19 November 2018

#Cancer / #Recovery... Part Five: FEAR

"The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind." - William Blake
Frozen in Fear, 
It was a savage fear, an untamed, malignant and rabid wolf whose jaws inescapably devoured me.
But let certain fears linger. Nurture them. The dangers aren't always imaginary! The pains of real harm may be prevented when fear is properly reined in. 
Wolves and dogs share a common ancestry and became domesticated, the cherished pets we have today. Fear, too, may be so domesticated, tamed. a tool for our protection instead of our destruction. Fear, tempered with knowledge, may be a saving grace. Let fear be like a beloved guard dog, protecting you and yours.
But mine, my fears, were the "reptiles of [my] mind." The dangers my fears concocted were imaginary. What I perceived in my alcoholic descent and in the crippling panic attacks which followed were the chronic, destructive forces of fear distorted by addiction, bubbling up from alcoholic delusions. The insane fears within my addiction's core would be dispelled by comforting care and thoughtful actions over vast periods of time. It would not be an easy fix. 
After 50,000 drinks in my less-than-illustrious 30-year drinking career, recovery has slowly taught me many lessons in sober living.
Recovery has altered my perception of fear and let reason in to conquer what once had seemed unconquerable. A healthy respect for fear slowly replaced the twisted culture of the false fear that was addiction's home. 
Fear, in remission, like a guard dog, gentle, but ever-ready to strike against realistic obstacles instead of the those reptiles of my mind. Here, now, today, my realistic fears move me in the direction of healing.
Truthfully, my cancer diagnosis was not much of a shocker to me. I was almost blasé about it, not dead in my tracks as one might suspect. A strength I did not know I had upwelled. My immediate, yet measured response was that I could handle this. Whatever it was, whatever the diagnosis, my recovery from addiction had given me the tools, knowledge and direction I would need to face all my fears, including cancer, directly, forthrightly. I would not respond in a way that was shifty, evasive or indirect. 
I called my doctor immediately and the whole process of diagnosis, treatment and recovery began.
Shared Courage. Let me insert that right here before I go any further. Shared courage would pull me through. Shared Courage. Say it again. Let it really sink in. Friends, family, even my co-workers at the time would help to fortify my resolve. The way out is through. I learned this in recovery. 
Fear of failure, of the unknown, fear of loss, even fear of success have been felt, recognized and dealt with by me and countless others. I dealt with these and other fears by having another drink in my addiction. Alcohol overcame me and became the only tool in my toolbox. My destruction became obsessively, progressively more inevitable. Finding recovery from alcohol would require new tools. The way out is through. And it is through Shared Courage that I would find my way in a sober world.
The mutual benefit of sharing with others is universal. Everyone is a winner. It is a lesson well-learned and transferrable to all life experiences, including my cancer diagnosis. I cannot do it alone. No one can. ("No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main" as John Donne so aptly described it.) Others are necessary, certainly, but not sufficient. We have to take part in our own recovery. 
Resolve. I needed to be focussed on my commitment to continue on my sober path. My strength has been bolstered by the bonds of unity with others. Humanity, my human glue, helped me piece together my shattered self in recovery from alcoholism and recovery from cancer requires these and newer, different and stronger bonds of connection to remain "a part of the main." Drugs, radiation and chemo were essential to me, but my connection with others would become part of my prescription for a fulfilling recovery.
Like the flying buttresses on the world's greatest cathedrals, Shared Courage is an invisible, indivisible force in my recovery and from all that life may place on my pathway. Connections are a salvation of sorts for me. Addiction severed connection with all else. Cancer has become a Gift, feeding my Recovery from Addiction in ways both subtle and complex. Fear, used wisely and rationally will guide me forward, protect me, save me. Pass through it to survive, for survival is fear's real purpose.
Share your fears, your courage. Shared courage will make it all worth it, no matter the outcome.
For real.

Cancer Will Not Own Me / Control Me / Lessen Me
Addiction Will Not Own Me / Control Me / Lessen Me
Cancer Will Not Own Me / Control Me / Lessen Me
You may also enjoy ALL DRINKING ASIDE: The Destruction, Deconstruction & Reconstruction of an Alcoholic Animal http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO 
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