"Ladder To Recovery, 12 Steps To Progress"
This website has been inspired by St. Raphael and the story in the Old Testament Book Tobit


REPLACE ANXIETY, FEAR AND WORRY

Some Recovery programs typically list two main sources for all fear: fear of not getting something (or person) I want; and fear of losing something (or person) I have. While in a certain sense this definition can cover many fears, in order to be more helpful we think it's also helpful to start with the end product of fear: anxiety, then work back into how anxiety relates to fear.

Perhaps nowhere else in Recovery is so much so uncertain and elusive than when dealing with anxiety, fear and worry. So much seems so cloudy, confusing, confounding, and perplexing, like trying to see through steamed or opaque windows, or feeling like drowning in quicksand with no bottom, or not being able to peel away the layers of the onion, or punch your way out of a paper bag.

So let's start with some very simple, basic, helpful definitions. Let's start with developing a good idea of anxiety, since anxiety is the result of unchecked fear and worry.

Anxiety: is the intensely nervous feeling that comes over one when they allow themselves to be dominated by their fears and worries. It is an overdose of pre-anticipated negative outcome theory and/or habitual, frozen (even paralyzing) ways of thinking that one has rationalized and built up within oneself, (especially lies one has told oneself) into a system of almost completely unconscious thought patterns, that puts one on an emotional overload, and can cause emotional outburst, fits of extreme anger (and worse), stress and distress, imbalanced thoughts, words and deeds, followed by an emotional hangover, and being worn out and tired. It creates great barriers between us and God - All True Reality, thereby causing mis-connecting and disconnecting mental wiring, dullness of mind and a very weak spirit (your character), truly mad and even, insane, thinking, and reasoning and impulsive living and lifestyles.

Anxiety is the result of, perhaps years of not facing fears, nor dealing with or handling fears. It is the accumulation of perhaps a lifetime of running away from fears. That is why a famous statesman once said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." If this statement is understood correctly, then it should quickly become obvious that so much fear is nothing more than unfounded, false ideas and baseless self-accusations haunting and harassing us, because we chose to run from our fears rather than face them to begin with.

Notice anxiety is caused by "allowing" oneself to be overwhelmed and dominated by fears and worries. That means that sometime in my life, I made a conscious decision; I actually chose to think and feel anxious, and to hold onto that feeling of anxiety and nervousness, when mentally confronted by certain thoughts, words, deeds or situations. They immediately formed into a blockage, a pattern of thinking I have come to rely on. I have since put my mind on auto pilot and allowed it to automatically feel intensely nervous whenever these certain thoughts, words, deeds or situations occur to me that cause my anxiety. They are now so deeply entrenched and knotted into my personality that I am probably no longer even aware of the underlying thoughts, words, deeds or situations that cause my anxiety. But I now accept my feelings of anxiety as "situation normal" for me. I actually trust my feelings of anxiety more than my reasoning capabilities, much less God's will for me. I may have actually become addicted to that intense feeling of nervousness and anxiety. I have so often held onto that feeling of intense nervousness and anxiety that it has become interwoven into my addiction, and made a part and parcel of it.

Certainly taking addictive substances, including caffeine, sugar, alcohol, drugs, certain foods; miserly hoarding one's money, possessions; gambling, or anticipating and/or having sexual fantasies or actual encounters, licit or illicit, may not only bring on anxiety, but deepen, prolong and intensify it, thereby compounding one's addiction, one' straying from God. A running joke in Recovery is when people say they are fine, they really mean "Feeling Intensely Nervous Everywhere. (F.I.N.E.)

If I am "allowing" myself to be overwhelmed and dominated by my fears, that means I have a choice (or once had a choice) over whether or not to feel anxious. Once I note the feeling of anxiety coming over me, I can choose to feel anxious or choose not to simply by becoming aware of the thoughts, words, deeds and situations the bring on that anxious feeling. Then I can examine them: What thoughts make me feel nervous? What words when I tell them to myself (or someone says them to me) cause anxiety in me? What behaviors of mine make me more anxious? What situations or set of circumstances trigger my anxiety?

Once I know what causes my anxiety, I can then apply the first step to them: "I humbly and courageously admit I am powerless over (name your cause/s of anxiety). By not putting God first, my life has become unmanageable." Then, I can choose to think, say or do the opposite. This usually means abstaining from the thought, word, deed (i.e. using, drinking, having indiscriminate sex -either just in my mind or actually, etc) or circumstance that makes me feel anxious and afraid. If I want to avoid feelings of intense nervousness, anxiety and fear, then I must counter those trigger thoughts, words, deeds and situations that create them for me. I counter them by consciously choosing to think, do and say their exact opposite, no matter what.

Finally, it's about catching myself and becoming more aware of the specific thoughts, words, deeds and situations, (triggers and near occasions) airing them out with appropriate others, and then beginning to let go of them. A key to all recovery is honesty: the frank self-admission and even self-accusation of my problem. Once I admit I have a problem that's half the battle; "A good start well done, if half the battle won."

Fear: is that feeling of being afraid associated with an anticipated outcome of a certain impending event or possible future event based upon a thought or group of thoughts I have related to that anticipated outcome (which may or may not ever come to pass).The feeling I associate with fear appears very real. But the anticipation of a certain outcome is not necessarily the actual outcome. Or if it is, it could be that my fearful anticipation of it, actually causes it to happen. Similar to the meaning of "self-fulfilling prophecy," "programming for failure" or "setting oneself up for failure" our thoughts are sometimes very real things. Like the saying, "thoughts are things" our fearful thoughts can control our destiny, if we let them. Therefore, many times my fearful thoughts that motivate my behavior, allow my fears to become my reality. 

In addition to the fear of not getting what I want, and the fear of losing something I already have, there is the fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of imperfection, fear of not being liked or accepted, fear of being harmed or punished, fear of being wrong or making the wrong decision, fear of being seen as ugly -not beautiful, handsome or pretty, the fear of being wronged, fear of failure, and the fear of difficulties, trials, troubles and pain. While these additional fears can be seen as losing something I already have, namely my well-being, happiness, and self-assurance, how many can truly say they are happy, self-assured and well to begin with? So, am I not then make false assumptions about myself underneath it all?

The truth is much fear, (not all fear), can be simply no more than self-created, self-induced and self-perpetuating lies and phantasms. And if one has a flair for the dramatic, coupled with addictive tendencies, then it can be a great monkey on one's back. So, in this sense, fear is False Evidence Appearing Real: F.E.A.R. By becoming more aware of what thoughts, words, deeds and situations cause us fear, we can begin to air then out, look at them for what they are, and then begin to let go of them.

By applying the first step to them, "I humbly and courageously admit I am powerless over (name your fear/s). By not putting God first, my life has become unmanageable." Then, try to think, say and do the opposite as your fears suggest.

Worry: is the process whereby a person increases their feelings of fear and anxiety in themselves by constantly thinking about a possible negative outcome with regard to a certain anticipated event/s, that may or may not come to pass. Worry is the constant self-freeing of possible negative thoughts, words and deeds, with regard to predicting outcomes (with people, places or things). It is the incessant dwelling on these negative possibilities that may never actually happen.  Or, that only happen because of my trapped thinking, my blocked blessings, my circular reasoning or 'stinking thinking.'

In Sum: Anxiety is the intensely nervous feelings I have as the result of all my fears and worries, prior to self-accusation, research or investigation. Fear is the people, places, things, thoughts, words, deeds, situations and circumstances I am actually afraid of. And Worry is the act of constantly thinking about them, meditating on them, consciously and unconsciously. It is the incessant self-feeding and self-perpetuating of negative assumptions and self-medicating lies and thoughts always leading to negative outcomes.

SOME DEEPER CAUSES OF FEAR:

Guilt: is the God given sense that tells me what I've thought, said or done is wrong, no matter who else tells me otherwise. It is in my conscience, the place in my mind and heart where God speaks to me, even if only through my feelings, where He trying to break though to me. Like a good Father or Mother, He is warning me of what is not good for me. He is actually trying to protect me from hurting myself, like a good father or Mother trying to grab a knife or gun or matches from a child's hands.  Only He is the most perfect and loving of all parents, the one, only True God. So, I can choose to run and escape those pangs of conscience, my feelings of guilt, by hiding under the cloak of my addiction: alcohol, drugs, medication, lust, gluttony, greed, gambling, etc. Or, I can choose to turn towards God and face my guilt. By face my problems head on is the only way to clean up my act, my life, and begin my recovery. The only way to avoid feelings of guilt and remorse, is by avoiding thinking, saying or doing the things that make me feel guilty and remorseful. There simply is no other way.

Remorse: is the actual feeling of the emotional weight of the guilt (deep sadness for offending God) the moment after I commit the transgression, or the next moment I'm not hiding in my addiction. I need to immediately and spontaneously say I'm truly sorry to God, and mean it, or at least, ask for the desire to have the desire to mean it, ask mercy make restitution, and then to ask God for His mercy and forgiveness, as well as ask mercy and forgiveness from anybody I've hurt. Nor does my confessing my sin, mean the weight of the guilt and remorse will be lifted right away. It may or may not. It is all according to God and God's time. He knows best what will help us, eternally. But, the beginning of Recovery, the beginning of your cure, starts with one good act, in thought, word or deed, no matter what or who else tries to drown Him out.

REPLACE FEAR OF PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS; & THOUGHTS WORDS AND DEEDS, WITH A HEALTHY FEAR OF GOD

In sum, feelings of guilt and remorse stem from unrepentant thoughts, words, and deeds, that are at odds with God. This type of thinking, speaking and behavior offends God who has only our best interests in His Infinitely Loving and Most Merciful Mind and Heart. So, by offending God, we really hurt and punish ourselves, ...unnecessarily too. Although sometimes we hardly think so.

As we constantly try to pretend and convince ourselves we are right and He is wrong, we harden our hearts against Our Father, Our Creator, Our Tremendous Lover. We practice forgiveness of self, others and God. We develop deep seated, strongholds of resentment, malice and evil wills. Yet, we still may think to ourselves that was are good. Thus we lie to ourselves. Thus we self destruct.

Every time we break even the least of one of His Ten Commandments, we spiritually weaken and wound ourselves. So, really all our wounds are self-inflicted. Would I let anybody else do to me what I've done to myself? Really now. The Ten Commandments are given by God to us, through Moses, as His condensed version of the Holy Bible; His short but most powerful love letter to us his most beloved children. It contains all I need to do and avoid, in order to be reasonably happy in this life, and Supremely happy with Him in the next. 

For mental health and wellness, for truly feeling good about yourself, and your well-being, true security amidst life's tempests, trials and storms, emotional balance and health, loss of anxiety, fear worry, guilt, remorse to the greatest capacity God has given you; it is to Him you must turn. By consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, breaking any one of His Commandments you create a greater distance, even a void, between you and God. So, its harder to be heard by Him, soothed, comforted and thus, cured, recovered, healed, forgiven and saved by Him. We're like clocks telling the clock maker we will not be clocks, yet complaining when we cannot give the correct time (be what we're supposed to be).

Common sense dictates that if your car needs repair, if your computer, phone or watch, need maintenance or repair, you take it to the car maker, the computer maker, the phone maker, or the watch maker, for best results. In short, if something needs fixing, we bring it to its maker. The same is true for human beings. If I need maintenance, fixing or repair, if I'm broken, wounded, hurting, suffering under my addiction, affliction or adversity, then it is to my Maker, My Creator, My Father, that I must go. Although sometimes helpful sometimes not so helpful, no other person, place of things will work as well as going to God. May you find Him now. Matter-of-fact, most suffering under any addiction, sin or deep character flaw, have tried just about everything else. Now that I've tried everything else, I think I'll follow directions. And his direction manual, his manual for living life to its best, its fullest, happiest extent possible, it to begin with obeying His Ten Commandments. Period, end of story.

Therefore, now it's time to follow directions. We all need to go back to the One, True God, the Universal God of all human beings, regardless of creed, code or cult. And His directions start with a sincere attempt to follow all His Ten Commandments, no matter what. And to always give God the benefit of the doubt, no matter how unreasonably it may first appear to be. Not that I need to obey His Ten Commandments in a spirit of fear, that I'll go to hell (although that is true). But, that I want to obey His Ten Commandments so that I can be reasonably happy in this life; including avoiding all unnecessary misery, guilt and pain: unrecovered, unredeemed suffering; and be completely happy with Him in the next life. 

So, if I'm looking at my life and complaining about my situation or set of circumstances, my condition, my difficulties, my dilemmas, my struggles, fears and worries, guilt, remorse, hurt, pain and suffering, sorrows, agonies, defeats, then perhaps its time to take a closer look at my anxieties, fears and worries.

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