Franklin D. Roosevelt said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”.
WHY does it seem addicts are far more fearful than other people? It is a fear of feelings that drives a man to numb all his feelings including the blessed ones. At the core of addiction lies fear, shame, and an inability to process our feelings in a healthy way.
Panic attacks, anxiety, stress, shame, embarrassment, nervousness, phobias, freaking out,, shame, insecurity, shyness, inferiority are all bi-products of fear. Addiction =”fear management gone awry”.
Some may highly disagree with the fear theory. They will tell us they are ashamed of nothing and don’t give a damn what anybody thinks of them! And as they approach life through a platform of anger and wrath what they say is in some ways true. We bathe in anger to cover fear, hurt and pain. This is the addicts basic false-pride and denial system born from a core of fear and shame. Shame is a form of fear. Shame is the belief that other people are better than us and will see that we are BAD so we hide. (I do wish I was not writing my own emotional story here).
But please, before we slip into a warm cherry pie of deep dish denial and hang the messenger.
Please realize, addicts are not at fault for their deep fear/shame feelings. In the formative years of which we were sponges learning the basics of life itself and where we fit into it, some adult/adults who probably loved us (as much as they were able) convinced us that we were of less value than other people. These influential moms, dads, uncles, brothers, sisters, priests, pastures, coaches and teachers were in a position to literally form our self-image at a core level. Most likely they themselves reflected their own self-image onto us. They felt worthless and so we were worthless. At times addict-type parents are ashamed even of their own children.
Low self esteem breeds defensiveness.
We wear our hearts on our sleeves and we flinch and lash-out at any remote suggestion that we are bad, wrong, ugly, stupid, or any other negative connotation such as these. Feeling threatened we immediately switch-off to blame-mode and block out countless opportunities for fruitful and productive relationships. We routinely cut-off our own nose to spite our face.
And so as young emotionally defenseless children, we walked around with our heads hung low separate from the flock, prime prey for the abusive and distorted sex offender who reels us in by telling us what we crave to hear more than anything; ‘WE ARE OF VALUE, WE ARE LOVED’.
This my friend is the story of many an addict boys and girls alike.
IF AN ADDICT DOESN’T KNOW HE HAS BEEN DEEPLY ASHAMED HE HASN’T GOTTEN DOWN TO “CAUSES AND CONDITIONS”….YET, IN his/her RECOVERY PROCESS. But this is the beginning of healing, realizing the malady’s core.
We formed temporary emotional survival skills for our deep shame, but our skills, primal in nature have become destructive and push away the ones we love most and those we could have loved. Our slip-shot solutions are destructive and hurt others. We set ourselves up not as equals but rather as better than everyone else. We do this through harsh condemning judgments and endless fault finding and criticisms. We had to find a way to live with ourselves. When we drink and drug then we are beautiful, then we are strong, then we do not have to be ashamed.
But the drugs quit working that’s why we are here in AA to find new solutions. Solutions that do not consist of blame as their pre-requisite. Solutions that will aid in our sobriety and our emotional healing. And hopefully somewhere in our recovery we learn it’s ok to cry. That crying and being hurt are part of being human. We MUST FIND WAYS TO PROCESS THE MOST INTENSE OF OUR FEELINGS IF WE DON’T, THEN WE WILL CONTINUE REPRESSING EMOTIONS.
THE SOLUTIONS ARE HERE WE JUST NEED TO USE THEM.
What do we do? An immersion into AA or any 12 step group is vital. We do a serious third step.
We do step four and list all prejudice, shame, resentment, silent judgement, guilt, and all hurtful actions. We do ongoing step work. We make a FEAR LIST.
We do step 12 chair meetings in jails, institutions, and AA itself, all service work will build self-worth. The more the better.
We get therapy and develop emotional processes that work for us. We hournal, write, cry, scream, groan, beat the bag, share, beat the bed. (There is no wrong feeling therefore we don’t have to hide and deny them.) We confess past offences.
We write a biography of the intense times in our life-What happened and how it made us feel.
Practice Spirituality-Step Eleven is priceless and should be ongoing.
A connection to nature and the outdoors is very helpful. We go to rivers, lakes, springs, snow, sky, caves, animals, walks and more.)
What is terror management theory?