“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela
Fear is a distressing emotion which is aroused by awareness of impending pain or danger. Though the trigger for fear can be real or imaginary, its effects are always real. Fear leads to panic, which means that those who feel fear may not be able to think clearly or make rational decisions. Thus, even though fear can be an effective survival mechanism, it is often viewed negatively.
The Problems with Fear
Humans are all wired for fear in order to respond appropriately to imminent danger. Yet, fear can be irrational. When it is irrational, it is a phobia. Among a long list of common but irrational fears are:
- Mysophobia – the fear of germs
- Agoraphobia – the fear of crowds
- Glossophobia – the fear of speaking in public
- Acrophobia – the fear of heights
Fear is also irrational when it originates from thinking about the future. The simple axiom that “no man has the promise of tomorrow” is often adequate to, at least temporarily, stop worrying about things that may never happen. The fear of the future is common among people who are in recovery and addiction treatment.
Fear in Addiction Treatment
Although fear is common for those receiving addiction treatment, it takes many forms depending on each individual’s unique condition and experience. Among the most common fears are:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of perpetual misery
- Fear of no longer feeling the highs of addiction
- Fear of no life ahead
This list is, by no means, exhaustive. It is, however a reflection of what typical patients in addiction treatment feel. The point is that these fears are common. Other people have them, too. Because other people have had them – and have overcome them – you can, too.
How to Overcome Fear During Addiction Treatment
Take a minute to re-read the opening quote from Nelson Mandela. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. Getting the victory over fear is integral to recovery from addiction. Some of the most effective methods for overcoming fear during addiction treatment include:
- Focus on the here and now. You win the war by winning today’s battle before fighting tomorrow’s.
- Get rid of all stinking thinking. Fear is overcome by establishing a discipline of positive thinking.
- Do not be in a hurry. There is no timer in recovery. You do not have to beat the clock. You have to beat the addiction.
- Identify what triggers your fears. It could be a person, a circumstance, a visual image, a sound, or an event. Know what trips your trigger and what or who pushes your button. Then, discipline your mind to realize when your trigger is being tripped or your button is being pushed. You can nip the problem in the bud.
- Build new relationships. Part of your addiction treatment will be leaving caustic relationships behind. You need to have friends, but they need to be ones who help you recover and overcome your fears.
- Seek professional help. Trained counselors can help you see things that you cannot see on your own.
Fear is a natural part of your recovery process. We know how to help you overcome your fears. If you need help, contact us. You will find the care and treatment you need.