Last week, I had the opportunity to accompany someone to her first Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. Sarah* had considered attending for a long time, but several things kept her from going. She feared that if she went, she’d have to admit that she had a problem and she wasn’t sure she was ready to do that. She feared that if she tried to recover from her alcohol addiction, she would fail. And although she didn’t say this, I think that Sarah was worried because she had no idea what to expect at the meeting. The fear of the unknown often leads our minds into “entertaining” us with those worst-case scenarios.
Sarah finally got the courage to go with my support and she said she felt inspired. She understood how the meetings could help her if she put some time and effort into them. Although she still felt uncomfortable after the first meeting, she made plans to attend a second meeting.
Although I share this story during National Recovery Month, my purpose is not to provide information about a valuable community resource that helps those struggling with an addiction. My focus is on what got in the way of Sarah using and benefiting from this service for so long. FEAR! So many of us procrastinate or avoid situations due to fear. What if it doesn’t work? What if I fail? What if I feel uncomfortable?
When we get caught up in our fearful thoughts and feelings, we miss out on opportunities to change and grow. Whether it’s going to a support group, applying for a new job, or asking someone special on a date, fear can hold us back from living a life that feels meaningful to us. What options do we have when we are afraid to take that first step?
- Be aware of the negative thoughts that your mind is telling you that get in the way of you moving forward.
- Think about positive outcomes even when your mind continues to remind you of the worst-case scenario.
- Focus on what is important to you so that you can work toward your goal.
- Ask for help or support.
Imagine what great things you can accomplish when you take the first step!
With peace and Serenity,
PS. For those of you who want to take your first or your hundredth step towards supporting your own or a loved one’s recovery, join me at the 2015 Recovery Walks! on Saturday, September 19th.
And please reach out for one-on-one support with recovering from addiction or coping with a loved one’s addiction.
*Name and other identifying information have been changed to protect privacy.