Facing Your Fears: Being In-charge of Your Recovery from Addiction
Have you ever wondered, what it is like for heroes to battle their fears in a war zone where one small mistake, or one wrong decision could lead to defeat, or even death? There are millions of lessons to be learned from the stories of Gautama Budhdha, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, or the more recent Michael Jordan - but there's one thing common in all of their stories - they were just 'normal' people, who continued to fight their own fears, who never stopped doing what they firmly believed in, every single day of their lives! Every time when their fears tried to stop them from doing the right thing, they confronted these demons with positive, constructive energies and continued onto the path of 'righteousness' and 'wisdom', without worrying about the negative outcomes of the future that is yet to arrive.
Recovery from Addiction is also about 'always differentiating between right and wrong'. Whether you're at work, within your family or simply walking down the street, your fears will always try and hold you back from changing the 'wrong' around you, and you'll always feel that not changing yourself is better than disappointing others. And these fears - about others, about yourself, about the unknown - will only end when you decide to 'Respond' - to situations, to your fears, to people's needs - and respond not to change others, but only yourself, because it's never going to be about bring a change in others, but always about bring a change in you, by becoming a responsive, responsible and accountable parent, spouse, sibling, child, employee, boss, friend or whatever perfect role that you wish to yourself in!
Unlocking Your Fears Through Positive Self-confrontations
Recovery is a very emotional phase, but the most common emotion faced by an addict at any point of his recovery is 'fear'. During addiction too, fears are a common emotion, but those fears are very different from the fears that he faces during recovery. For e.g., he may feel worried about running out of his drugs during addiction, or losing his job, his loved ones if he is not able to cope with addiction. While there are many types of fears that a person comes across, the root cause for all these fears is that the addict is worried about the potential negative outcomes of certain situations. This happens because an addict, just like all beings made by God, is a good person on the inside. He too is concerned about his future, but he is also worried about situations that may become a threat to his future, to his relationships or even to his recovery. So would you call this a positive fear or a negative one?
Identifying your fear is the first step in managing it, so finding the root cause of that fear is very important while analyzing how to fix it. Instead of ignoring the feelings when they arise, try to define them. Why keep these fears bottled inside when you can easily discuss them with a friend or family member, why not share them with a counselor, or in the simplest way, why not just write it down for now, so that you can at least identify what the problem is? The thing to understand here is, that when you know what you're scared of, it will be easier to fix the problem - as when we know who our enemy is going to be, isn't it going to be easy fighting him in the battlefield?
Fear is always rooted in the future, because you worry about things that haven't even happened yet, and most likely they never will, unless you yourself bring them onto yourself. Hence, staying focused in the present is also a key factor when managing your fears. There are many positive ways of doing this. Meditation is a very powerful tool that helps you see your fears from a more peaceful perspective, instead of feeling panicky in the moment, as you may experience otherwise. Building strong, positive relationships with people around you, especially with people who are supportive of your recovery efforts, can certainly help you deal with your fears more successfully. These people obviously want to see you in recovery, so they will always be there to listen to your fears, even though it's you who has to win your battles yourself - but every time you need someone to share your problems with - these people will be your strongest pillars of hope, of strength and of courage to change your life!
Forgiveness: Letting Go The Mistakes of Your Loved Ones
"To let go does not mean to get rid of. To let go means to let be. When we let be with compassion, things come and go on their own.”
When you hold onto the painful incidents of your life, it doesn’t fix anything, in fact it complicates things furthermore. Replaying the past again & again doesn’t simplify it, and just by wishing that things were different doesn’t change anything. At Shafa Home - India's Largest Centre for Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation - we always motivate our residents to accept whatever it is that they're holding on to and then letting it go, because that’s the only way to remove the past negativity that is now affecting your present! You have to let go of what is hurting you, even if it feels impossible.
Keeping expectations from others is the biggest reason for getting stuck in our fears of negative outcomes. Life doesn't come with a warranty card, and we really can't expect others to change themselves, simply because our expectations of their behavior aren't met. Yes, we can respond rationally and appropriately, or maybe even set respectful boundaries to maintain our relationships with them, but most of the times, this means letting go - the mistakes and the imperfections of your loved ones - with compassion & love, but without any terms & conditions!
In fact, the very idea that you can control the actions of others is at the root of all your discomfort and worry. So let's face it - you cannot change another person, and the only person that you have control over is you, yourself - so why waste your time and energy trying to fix something that you have no control over? Why not rather spend your resources on trying to change the things that you can, like your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors?
Shafa Home is India's Largest Organization for Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Problems, De-addiction, Rehabilitation, Counseling, Treatment for Females, Nasha Mukti , Psychiatric Disorders and Secondary Addictions like Gambling, Internet etc.