Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

Renewing My Faith

For a long time my focused actions and words were based on fear.  I feared I wouldn’t get what I wanted, what I loved would be taken away or I wouldn’t have things others did.  I kept making decisions based on fear, always anticipating and preparing for the worst.

My earliest lessons of fearing the worst came during parochial school.  As children we learned what would happen if we didn’t adhere to the teachings of the Catholic religion. I was taught to be scared of God’s vigilant watch rather than how to gain the faith His watch was for my protection.

I lived in this confused state between fear and faith until I began my journey into the 12-Step program of recovery.  Along the way I’ve learned faith is not understood by studying a book or listening to others defining their own.  I awakened my faith by letting go the need to control everything and why holding my breath, fearfully anticipating what would happen next wouldn’t help.

This was definitely not an overnight sensation.  I had to work to convince myself this idea of releasing control wouldn’t bring what I feared most.  For example, when I initially admitted to being an alcoholic and to having an eating disorder, I did so because I was sick and tired of living as I was.  However I didn’t necessarily want to make a change.  In those first few months in recovery I wanted to pour a glass of wine and really wanted to maintain control of what went on my plate.  I didn’t want to do relinquish the choice of being able to do these things but I also didn’t want to go back to the life I’d been leading.

Completely confused I confided this to another woman who had been where I was.  She offered a simple idea of what to do when I started to think having a glass of wine or skipping meal would bring relief.  In that moment of weakness, instead of immediately doing what I had done before, she suggested I take a few seconds to pause, breathe deeply and make a silent request for guidance.  When I found myself needing to put her suggestion into action, I realized I didn’t have to make a decision about never drinking again or always eating as suggested.  All I had to do was not drink and eat according to plan for just that day.  When I woke up the following morning and realized I hadn’t had a glass of wine and did eat as was advised, I had gained experience. I taught myself I could do what I thought impossible which then led to believing I could do the same again.

I found faith where there had been none.

The very simple fact is, faith and fear cannot co-exist.  If I face what’s in front of me with an attitude of fear, I’ll deny myself the opportunity to see the situation as solvable.

These days I talk with women from all over the world who feel hopeless, frightened and alone.  I remind them if they truly didn’t care where their life was going they wouldn’t be on the phone with me.  Somewhere in their desperation is faith.  I remind them their fear will be conquered if they have even the slightest belief there’s a solution they’ve yet to find.

I cannot define faith for anyone, doubtfully anyone can.  Faith is internal, intuitive and  profoundly individual.

I’ve often been asked, “How did you stay so calm?”  My simply response is, “I’ve proven to myself things seems to turn out much better when I stop believing I have any control over what’s eventually going to happen.”

letting go of control


What are you holding a tight grip on right now?  Are you desperately trying to change someone perspective?  Are you trying to fix something that isn’t yours to fix?  Use the comment section below to share one thing you might stop trying to control.  I’ll bet you’ll be amazed how relieving the simple act of accountability can be!   


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2 thoughts on “Renewing My Faith

  1. Claudia Donohue on said:

    I’m in awe of how beautifully you phrase what you’ve practiced and accomplished. More so when I think about how many women you’re helping. Hoping they read each blog over and over.

  2. Leanne frm Fl on said:

    Thank you. This was great to read. I hold onto fittness as my security. I will pray about what you shared.

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