When we’re having a hard time healing our inner pain, our woundedness from past trauma, our deep sadness and grief, it is often our fear that is keeping us from healing and moving forward. We’re afraid of having to feel the same pain again. We’re afraid that we’ll always suffer. We’re afraid that we’ll always be addicted or mentally ill. We have layers of fear to uncover, and it will take self-reflection and exploration to come to an understanding about them. One helpful process for working with our fears is exposing ourselves to the triggering fear to help us desensitize ourselves to it. Exposure helps us calm our anxiety and heal the underlying fear by mindfully working through the emotional responses we have to our fear. Often when we feel triggered, we become highly reactive. We panic. We can be emotionally irrational and feel out of control. We can be filled with anger and volatility. We can be totally overwhelmed by fear and lash out at other people, or try to cope by using our addictive substances or behaviors. Exposure can help us to identify the emotional reactions we have to our fear so that we can be more mindful of how we respond to our fear moving forward. This helps us to choose emotional reactions that serve us in our healing rather than hurting us more.
Exposing ourselves to our fears means facing them rather than trying to hide from them. We look at them head on and face them directly rather than running from them, trying to avoid them or distracting ourselves from them. Our addictions are our way of trying to numb the pain of our fears, but with exposure, we’re forcing ourselves to feel the pain so that we can move through it.
Use writing as a mindfulness tool to help you gently expose yourself to your fears. List out the fears you’re already conscious of, the things you already know you’re afraid of. Now pay attention to your self-talk and all the things you think, feel and do subconsciously. What triggers you? What things do you avoid? What do you feel threatened by? Examining our subconscious fears allows us to understand ourselves on a deeper level. Journal about all of this. This process of self-examination is how we expose ourselves to our fears and disentangle ourselves from the layers of confusion and anxiety they’ve been causing us. The more we use exposure in processing our fears and doing our emotional work, the more we get accustomed to facing things head on. We stop letting fear overpower us, and when we reclaim our power, the sky is the limit on our healing potential.
The qualified, talented and compassionate staff at Bayview Recovery recognizes the personal nature of addiction and can help you find your own unique path to health and well-being. Call us today for more information: 888-570-7154.