My friends in recovery have two amazing acronyms for fear:

F**k Everything And Run or

Face Everything And Recover

Recovery is a lifelong process designed to promote health, manageability, and sustainability. Yet there are times when we have to do things we’re not ready to do because life circumstances demand it. Like a recovering heroin addict who has to take pain medication following a major surgery or having to take a job that isn’t conducive to your recovery because the bills must be paid.

Life on Life’s Terms

Sometimes we have to do things that no one is ever ready to do because Walt Whitman was wrong. Sometimes you have to go home because they’re dying. Sometimes you have to step up because you’re the only one who can.

“Living life on life’s terms” sometimes forces us to face fears that we’re not yet equipped for. If you find yourself in such circumstances, take pause, and take stock.

Consider this – we tend to only imagine facing fear alone because that’s what we have the most experience doing. Plans and commitments made under duress are often far more than we can hope to maintain.

A list of questions I routinely ask:

  • Can you take someone with you?
  • Can you have an escape plan?
  • Can you make a plan other than white-knuckling?
  • Who’s in your circle?
  • Got people who will be there for you? (not just “when you need them”; you’re like me – you need them all the time)

Relapse prevention plans are always good. Sometimes they need to be put on steroids. When we’re under pressure, we need to mobilize a ton of support. I’m always amazed at what folks in recovery are willing to do for one another.

Making a Plan

  • Talk it out with someone who knows you well.
  • Be open-minded and really, really listen to the feedback you get.
  • Develop contingencies for what you’ll do if you even start craving a drink or drug.
  • If at all possible, have an escape plan to remove yourself from stressful environments.
  • Have a LONG list of numbers – people who know you’re doing something hard and have agreed to be there for you.

Don’t think about calling them. Just call them!

Imagine someone you care about in your shoes. What would you suggest to them? Would you want them to reach out to you? Right. Thinking is dangerous. Reach. Out.