One of the biggest driving forces behind any addiction, any self-destructive behaviors, is fear. Fear is an ugly monster. Fear makes us afraid to live. Fear makes us believe that traumatic experiences we endured at the hand of another person are our fault alone, which is grossly untrue. Fear drives our addictions because we engage and engage, so that we can numb out our feelings, our fear, and these addictions of ours help us numb, help us forget.
These terrible things that drive our addictions, that make us deathly afraid, these fears… well, as counterintuitive as this sounds, those fears need to be faced. They need to be talked about in individual therapy, so that your therapist can help you piece it apart. They can help you understand what the fear is, and if it is still needed in your present. Your therapist can help you understand that while yes, in your past, there was a reason for fear, in your present, there is no need for fear anymore. There is definitely a cause for sadness, and grief, and even anger. And that’s okay. Your emotions and feelings are valid, and can also be faced and worked through, in time.
But all of those fears that were so big inside you, that had sharp fangs and curled, vicious claws, those fears need to be faced; they have to. There is a time and a place in treatment to face those fears. There is a time and a place while engaging in treatment at Shadow Mountain Recovery to find what you’re most afraid of, and with the help of your therapist, and your friends and family; you find that fear, and you face it. And it might be ugly and scary and big. But once those fears are faced, something miraculous happens. That big ugly fear, that fear that could tear you apart, it will begin to become smaller and smaller. Its fangs are less sharp. Its claws disappear. And while that fear will always be there; perhaps a memory, it will lose its power to drive you to your addiction, to make you crave numbness and self-destruction. Because you will understand that many of those fears do not belong in your life anymore, and that you can now let them go.
And then, then something beautiful and wondrous happens.
Once those fears are faced, something happens. Something is created inside you that is the opposite of fear. It is FREEDOM. Freedom is such a beautiful word, and it means so many things. Imagine having freedom from your fears that hold you back; make you crave your addiction. Imagine having freedom from the addiction’s allure, itself. Imagine a life without fear, without the addiction. Imagine a life of integrity, and honesty, and beauty so big and intense that it takes your breath away. Imagine this freedom allowing you to make amends to those you hurt in your addiction. Imagine this freedom letting you forge new, healthy connections with people, and restore old connections. Imagine, just for a moment. Imagine freedom. There might not be a more beautiful word in the English language. Freedom from the things that tie you down. Freedom from addiction. Freedom to be whoever the hell you want to be. Freedom to embrace life, rather than try to escape that.
Face your fears – it won’t be easy. But once it’s done, you can begin to embrace the freedom you’ve just released inside you. Feel that? Isn’t it exhilarating?