Fear is something we all face, some are healthy and some are not. If I allow my fears to run my life this can be debilitating. I look at fear as a chance to be courageous and brave. Not allowing fear to prevent me from accomplishing things I know I’m capable of. Some fears I have are rejection, fear of success, and of being vulnerable. If I allow my fears to run my life I not only miss out on living, truly living, but also on growing to my fullest potential. Facing my fears may be scary and uncomfortable but If I overcome them I not only show myself but others as well that fear doesn’t have to run or ruin your life.
Fear has driven me to walk away from many chances and choices in life and has ultimately given me a much harder life because of it. When I was young, I was a great student who would get straight A’s. As soon as I got a taste of High School, drugs and girls, my grades started to drop. I failed every class, even my PE class. After 9th grade I left and decided to try and go for my GED because of problems going on in my personal life. Although I finally achieved the GED, the fact that it still wasn’t a high school diploma and the grades that I got during high school effected the way I looked at my future. Because of this fear of failure I decided to not go to college and I refused to do anything that had to do with education because I know how it felt to fail that one time as I convinced myself that that would always be my life. This was a huge mistake because it took me a decade to even begin to think of my future again. That fear that I was a failure was a farce and I didn’t realize it until I actually overcame that feeling and took the first step. Now that I have gotten over my fear I can finally move forward with my life which. This is what I am now doing and I am getting good grades in my adult life and finally continuing my education. Fear is the number one showstopper for any one and the only way to move forward completely is to let go.
Throughout life I was conditioned with a plethora of negative traits. I never gave myself the chance to break free from or change the self-defeating behaviors and thoughts that plagued my existence. I was passive, distrusting, promiscuous, selfish and self-loathing to name a few. I had become so used to being a victim of all these deceptive brain messages and seeking relief in immediate, temporary and unhealthy ways that I was stuck in an endless downward spiral which I knew would end in only two ways – death or wanting death. I knew I had to change my ways but I was afraid. I was afraid and uncomfortable at the idea of facing myself and who I have devolved into. I was no man, I was a ghost, a shell of a man. I had to learn how to surrender to something greater than myself – for my will wouldn’t suffice. I had to be willing to humble myself and receive guidance. But that idea seemed so foreign and the thought of change and uncertainty burdened me. I’ve made progress in leaps and bounds however I still find myself afraid of change at times. It can be difficult. It can be uncomfortable to be someone I hadn’t been. Facing myself and others gave, and still gives me fear, anxiety and nervousness but I try to push through it because I know I must have integrity. No longer are the days of being selfish and putting myself and the drugs first. No longer can I use women as a means to a selfish end. No longer can I remain passive when I hear or see things that piss me off. But I couldn’t do any of this without knowing I’m not alone – that I have a purpose and fate I must meet. Of course this hasn’t come overnight or over the course of a year – it’s a lifetime of awareness and mindfulness and today I accept that. Today I accept that fear, change, highs, lows and uncertainty will forever be there, but today I’m not alone.
When there's a poisonous snake in our path, we freeze. When we smell smoke, we run. When faced with danger, fear takes over and we react, desperate to feel safe. It's biological. Primal. But for those of us who suffer from trauma, it's the everyday things – a song in a coffee shop, the smell of rubbing alcohol – seemingly random, common things, convincing our brain and body we’re in danger and there is no way out. But when the worst of our fears are realized, when everything we've counted on has disappeared, something still drives us to try to fix the past or to find our future – when the only thing that really needs our attention is the present and its infinite possibilities. It may be a slow process, but at South Orange County Detox & Treatment I’m slowly undoing all the binds that had me twisted in my trauma, fear, and anxiety. Instead of allowing fear to paralyze me, I’m able to focus on the possibility that I can maybe have a beautiful future. We define ourselves by our actions. But that doesn't mean we have to live by that definition. Coming to that realization means everything to me since I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I can change my own story. I can refuse to accept the way people define me. I can work like hell to escape a bad reputation only to wonder if I succeeded. It can be hard to shake the mistakes of the past, they'll always come back to haunt us. But one thing we never do – we don't stop. We don't quit. We get up and rejoin the fight. I now know what life is about, what is important. I know the reasons why we say do not judge people. I have seen the true power of love. I have seen magic. I have seen what it feels like to be at the end, with nowhere to go, and people thinking you are some monster. It taught me who the real people are that love me, I saw everyone’s true character.
Every addict I know has a shadow. A dark cloud of fear and doubt that follows even the best of us. We pretend the shadow isn't there, hoping that if we make more amends, master the steps, run faster and farther, it’ll get tired and give up the chase. But, like they say – you can’t outrun your shadow. I didn’t even realize I was living in a state of constant fear & chaos until I came into treatment. With Salina’s help, I’ve taken the first step in breaking the cycle. When we’ve come to depend on a cycle, the thought of breaking it is scary. Even the cycles that cause us harm. But sometimes when we break the cycle, we find something better. Something unexpected. Something we never dared to dream was possible. We find freedom. We find peace. Every addict has a shadow, and the only way to get rid of a shadow is to turn off the lights, to stop running from the darkness, and face what you fear – head on. Sometimes it’s good to be scared -- it means you still have something to lose. Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely, and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next. We can choose to be afraid of it, to stand there trembling not moving, assuming the worst will happen. Or, we step forward into the unknown and assume it will be brilliant.