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Reviews by SOAR Graduates

You owe it to yourself to at least try SOAR


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In the past few months before this, I had been downsized from a job I liked, and had lost a very dear friend to cancer. I think I did not realize it at the time, but I was suffering from extra anxiety and for the first time in my life a mild, temporary form of agoraphobia. The usual fear of flying, combined with the extra stress in my life, and then the thought of going to a new city, driving on unfamiliar freeways, going to meetings (though I had traveled for business on my own many times since college) was suddenly completely overwhelming to me.

A friend had mentioned the SOAR program, and I decided to look into it. I had no idea if it would help me, but it seemed like it had legitimately helped several other people who felt as I did. So I figured there was at least a chance it could help me. I thought if I could even somewhat alleviate my fear of flying, the course would be worth it.

I went to Wednesday night phone chats for a couple of weeks. I also spoke to Capt. Tom briefly on the phone. I pride myself on recognizing when a professional consultant of any type is really good at something. Tom seemed to have “built a better mousetrap” as it were, compared to other therapies and programs.

I bought my plane ticket, and decided to do SOAR. With just a couple of weeks to go before my trip, I did the “Rapid Relief” version. The information about how air flight works made me feel a bit better right away, and the strengthening exercise seemed like a good idea in theory. I watched all the videos and did all the exercises as described.

And yet I really didn’t see how it would work for me personally.

Then came the day of my flight. I was slightly less nervous than I would usually be in the boarding area. I was so early, that I was able to meet the pilot before we even boarded, when he first arrived at the desk.

He was so nice and helpful, he even showed me a computer printout of the flight and explained how he could see where there might be turbulence.
It was a nice June day, and he said he actually anticipated a very smooth flight and that we’d even get to LA ahead of schedule.

It felt good meeting him, but I still I didn’t really believe that the flight would be very different for me than others in the past.

When I got on line to board, I was standing behind a very friendly, chatty woman who was going home to LA. She was happy to talk about her vacation in New York with me. By some strange coincidence, she turned out to be sitting next to me on the plane. I was distracted from wondering how nervous I would get, by talking to my seatmate for the first 25 minutes of the trip. At that point, she turned to read her book, and I was on my own.

I was stunned to find that I was not nervous at all. I felt perfectly fine. Even when there was a bit of turbulence, I did not care at all. I read my magazine, watched the movie, and had a snack.

Hours passed, still no anxiety.

Being the “wise guy” that I am, I actually tried to make myself nervous! No dice. As I have said to Tom, I realized that I actually could not work up the enthusiasm to get nervous. I just wasn’t interested in it.

A couple weeks later, on the flight home, I did everything the same way. I did do the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” exercise in the airport for the couple of minutes of slight nervousness I had in the boarding area. I think I only got down to the “4” level before I realized I was perfectly calm, and could stop doing the exercise. I met the pilot, and he was very nice, too.

On the trip home, I was tired and actually took a nap on the plane, which was a real first for me.

Since I’ve learned the SOAR method, I have been on 5 trips, and 11 plane rides (most cross country) without a speck of trouble.

I truly feel like a new person in regard to this issue.

If you have a fear of flying, you owe it to yourself to at least try SOAR.

A SOAR Graduate who is a Screen Writer

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