"Instead of standing on the shore and proving to ourselves that the ocean cannot carry us, let us venture on its waters – just to see." ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin~
It’s time to face an undeniable truth. We’re all afraid of the unknown, more or less. While it is normal to feel some anxiety when going into unknown territory, the fact is that we need to get past our fears and uncertainties if we’re ever to make any meaningful progress in recovery.
Not that doing so will come easily to us, especially if we’re new to recovery, have recently suffered a relapse, or have a combination of addictions that we’re in recovery from. It is also true that some of us just aren’t that eager to venture into something we don’t know about.
Here’s a little secret: It’s all unknown. At least, it will seem that way to us when we first begin something new. And it doesn’t really matter much if that something new is a technique to deal with overwhelming cravings and urges, or how to live up to our obligations when we resume work after rehab. When we haven’t been there before, we don’t really know what to expect. Sure, we can listen to what others in the 12-step rooms have to say about this or that technique or strategy, but it really winds up being our own action that will make a difference or not.
Another common excuse, or rationalization, is that we’re not very good learners. We tell ourselves we need time to adjust, as if the day that we believe we’ll be ready to move forward will come along anytime soon. When we start giving ourselves reasons for not doing something that we know we need to do to maintain our sobriety and continue to make progress in recovery, we’re not going to be realizing any successes in the immediate future.
There are all kinds of reasons why we fail to take action, even when we profess to want to. They may sound good to others, even convince some of our friends or loved ones, but they’re all still excuses of one sort or another. They’re just a means to delay taking necessary action. The result of our inability to push ahead into new territory is that we remain stuck right where we are.
The truth is that, once we begin, it will get a whole lot easier. That’s not just the words of a well-meaning sponsor or family member, or even others who have long been clean and sober. It is a fact. The more we learn, the more we grow. The more we grow, the more self-confident we become. What may seem difficult or scary today will become less fearsome the more we do it.
So what if something we try doesn’t turn out as we expect? We can still learn from the experience, and, in so doing, benefit our recovery. We may discover another avenue to pursue that would never have presented itself had we not gone forward in a certain direction. We will very likely meet new people who may, in turn, open up countless new opportunities. We will never know if we never try. So get busy creating actions plans and then do what it takes, even if that means venturing into unknown territory.