My sponsor, sober 31 years and with a heck of a program, says that when he’s at his best in recovery, he is facing his fears head-on. In fact, he often says that when he was young in recovery, he would go through times when if he was afraid of something, that meant he needed to do it. For example, if he thought somebody was an asshole, he’d take them dinner just to learn more about them.
I now have 9 years sober, and in many ways feel very comfortable in the program. I also sometimes feel stale and stuck — not in immediate danger of relapse, but also not growing like I used to be. I told him this, and he challenged me to do a particular kind of work that I haven’t done before. I immediately got scared and, in my head, filled with resistance. I didn’t want to do it and hoped our first meeting would be cancelled.
Then I remembered what he said about facing fears and moving through them, so when he asked how I felt, I was honest: scared, self-conscious, resistant. Then I said, “So let’s get started.” I had (and still have) faith that what my sponsor suggests will be better than what I come up with. And I also believe that when I am about to grow and change, I will first feel a lot of fear. And that means I’m right where I need to be.