Fear Won’t Kill You!
Fear won’t kill you, but it definitely feels like it will! I say this as a woman in long-term recovery who’s faced more than a few “fear situations” in my time.
Look, fear sucks. We’re told in treatment that fear is responsible for a large portion of the stupid actions we took while drinking and drugging. We’re told how corrosive and poisonous fear is, how it can warp even the best intentions.
What we may not be told, though, is how to get through fear. I was told to remember that fear stands for “forgetting everything’s all right,” but that didn’t help me much. I mean, how do we take that and put it into our lives? How can I, a fear based alcoholic, remember that everything’s all right?
With those questions in mind, I put together a guide for walking through fear in early-sobriety (or any other time in sobriety). I hope it helps you all!
Talk to Someone
This is probably the easiest way to get rid of fear (it was for me anyway), so it tops the list. Just talk to someone! It can be your sponsor, a friend, a significant other, someone at work…it can be anyone!
It doesn’t matter who you talk to, simply talking to someone makes the fear so much easier to deal with. If it’s anxiety-based fear, like a lot of mine was, then this cuts the anxiety in half.
Talking to someone could also take the form of getting a therapist. This is a great tool for women, or anyone, in early-sobriety. After all, there’s a lot more going on than simply stopping our drug and alcohol abuse!
Go to a Meeting
This tip connects back to talking to someone. Sometimes the simple act of connecting with other human beings is all we need to kick fear’s butt.
Go to a meeting. Surround yourself with other alcoholics and addicts. Surround yourself with your people! If you can, raise your hand to share. You’ll be amazed how many people come up to you after the meeting and say they know exactly what you shared about.
See, fear is based in isolation. It’s based in thinking we’re different, inferior, or fundamentally wrong. One of the easiest ways to break this type of thinking is to be around people who reassure us we’re not different. We’re the same as them. We’re okay!
The simple act of praying can help beat the heck out of fear. The way it was explained to me was like this – alcoholics and addicts are fearful people. We’re afraid we won’t get something we want or we’ll lose something we have.
The fear of those two situations causes us all kinds of trouble. It’s also all based in self. Not getting something we want or losing something we have is inherently selfish.
Guess what gets rid of selfishness? Prayer! It connects us to a Higher Power. That power, whatever it is, then allows us to think of other people before ourselves. If we’re no longer being selfish, then the fear of losing something we have or not getting something we want goes away.
Breathing techniques are priceless when it comes to anxiety-based fear. Things like panic attacks and social anxiety can be effectively controlled by simply changing how we breathe.
Fear that’s anxiety based is a physiological response. It’s our fight or flight response. By changing how we take in oxygen, we can calm the body down. We can slow our heart rate and decrease blood pressure.
These, in turn, will make us calmer and help to diminish whatever fear we’re feeling.
This goes back to prayer and the idea that fear is based in selfishness. If we’re not being selfish, then we’re not going to be afraid either! This isn’t always the case, but it is a lot of the time.
So, if you’re scared, nervous, anxious, or feeling any of the other hundred ways fear manifests itself, go help someone! Not only will you be doing something selfless rather than selfish, but you’ll also be connecting with another human being.
That’s like a double whammy of fear beating goodness!
It doesn’t matter how much or how little you help someone out. It could be holding a door open for someone, helping an older person cross the street, or giving someone a ride. The simple fact you’re doing something for someone else is all that matter.
Take a Nap
Let me just say this isn’t the best advice. It’s not a long-term solution and offers no real emotional or mental benefits. Still, it helps in the short-term.
If you’re scared of something, whatever that may be, take a nap! The very act of falling asleep relaxes the body. It’s similar to using breathing techniques to calm down.
Plus, who doesn’t love naps? They’re like my favorite part of the day!