Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Embracing Fear

I hear many addicts express concern about negative thoughts. About fear. About anxiety. About the next bad thing that might happen

This comes up often in both group and individual counseling.

But the reality is that negative thoughts are just part of life. Part of our makeup as human beings. And if we learn to accept our negative thoughts we'll find that our lives are much more enjoyable. More peaceful. More serene.

If we fight them they can become bigger, stronger. When we see negativity, fear, or anxiety popping into our mind we should welcome it.

"Oh, there you are again."

Or, "I haven't seen you for a while."

Or, "Are you still hanging around?"

If we minimize fears they lose their potency.

Will they ever go completely away? No. Fear is part of our survival. We need it.  It keeps us from walking across the freeway. It's the tool that helped us evolve as a species.

Our early ancestors learned to fear being eaten by a wild animal. Or by the tribe in the next valley. They learned to fear famine and long cold winters.

The ones who laid on the beach and partied all day, singing and dancing, probably aren't our ancestors. Because they didn't survive.

The problem in our modern world is that we often overreact to our fear. We apply the primitive reaction to things that aren't life threatening at all.

We may fear failing a class, being late on our rent, or losing our job. But none of these are life threatening, even though we sometimes worry about them as if they were.

Embrace your worries and see if life isn't better.