Matt Finch shares a very helpful methodology for identifying and reframing the 3 non-physical threat fears of quitting drugs or alcohol. These fears are often from the mismanagement of your mind.
Physiological fear of physical threats such as running from a saber tooth tiger or hearing the sounds of a burglar break into your home cause serious panic and for good reason.
However, when it comes to non-physical threat fears, it’s usually due to mismanagement of the mind. There are three types of fears that interfere with detox and recovery from addictive substances… and underneath all of these is an “assumption of pain.”
The 3 Types of Fear are:
- Fear of Loss
- Fear of the Process
- Fear of the Outcome
The following writing exercises will help you uncover, dissect, and reframe any fears that you may have so that you can have an easier time moving forward toward your goal of quitting opioids and feeling great afterward.
1. Write out any Fears of Loss you may be having regarding quitting opiates.
Are you afraid you’ll lose the pain relief benefits? The anxiety benefits? Or maybe you’ll lose the energy and happiness they may have been providing you with? Write out what you might be fearing you’ll lose, and then write every possible benefit you can think of regarding everything you will gain from quitting your addiction.
For me, I used to get a lot of anxiety relief and a lot of energy from that. I was afraid of losing my calm mindset, I was afraid of losing my happiness, my confidence, I was afraid of losing that energy because I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.
What could you possibly be losing? The way to overcome this fear, the solution is to think about everything that you’ll gain. And not only think about it but write out literally everything that you could possibly gain all the wonderful benefits and all the different areas of your life that you’ll gain. And so focus on what you’re going to gain and not what you’re going to lose. That’s the way to overcome the fear of loss.
2. Write out any Fears of the Process you may have regarding quitting opiates.
Is there one or more Steps of this Process that seem too difficult or scary for you? Write these down and then commit to respecting and welcoming the process. Honor the process and even though you may be scared, write out why you’re going to go through with it anyway.
For me, the biggest thing was the fear of acute withdrawal. I thought it was just going to be so hard and also the post-acute withdrawal where your symptoms last for weeks to months. I didn’t think I was going to be able to get through that because, in the past, I had failed. I had either set a date and not gone through with all the days that acute detox or I did successfully get past that but down the line, the post-acute withdrawal was just way too hard.
If you’re fearing one step or more of this process and this is a pretty long process of the addiction recovery that can lead to you getting stuck and not moving forward and not making progress towards your goal of addiction recovery. The solution to overcome the fear of this process is to welcome the process, honor the process, know that it’s going to be a challenge and welcome the challenge.
3. Write out any Fear of Outcome you may have.
Are you afraid that you will go for it and then ultimately fail? Or are you afraid that you’ll succeed in the short-term, only to relapse a few weeks or months down the line? Write these down and then commit to not worrying about it and instead, link “Personal Fulfillment” and perhaps even “Contribution” simply to the act of trying.
It takes a lot of courage and it takes a lot of personal responsibility and self-discipline and strength and heart for anybody to come off addictive substances and to you know to get off these drugs and then try to live a life of recovery. So who cares if you fail the first time, it doesn’t matter.
You can try again. Do not fear the outcome because I could regardless you’re a success even if you try. Because there’s a lot of people I’m telling you right now there’s a lot of people that never even try they get stuck on drugs and/or alcohol and they don’t even try to quit or they’ll just switch from one drug the other, that’s what I did for years and years and years over a decade in fact. I just switched drugs, I went from marijuana to alcohol to benzodiazepines to pretty much any drug I could get my hand on to opioids. You know I just didn’t want to be without substances in me.
I had a fear of the outcome that if I got off everything then I would be a mess. And that just wasn’t true that was just my own fear because you know didn’t take long for me at all to feel totally amazing. I felt so good after I got off opioids. The key for me was to take the right supplements, exercise, focus on eating healthfully and really focus on changing my mindset and personal growth and connecting with spirituality.
So don’t fear the outcome. Really you just need to link personal fulfillment and perhaps even contribution. Oftentimes fear the outcome comes down to me, me, me, me, me, me. We’re thinking about ourselves too much.
So the way to get around that is to think about other people. You know think about whose life, who needs you to be bringing your best right now, who needs you to be doing this, think about the other people in your life and how it will positively impact them for you to transcend addiction and live your best life. And even if you don’t succeed the first the second time, it doesn’t matter.
You’re going to be a success just simply for trying. You going to be living your truth, you’re going to be operating from your integrity and your values and you’re not going to be stuck, you’re not going to be at a standpoint in the cage, fear of going forward just because of these fears you know.
F.E.A.R. = FACE EVERYTHING AND RISE
Face everything and rise. That’s what I think sting fear stands for it’s a chance for us to grow. And really everything worthwhile in life is on the other side of fear whether you’re going after, whether you want to date somebody and you think it’s the person that could be the one for you or whether you want to go get that, start that business or maybe you’re applying for your dream job. All those things are on the other side of fear and so is addiction recovery.
Here are some recommended resources that may help: