At the root of any addiction, or any avoidance behavior, is often times: fear. We can view avoidance behaviors as a form of resistance. By exploring that which produces the most resistance, we are pointed in the direction of our fears. Fear, addiction, and resistance can be found dangling by the same thread, as they are cut from the same cloth. To end resistance, we must face off with our fears. Acronyms for fear, such as "false evidence appearing real" are taught in many sobriety programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, as these programs understand the interconnection between fear and addiction.
Many fall victim to addiction, as a means of avoiding life’s problems, or resisting its pleasures, which alludes to repressed or unacknowledged fears. It could be fear of the future, fear of taking a risk, fear of loss, or even fear of death that drives us to seek temporary relief via a particular vice or vices. What a discordant web we weave when addiction, resistance, and fear runs our life. We have to look under the hood to see what the core cause of these fears are and then replace them with more adaptive modes of being.
When the fear-mongering abounds and the walls seem to be caving in, it is important to create a boundary around your inner space. You can do this by telling your body it is safe, by shutting off media, by walking away from devices, and by regulating your breath. You can center yourself—and thus regulate your whole nervous system—by breathing in and out to the count of four (otherwise known as “box breathing”). The nervous system must be regulated in order to think clearly and to receive higher level information, which also quiets the ego, or the lower self. To be in flight or fight, the reptilian brain, is to be a puppet on a string that is easily controllable and corruptible by outside sources of any kind.
So, what are your fears?
You can list them as a stream of consciousness to increase your awareness or you can follow the prompts below:
What are your biggest fears? Examples: public speaking, death, rejection, etc.
What are you addicted to? Examples: social media, cannabis, sex, etc.
What are you avoiding? Examples: public places, completion of a goal, self-care, etc.
Which of your fears loop you into a cycle of addiction and/or avoidance?
What would you do instead of using your drug of choice, if you weren’t afraid?
What would you do instead of your avoidance behaviors, if you weren’t afraid?