Anxiety: Overcoming the Fear of Making Decisions

One of the toughest recurring themes in recovery is our fear of making big decisions. We who seek transformation through growth and healing also have an acute fear of making changes. There are a lot of important reasons for this:

– We have a long history of making unhealthy decisions.
– We don’t trust ourselves sufficiently (or at all).
– We expect to fail at following through
– We’re accustomed to disappointing ourselves
– Our past experiences taught us to associate change with loss

It’s a tough piece of acceptance: the things that will make us feel most alive are also things that inevitably scare the hell out of us. It’s more comfortable to justify staying in the familiar. It’s easier to complicate and procrastinate than to consciously choose to live more fully.

We stay stuck in self doubt, conveniently overlooking that this is the means by which we avoid our fears. We justify inaction with ridiculous ideas like that we’ll do better once we feel better. We stay on the fence because we view getting off of it as a leap of faith.

I find baby steps to be more manageable, but I have also found that I will not take those steps until I both accept that I’m afraid and choose to share my fears with others. In the absence of seeking support, I will rob myself of opportunities for reassurance and encouragement.

I need to draw on the faith that others have in me. Even when I don’t agree, I can hold on to the fact that they believe in my potential to change and to overcome.

When I hide my fears they will run and ruin me. They will narrow my perspective and inhibit my growth. They will prevent me from being accountable for getting what I need and from doing I need to do. Worst of all, they will distance me from my Higher Power.

And then nothing works…

The next time you hear yourself say, “I gotta figure it out.”

Stop.

Think about it literally: if you need to figure it out, that means spending time…alone…in your head. That’s just a really horrible idea – especially when you’re afraid. Reach out. Get a reality check from someone you know (if only intuitively) can be trusted.

Two heads aren’t just better than one. They’re a million times better than one. Don’t face fear alone. Don’t go through hard times alone. Treat your head like a bad neighborhood and instead of asking for advice, share what you’re feeling and ask for what you need.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.