Fear can be a relentless force in our lives, often holding us back from what we desire most. It can seem insurmountable, like an impenetrable wall between us and our dreams. But let me remind you of something powerful: F.E.A.R. can either be an acronym for "False Evidence Appearing Real" or an invitation to "Face Everything and Recover."
In the realm of addiction and recovery, fear is a formidable adversary. It thrives on our attempts to escape or avoid it, growing stronger with each step we take away from it. Fear must be courageously faced, and its darkness must be illuminated by the light of self-awareness. Only then can the healing power of Love intervene.
Fear becomes our constant companion when we find ourselves in the throes of active addiction or early recovery. It whispers in our ears, planting seeds of doubt. It tells us that we're not good enough, don't deserve love, is bound to get hurt, or that lasting recovery is an unattainable dream. To make matters worse, the stigma of addiction fuels the flames of these fears, making the path to recovery even more daunting.
Joseph Campbell once said, "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." These words remind us that our greatest growth often lies on the other side of our deepest fears.
I took a critical step toward conquering fear by writing an inventory of how it ruled my life and then sharing my findings with someone I trusted. But I knew I had to delve deeper to break free from the chains of fear.
Ten Discoveries That Changed My Relationship with Fear
1. Fear hijacks the mind so that we believe we are in danger. Or, we carry forward some unhealed past events that might happen again. In other words, fear is never about now. Fear is thoughts about some future time that does not exist, which causes us to suffer unnecessarily.
2. Thanks to evolution, we have a brain that once alerted us to take action when in danger. Despite today’s rarity of hungry saber-toothed tigers, our brain evolved and used fear as a call for action against any real or perceived threats. Understanding that fear is normal helped me not to judge myself harshly when I felt afraid. We reduce the power of fear when we recognize it.
3. We aren’t afraid of the unknown. We are fearful of the known coming to an end. For example, we are not scared of death; we fear losing the people, places, ideas, and experiences we call our lives.
4. Many fears spring from the ego. It asks, “Will I fit in or be snubbed? Do they like me or dislike me?” When fear enters our relationships, dishonesty and manipulation come into play. A self-centered person is a fear-based person.
5. Fear is pain in disguise. When we attach our identity to external things like a new car or a high-paying job, we may fear losing them.
6. Fear is based entirely upon beliefs that are, at best, incomplete and mostly false. I continue to work with many clients who are still trying to undo the horror of their religious upbringing.
“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti, philosopher, writer, speaker
7. Fear is a state of unconsciously forgetting who we are. All healing is a release from fear. We are not fear—we are the love beyond it.
“A miracle is just a shift in perception from fear to love.” ~ Marianne Williamson, author, spiritual leader, politician, activist
8. The presence of fear is a sure sign that we are trusting in our strength (ego) and have always forgotten about being One with Love. Faith is remembering the One Power and letting its strength replace our weakness. There is nothing to fear the instant we are willing to do this. We “let go and let God.”
9. Fear cautions us not to put our hand on a hot stove, jump off a balcony, or cheat on our partner. But what if intelligence was all that was required to keep us safe? Fear might provide some short-term motivation. For example, the fear of relapse can move us to take action, but it can also create unnecessary stress. Fear is the ego trying to protect us, but it never works in the long run.
10. When we face our fears, especially during our most challenging times, we have the opportunity to make our most significant victories. Everything we have ever wanted, needed, or dreamed of is on the other side of fear.
Remember, fear has the power to cripple our dreams, but it's not invincible. Embrace the acronym F.E.A.R. as an invitation to "Face Everything and Recover." By doing so, you unleash the strength within you to conquer your fears, find your treasure in the cave of your deepest fears, and realize the life you've always dreamed of. Your journey to recovery and personal growth begins by confronting fear, not running from it. Face it, and let love guide your way.
Satnam Paul Noiles