Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth. -Pema Chodron
Addictions arise for many specific reasons, but fundamentally as an avoidance reaction to various forms of underlying fear. Our addictions act as a promise, a promise that if we can only monitor their use, these substances and behaviors can sooth our experience of life and create a more fulfilling alternative to life without them. But this, in itself, is a lie. While it might be said that altered states may have something to teach us about what is emotionally possible, to rely on them foundationally is neither tenable nor realistic. Recovery means facing this truth straight on. But it will necessarily cause fear in the beginning, the very emotional state that we used our addictions to avoid. Recovery, in fact, means facing and embracing this paradox. And even after we deal with the initial fears of living without that to which we were addicted, we will usually need to go further and learn about the deeper reasons that life became fundamentally fearful enough for us that we required such strong and destructive attachments to begin with. This means facing the foundational fears that motivated our addictions in the first place—again, more truth but more fear. Eventually, though, if we can develop the courage to move through fear instead of endeavoring to avoid it, we are rewarded with truth, ultimately what we sought to begin with.