Everyone wants instant competence and confidence in recovery, but unfortunately it does not work that way. Competence and confidence in recovery are things we build through doing the hard things, and the hard things are carried by courage. 

The three C’s of anxiety recovery are COURAGE, COMPETENCE, AND CONFIDENCE. You have to start by finding your courage, which will lead to an increased sense of competence, which when used to its fullest potential builds the confidence we desire, and a more lasting and durable recovery.


  • (02:10)…Everyone wants competence and confidence first, but the courage has to come first
  • (02:30)…The big misconception about courage is that courage means not being afraid. You will still be afraid, but courage comes from acting even when you’re afraid. Brave people are still afraid, and that’s okay.
  • (03:55)…Some people think that as soon as they feel fear, they have to give up – this comes from not feeling competent in their ability to handle fear. Everybody has courage, but you have to work through your fear in order to find your courage.
  • (04:40)…It’s important to note that none of the people that you are taking your advice from would tell you to do dangerous things. Doing your exposures will be scary, but they are not dangerous.
  • (06:00)…You will not get to the other two C’s of recovery without having courage first, so the big question is HOW? How do we find our courage? Well, we have to do the scary thing. This doesn’t mean that we are doomed to a lifetime of constant terror in doing scary things, but the first few times of doing that hard thing will be scary. Courage is what moves us through that fear.
  • Reference podcast episode 0003: Courage
  • (07:50)…Everyone that has recovered in this community has thought at one point that they couldn’t AND every one of those people that recovered had to display courage. 
  • (09:25)…We learn through repeated positive outcomes. Those repeated positive outcomes lead us to competence; we understand our fears and we understand that we CAN recover. 
  • (10:40)…One of the most common questions in this community is, “What if it comes back?” or the thought, “I’ve had a major setback, I have to start back from square one.” Maybe you’ve learned how to get through certain things like going to the grocery store or successfully getting on or off the interstate, but if you lack the CONFIDENCE in being able to accomplish anything that’s not on your already learned list, then you might experience the “setback” feeling. 
  • (12:20)…Confidence only happens when you continue to feed yourself those repeated experiences AND you use the competence and confidence you gained from smaller wins to try something on a larger scale. 
  • (13:05)…To recap, Courage is what propels us into the exposures in the micro-level, competence is what we build when we do each of those tasks, and confidence is what comes if you keep going and continue to push those boundaries.
  • (14:05)…It’s important for us to focus on the width and depth of recovery. We want recovery to be broad and deep so that our experiences get spread across multiple contexts so we can build more confidence.
  • (14:50)…The three C’s to recovery are not linear
  • (16:15)…”One of the biggest challenges I had to do in my recovery is to fly. I took my near-term and mid-term exposure goals and I intentionally spread them into bigger things outside of my bubble for a year or more. When it came time to fly, the confidence that came from building courage to confidence made it much easier to tackle the last challenge, and as it turns out, it wasn’t that much of a challenge because I had built that third C.” 
  • (20:20)…You’re going to have to find the courage to build portable competence in order to gain confidence in accomplishing various events in your daily life. This is where you will find durable recovery.

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Podcast Intro/Outro Music: "Afterglow" by Ben Drake (With Permission)






Founder and host of The Anxious Truth podcast. Therapist-in-training specializing in anxiety and anxiety disorders. Author. Podcaster. Educator. Advocate. Former anxious person.