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As we’re working to heal from our addictions and mental health issues, some of the most important work we do revolves around exploring our fears. Many of us have a fear-based relationship with our fears, where we try as hard as possible to avoid having to think about them, look at them or feel them. We’re in deep denial about the things we’re most afraid of. Our fears are stored in our subconscious minds, along with the emotional information from our woundedness and trauma. Our subconscious mind governs the majority of our daily life, our choices, behaviors and patterns, along with our conscious thoughts and feelings. When we have unhealed subconscious fears, we are essentially living in fear. We’re living lives controlled and dictated by our fear. Our fears direct the choices we make, the actions we take, and the patterns we perpetuate. The answer to healing ourselves lies in exploring our fears and becoming more familiar with them so that we can understand them and learn from them.

Our fears have significant information to offer us when we aren’t afraid to explore them. Very often our avoidance of our fears leads us to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms. Our addictions are essentially our way of trying to escape the pain of our fears. When we muster the courage to look at our fears head on, they can teach us about ourselves and let us know what we need to do in order to heal.

There are various ways to explore our fears, with journaling being among the best and most effective. When we journal, we allow everything buried deep within us to come to the surface. Following our train of thought as it naturally flows allows us to access the information stored in our subconscious minds. We can analyze everything that comes up for us, making the commitment to be loving and accepting of ourselves and our difficult thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we suppress our fears because we’re afraid of what they’ll mean for us. We’re afraid of the feeling of being afraid. When we’re understanding, patient, accepting and compassionate with ourselves, we make it easier for us to open up and be honest with ourselves. We’re able to approach our fears head on, instead of running from them, avoiding and denying them.

The work we do to explore our fears acts as a gateway to inner healing and transformation. When we convince ourselves that we don’t have to be afraid of our fears, we’re able to move forward in our recovery.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.