In his early forties, my friend got divorced, his business ground-down and he started drinking.
In some ways I’m glad I become an alcoholic in my early 40’s because it forced me to grow up. You have to make adult choices to get out of that.
In our forties we confront fear. For many of us, it is in-your-face in a way it probably hasn’t been since your teenage years. The forties are our best time to transform that fear - that's why it's there.
Under wisdom, generosity and altruism lies a deep accommodation with fear.
It’s not a fear of actual things (though it always looks and feels like it is), it’s a fear that is in us, that was absorbed and created in our early years and in our youth that we now get the chance to resolve.
I look at my dad and he’s still a scared little boy at 75 – he’s never embraced his full personality as a human being.
I don’t think I’d have popped out the end of it if I hadn’t had to deal with something serious
And there’s the rub of it.
Many of us have become so comfortable with how uncomfortable we are that we just don’t notice fear anymore. If we notice just how afraid we are: afraid of screwing up, losing money, trashing our relationship (or not trashing our relationship) we become frozen and numb.
What’s it going to take to wake up? A car-crash, getting fired, cancer??
As my friend told me:
You have to get back to raw with an addiction. I had to smash my ego apart to quit drinking. Both times I restarted it was my ego that got me drinking again.
It’s your ego that experiences fear. Not you. You are simply a spark of consciousness wrapped in a body. It’s the part of you that is worried you can’t control what’s going to happened that’s afraid.