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Using Fear as a Motivator

Living with addictions and mental health issues can mean we live with fear on a regular basis. Many of us struggle with chronic anxiety, debilitating panic attacks, fear-based obsessions and compulsions, neuroses and phobias. When struggling with addictions, fear can be one of the things that we allow to hold us back the most.

We are afraid of pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone so we stay stuck in our patterns. We’re afraid of failing so we don’t try new things. We’re afraid of judgment so we don’t reach out for help. We allow fear to be what prevents us from forward progression. What if, instead, we used our fear as a source of motivation?

When we feel the fear rise up within us, we have the choice to believe what it’s telling us or to push through it and move forward. We can listen to the limiting beliefs telling us we’re not good enough, telling us our fears make us weak and cowardly, or we can choose to believe instead that we are brave and move through the fear courageously.

Working through fear is much like processing any other difficult emotion. The more we fight and resist it, the stronger it becomes. When we allow fear to be there without reacting to it so strongly, we might find that it doesn’t overtake us the way we thought it would. When we overreact to our fear, it has a way of taking over us. We allow it to incapacitate us. We often respond by freezing, taking no action at all, or we try to run and escape it. Instead, let’s practice mindfully accepting and allowing our fear when it arises within us. “I recognize my fear. I am feeling afraid. I am aware that I am feeling fear in this moment.” Then, let’s listen for what the fear wants us to do – usually resist it, reject it, be consumed with fear of it, avoid it – and try to do the opposite instead.

Whatever was causing us this fear, let’s face it head on and take the action it was hoping we wouldn’t. Make that call. Take that step. Set that intention. Work towards that goal. The relief we feel when we move through the fear and realize that we don’t have to let it overpower us is often enough to make us want to keep facing our fears. We feel proud of ourselves and self-assured. We believe in our courage. We see that we can use our fear to motivate us rather than hold us back.

Making the decision to enter treatment is one of the bravest things you can do for yourself and your recovery. Call (800) 871-5440.