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Fear Trap


Ralph

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I'm finding myself stuck in fear. I feel paralyzed against doing anything because I am afraid it will turn out wrong. Because I can't control the outcome, I don't want to get involved. I think this is a lingering PTSD symptom, need to work on this in therapy. Hope I remember to bring it up.

Drinking seems to be okay for now. The more I meditate the less I want to drink, and when I do drink I get tired and go to bed instead of drinking more and more. This is good because the main reason I started meditating was to get sober. I lost motivation on getting sober when my anxiety flared up, now I just want to get free from anxiety and that means opiates. However I lost contact with my last dealer since I cleaned up two years ago and I don't even have a way to get any. But if I had them I'd do them. Not proud to admit that, in fact quite ashamed, but it's the truth and maybe if I can admit it to myself I can begin to work with it.

Along the way I developed a porn addiction. While I can't get opiates, I can get virtually unlimited porn just sitting at my computer. And since I'm alone often it's easy to substitute porn for my drug of choice. Now it's a habit, and it's out of control. That's not easy to admit to, either.

This snuck up on me though. I didn't realize what I was doing at the time; I guess with addiction you never do. It's like I just substitute one bad habit for another - drinking to quit smoking, pills for drinking, then finding out pills and drinking enhance each other (in both positive and negative ways), trying to quit it all and then coping with porn instead of facing my problems. Now I've got one more weakness to deal with. I wonder if I can ever be free from all addictions or if I'll keep going around in circles like this. I feel like no one cares. I feel so alone. Yet at the same time, I feel like I am figuring this out, and that gives me hope.

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Does meditation not help with anxiety, as well? It has that effect for me, at least. Could you be allowing anxious thoughts into your meditation, instead of noticing them and letting them go?

I'd question whether it's "one more weakness", however. You say yourself that you're just shifting to a different addiction to cope with the same underlying issue (PTSD, and more specifically anxiety), so probably it's all symptomatic of that one underlying cause (which isn't really even a "weakness": you didn't ask to be traumatized.) As you found with drinking, the symptomatic "weaknesses" tend to go away when you find a more productive way to address the real issue, as happened when you started meditation.

Your courage in admitting where you are does seem very positive to me, though. It's denial that keeps the cycle going.

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Meditation helps with anxiety but only during the time I am sitting. When I get back to the rest of my day the anxiety comes back. I try to distract myself as much as possible when this happens, since when I am distracted I forget to worry. I do try to bring the techniques of mindfulness into the anxiety attacks, and sometimes I am successful. Other times the anxiety becomes too much and turns into depression.

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