By Lauren White, Pine Grove Alumni Services
Many people coming into a 12 step program have a difficult time with Step 2. The religious people are offended that we can call God whatever we choose, and the atheist or agnostic folks have a hard time with the fact that we bring God into it at all. The part of this step that I couldn’t accept was the fact that I needed to be restored to sanity. Was I really insane? Knowing what I know now, how can a person who is insane know they are insane? I was asked to journal “insane thoughts vs. sane thoughts”. This assignment thoroughly confused me. I was so unaware of the “background noise” in my mind that I couldn’t differentiate the true from the false. A few days later while still in treatment, the phone rang in my apartment. My first thought, being still full of fear, was “someone is dead”. Chills ran up my spine when my roommate came in, walked across the room, and handed the phone to my friend. The call was not even for me! Ahh ha! An insane thought! I pondered on this for quite a while and it has become part of my story, obviously. It was the first time I was able to recognize my unhealthy fear and I could see how it ran my life for so many years. Luckily, today I know what to do with that fear. When I have a catastrophe pop into my mind, I remind myself that 90% of what I worry about NEVER happens, and the 10% that does, I have no control over it anyway. Then I let it pass and say to myself, “Well, that has not happened yet.” Next, the 10th Step comes into play and over time this has become second nature, although in the beginning it could take hours or even days to remember to do this:
Ask God at once to remove the fear.
Speak with someone immediately about it.
Ask God to forgive me for not trusting Him.
And this is the kicker, resolutely turn my thoughts to someone I can help.
If I can’t get to the last step in this process, I can’t be free of the fear. I have to change direction and think about someone else. It is best when I can get a friend or a sponsee on the phone. However, if I can’t find someone, I pray for people in my life, therefore, resolutely turning my thoughts to someone else so I can stop thinking about me. Do any of you struggle with irrational fear? What do you do to free yourself from it?
Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services is an extension of Forrest General Hospital, located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Pine Grove’s world renowned programs focus on treating gender specific chemical addiction including a specialized track for co-occurring eating disorders. Additionally, Pine Grove offers a focused substance abuse healing program for adults age 55 and over. Other Pine Grove specialty programs include a dedicated professional’s treatment curriculum and a comprehensive evaluation center. Pine Grove also features a program for patients with sexual and intimacy disorder issues. Pine Grove was established in 1984 and has provided nationally and internationally recognized health care for over 30 years.
Visit www.pinegrovetreatment.com or call 1-888-574-HOPE (4673) for more information.