feels like.  It feels like life. Few of us, have a reference point for what life might feel like. We have altered our state of consciousness for long enough that we have altered our understanding of being human. To feel uncomfortable, unloved, misunderstood, anxious, unwanted, imperfect, wrong, and/or bad, these are some of our default modes. These are the feelings we escaped when we drank—at least momentarily. I have come to understand the origin of some of my defaults, but I am far from knowing them all and far from being “healed.” (Nor do I know that this is possible as long as I am human. These are truths I do not yet understand.*) What I believe: Feelings are there to be felt, not chased away. In moving through the feelings I create my life.

What I do know is that my best chance at a meaningful life lies within me and the choices I continue to make. This is contingent upon my past because this is where I have set the boundaries, the walls, and the rules, if you will, for how to play the game of life. There is no choosing for the future, there is only choosing for now.

What will I do now?

Until I comprehend I have been operating on autopilot I will be reluctant to take control of the direction of my life. I will be swept along with others’ rules, philosophy, opinions, and choices. Not only will I get swept away but I will blame them for taking me with them.

Am I willing to find my truth, my way in this world?

None of this getting sober and staying sober work is smooth. It’s not a downhill ride. We do it because we want relief from our thinking. We want the internal battle to quiet. We want some peace of mind. It is within these perimeters that we live a meaningful life.

When we make the decision to change we are welcoming the unfamiliar, the new. It is normal we are hesitant, even scared. We’ve yet to be acquainted. It wouldn’t be new otherwise. We’d have conquered it already. We all face this moment alone, alone with our thinking. Alone with our relationship to self.

Can we learn to fall in love with self?
Don’t be afraid fall in love.
Be afraid not to.


*I do not claim to have the answer, nor do I have the text book education that many possess in the field of recovery. My observation is my own based on my life and the lives of those with which I live/work/coach. If you are a follower of this blog you know that I see these two as intertwined. We don’t see in others what we do not possess to some measure. It sticks to us because there is truth for us in seeing it, reading it, feeling it. I write as a participator in my recovery, as well as an educator in recovery. I am both healing and a healer—as are we all.

No Responses to “Quieting the Internal Battle

  • Great post – I love your honesty.

    • Thank you for the kind words. It’s always welcoming to see a new face comment.

      • Hi Lisa. Coming up to 6 months..whew… Great site. Thank you..I want to share this post from Kris Carr…finding ones purpose..it’s a game changer for how I look at life…thank you for this site..Shane


        • Shane, Thank you for the comment. I am pleased you enjoy the site. That’s why I do it. I have found so much within the context of “being recovered.” Life is really BIG and it can be great and sober. The journey is within. I am always evolving and I pray I never stop. Congratulations on your six month mark. It’s a big deal. When one succeeds we all succeed. Keep up the good work and the positive attitude. Blessing, Lisa
          ps will go check out the HuffPost article. Thank you. Love when people send me good stuff to read. Like a true addict I want more, more, more 🙂

  • I needed this today.. Tired of my bumpy road.. But I know with it all comes peace..

    • Yes, how true that is. Even when I face the bumpy moments of my life, I can now see that peace is forthcoming. My job is to see the beauty (when I am able) and persevere. Thank you for commenting and for following. My truest desire is to help. Many have helped me over the years. I hope you found some peace today.

  • These words really hit home for me now, as I am reaching the stage of, OK, recovery is not the end all, it is the beginning. Now I have to do, to work, to choose, to live…it’s not easy, but it is life. And, no drink in the world can make what needs to be done–to live–go away. I guess I am living in my fear, and this sucks. Time to move forward, scared shitless or not. Thank you for your insight, Lisa! xx

    • You are both a beautiful writer and an incredibly solution oriented woman. Yet I have watched you struggle and evolve. I am so glad you let me into your life. You’ve awakened memories of what it felt like to get sober. I am equally as grateful for your insight. Your ability to articulate early recovery is astonishing to me. I am blessed to know you. And if you ever need a friend I am an email away.

  • You said something so simple that it’s profound – feelings are there to be felt, not chased away. The times that have been hardest for me in recovery have been when I’m resistant to sitting through an emotional state. I’m still learning that feelings don’t have to be fixed and figured out. They need to be experienced for life to be experienced. Great post Lisa!

    • Karen, Thank you for the kind words. I remember gleaning these gems along the way and I realizing that my recovery was gaining in momentum … my life was gaining momentum. It is exactly what I see so many of you doing and it’s exactly what I continue to do—grow.xox

  • I was so glad to read this. I have seen a lot of recent discoveries that once you are past the stage of “not drinking”, things can get flat and blah. This really helped to put it into perspective that there are phases to this recovery, and what we do to improve our lives never truly ends. We continuously make choices that will determine the direction and/or quality of our life. Great stuff!

    • Mystery, You seem to have summed the post with much less words 🙂 Phases to recovery = Phases to life. I love your perspective. And I truly love watching you grow. I note that Drunky Drunk Girl celebrated her year of sobriety/change. I was so impressed with her ability to articulate that it’s not a day, but an experience … the experience of stepping into something new, deciding we want something new and persevering toward it regardless of initial success or failure (more often than not life is decorated with failure … that’s how we grow). So many of you women, new in sobriety, have given me so much deep, rich feeling. I am grateful to journey with you. xox

  • “Don’t be afraid fall in love.
    Be afraid not to.”

    What a wonderful couplet there. I can identify with this, in the context of self-love and self-acceptance. It’s still difficult to say the L word in regards to me, but I certainly like myself a lot. I cannot tell you how different that was two years ago, or even a year ago. Self-loathing was the game, and I was a big time playah. I know deep down that I do carry self-love, but it is of the action kind – I do the things that show self-love – working a program, helping others, taking care of myself and my family, being a good employee, etc. I stay connected with the Creator. I try to stay teachable. Deflate ego. Encourage humility. I can’t say I am perfect in any of these areas, but when I look back, I can see that these were quite the opposite of where I was in most of my life. So I guess the actions show something underlying that has shifted…and self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, increase of self-woth and value…all go hand in hand with self-love.

    Love how rich you mine these things with just a few short phrases. Wonderful stuff, Lisa 🙂


    • Thank you Paul. A belated Happy Father’s Day blessing. Like you, I am in the process of loving me. I don’t always know what that includes but I, too, remain teachable. And for me that is the greatest gift of self-love.

  • mnsmissy
    11 years ago

    I am so grateful a friend led me to this post as so very much of it really resonates for me right now.

    “Quite paradoxically the not-drinking is the beginning” — I’m not sure most people who are not in recovery understand this, it seems like the rest of the world believes that the “not-drinking” is the victory, when really the work has just begun.

    “Can we learn to fall in love with self?
    Don’t be afraid fall in love.
    Be afraid not to.”

    At a year and a half sober, this is exactly what I find myself up against. I KNOW in my head it is the next right thing, I KNOW it is the key to living a meaningful life and not just going through the motions for the next 40 years and yet, I find myself paralyzed, caught somewhere between familiarity, cynicism and glimpses of hope.

    Thank you for reminding me to “quiet the internal battle” and that my work in this moment is “choosing for now.”

    • I’m not sure which of us is feeling better right now. You said some great things here. The fact that you are open to learning at 1.5 years of sobriety is beautiful. So many quit after they get some time and see that life isn’t all “sparkly.” As for me, the real work began once I got a little time under my belt. I wasn’t fueled on “don’t drink, just don’t drink, don’t, don’t, don’t” any longer. I love that you relate. My best to you. If you haven’t yet, sign up for the bi-weekly motivational. It’s an (easier) was to stay on track.You made my day. Lisa

  • Lisa, thank you for a very inspiring post. When my 10-year-old daughter passed away, alcohol became my tool for turning off reality (or trying to, anyway) for about two months. All the while, I knew deep inside that I would need to do something meaningful with the experience, but it took that long to come to terms with the fact that I could only do it sober.

    Quieting the internal battle is, at times, impossible. I accept this, and am simply grateful that it does quiet for sufficient periods to allow me to help others coping with similar battles.

    Thank you again for your commitment to provide hope and support for others.

    • I cannot tell you the surge of feeling I just experienced as I read your first line. I have a 10-year-old daughter sleeping in her bed right now. I have much emotion to still heal over my alcoholism and my children. I have an old post called Her Hand I have tried to come to terms with who I have been as a sober parent and a drinking parent. Your words tug at my heart in an unimaginable pull. What a blessing you are for ALL of us in recovery. To see the intimate words you posted, to feel the strength you possess, to read the willingness to grow …. wow! You’re my hero. We all heal together. I am feeling rather blessed that you stopped by and had the fortitude to comment. Please continue to share your journey on these pages. You possess a strength that we can all benefit from. with love, lisa

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.