One of the first things I learned about in recovery was the link between fear and faith. Over the years it continues to be a source of insight, comfort, and spiritual growth.
In active addiction I could find no respite or relief from the fear that drove my insane thinking and actions. One of the things I feared the most was recovery—and the reality of facing life on life’s terms without the escape-hatch of inebriation and delusion. One day I realized that my old life will always be available to me if I want it back and that the truth of my hesitation was a fear that I wouldn’t be good enough for the new life recovery offered. That I would fail.
There is a strong relationship between fear and faith. My understanding of that relationship often finds daily relevance in my desire to control people, places, and things. It happens without me thinking about it or realizing I’m doing it and is a stark reminder of my frequent lack of faith and underlying fears. When I am trying to control life and run the show myself I am usually fearful at some base level and afraid that things won’t work out well—or in the way I want them to.
Fear remains a common foe in my daily effort to live and grow spiritually. It is very often the root cause of my agitation or discomfort. Sometimes when I pause and remember to think about what I am fearful about in my problems or struggles I can quickly identify what particular thing is causing my discomfort. Other times it’s not clear exactly what I’m in fear of—but it is enough to simply recognize and acknowledge the feeling. When I am stuck in fear I often preclude God’s chance to show me new solutions.
Ultimately, when I have slipped away from faith and into fear it is because I have lost sight of my ability to trust in or accept the results that my Higher Power will provide.
An honest connection with a Higher Power opened the door to the arrival of faith in my life. Faith rides with me on the horse of my actions in life and allows me to seek the help of God and my friends because I’ve nothing held back—nothing hidden that causes shame or guilt. Acceptance, and ultimately transcendence, of life’s fears is easier when I’m properly prepared and supported. Fear becomes a much more natural part of my living and less likely to control or propel me in ways I don’t see or understand.
The idea of replacing fear with faith is fairly simple but learning how to put it into practice regularly, and thoroughly, has taken many years. The first stage is recognizing when my actions are being motivated by fear and then understanding in what way I am trying to control an outcome. Seeing how my faith and ability to trust work together enables me to remain connected to God’s plan for me and allows me to step back from my own desire to take charge and force my will into the world around me.
Slowly I began to experience how the gifts of recovery accumulate in ways that build and increase my faith. As I faced the inevitable challenges of life and got through them I added another “win” to the faith column. Each of these wins helped overcome the sense of fear and doubt that was rooted in my addictive past.
These experiences showed that when I weathered the storm of today I would always return again to the calm sunshine of tomorrow.
Today it is the attraction of recovery rather than the fear of the consequences of addiction that keeps me excited and eager to participate. I’ve learned that I need only the courage to face today and can let the fear of the future and the pains of the past remain where they are. The spiritual awakening provided by the process of recovery frees me from the trap of ruining my present with fears about the past or future and connects me to something larger than myself. Instead of the fear and worry about what others are thinking and doing, I am able to know what I am thinking and believe in. Today I follow a path guided by a security of faith and spiritual belonging rather than the isolated longing and fearful worries of addictive thinking.
Ultimately, recovery asks that I demonstrate through example how faith has changed my life. The daily commitment to faith in the relationship with my Higher Power shows me how to find the value of my entire life within the journey of a single day—today.