“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” – Japanese Proverb
During addiction my biggest fear was getting caught. Secrecy and lying was paramount to keeping my addict alive so I could get to my next high. The stresses and fears of my double life were brought to the surface and manifested themselves in many ways: health issues, nightmares, escapist behaviours such as procrastination, indecision or the tendency to leap into or out of situations without a plan just to get the whole thing over with.
After hitting bottom and coming into recovery, I soon began facing all the fears I had suppressed and medicated through acting out. My Addict’s survival skills were now becoming core survival fears.
What if I continue to hurt myself or the people I love?
How will I live with myself if I make the wrong choices and relapse?
Where do I get the skills to deal with the confusion and seemingly overwhelming process of recovery?
Will I make it through today?
These and other questions could have paralyzed me and kept me lingering in a stagnant situation or painful condition. I learned that change is scary, but necessary. If I wanted to be healthy I had to embrace the transformation from addictive, compulsive, obsessive behavior to a manner of living filled with honesty, integrity and trustworthiness. But how?
The biggest fear I had to face was myself. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t come to terms with who I had become. I couldn’t accept the damage I had done to others and myself. I couldn’t forgive myself. I was afraid of pain and feared the unknown. I feared change.
The answer was SAA of course. Under the guidance of my Sponsor I have slowly faced my fears one day or one moment at a time. Sometimes with some hand-holding and often with tears but always with gentleness and compassion. That’s how the 12 Steps work.
Fear is still present in my life, but as I develop my self-esteem and put more trust in my Higher Power it becomes more apparent that I truly have nothing to fear. I’m only limited by my willingness to change.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt