The 12-Step program tells us to avoid the “people, places, and things” associated with the addictions and behaviors we are struggling to eliminate. The idea here is “out of sight, out of mind,” and it works.
So what about using the same strategy for other struggles? Can we eliminate anxiety, phobias, or OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) by simply avoiding the people, places and things that trigger them?
Not according to Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. In her recent article, “Facing Fear,” she recommends that we do just that: face our fears rather than avoid them. She suggests deliberately exposing ourselves to whatever it is that creates our anxiety and triggers our fears. If we can’t completely erase them, we’ll at least make them manageable.
This makes sense from a 12-Step standpoint too. While we are advised to avoid the addictive substances and behaviors (alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc.) we struggle with, we need to remember they are just symptoms of an underlying problem—invariably some manifestation of fear—that the Steps were designed to root out. The Steps are all about facing our fears, and Smith gives us some tips on how to proceed. Read the article here.