Fear Needs Medication: The Downward Spiral of Addiction
By Santi Meunier

There are as many forms of medication as there are of fear.  Some of us medicate our fear with alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, food (especially the “white foods” sugar, flour, dairy and salt), sex, shopping, gambling, over-achieving, working, money, power- the list goes on. Very few of us have escaped the trap of medicating our fear at one time or another. Why? For one thing, fear hurts. It can come in countless forms of painful emotions that leave us feeling victimized and powerless.

When life is going our way we can feel that nothing can touch us. We are in control and it is working.  We find the love of our life. The job we wanted magically falls in our lap.  Everything we touch turns to gold.  We are successful and take full credit for it.

Then suddenly without warning the rug seems to be pulled out from under us.  We realize that we can’t really control anything and we feel as if we are in a free fall. Our fear mounts, and no matter how hard we try nothing seems to turn it around.  Caught in a web of despair and powerlessness we reach for some form of medication. 

In this scenario let’s say the drug of choice is alcohol.  We take a drink and for a brief moment we feel some relief from the pains of life.  Our brain records this in its cellular memory and sets up a craving for it again when the fearful feelings return.  Because we have not solved anything by drinking, but simply put a “Band-Aid” over the pain, it is bound to come back.

The downward spiral of addiction takes place when the need to medicate our emotions supersedes all else. The more we seek to run from our fears the more they strengthen.  We are driven to drink more and more in an effort to re-experience that initial comfort, but it remains elusive and out of reach. Our inward condition is that of pain, fear and self-loathing.  We feel that we have failed at the game of life.  We are at the mercy of our emotions, and now of our addiction as well. It appears that there is no escape, and the price of a small relief is mounting. What can we do?   

We must “surrender to win”.  This is the 12 step program’s battle cry. What does it mean and how does it work? What do we surrender and what do we win?

First we have to honestly admit that we have been unable to free ourselves from this addictive cycle and that without help it will continue to get worse. In the case of the alcoholic, the surrender begins with the admission that the drink, not the individual is in control. The first step in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is, “We admit that we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” We recognize that the choices we have made to manage our fear and pain have not worked.  They have in fact, created more problems and in some cases, serious addictions.  We surrender our will or ego as it were, to a new paradigm –a new way of approaching our life.  When we completely surrender our old way of being in the world and adapt a new skill set we win our freedom. 

One of the promises in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is, “We will know a new freedom and a new happiness.” Whether you are an alcoholic, an over-eater, a chain smoker or a workaholic, the need to surrender to a new way of living is essential.  The way that you choose will be determined by the nature of your addiction.

Your freedom is a choice away.

Dr. Santi Meunier is an author and inspirational speaker, recognized for her unique style of practical spirituality and her ground-breaking strategies for personal and professional growth. Her program, Fearless Living has helped thousands to realize their dreams. As a highly regarded psychotherapist and expert in the field of addiction her latest book, DYING FOR A DRINK, The Hidden Epidemic of Alcoholismreveals her Holographic Treatment Plan, developed over twenty years in private practice.

For more information visit www.SantiMeunier.com


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