One of the more common mistakes, especially in early recovery, is trying to actually reach a recovered state before you do the recovery work. If you’re trying to figure out a way to not be afraid so that you can start your recovery, you’re putting the cart before the horse. If you’re hoping that you’ll find some magic words that will make all this hard stuff “click” so you can get started, you’re doing it backwards.

You must do the recovery things first, then you “get it.” It “clicks” after you do the work. And you must do the work of recovery WHILE AFRAID in order to ultimately not be afraid.

If you could find a way to not be afraid first, then there would be no need to recover. You’d already be there!

Episode Highlights:

  • (03:15)…If you’ve been trying to feel unafraid or safe BEFORE you start to do the recovery stuff, you’re probably feeling really frustrated. You cannot simply tell yourself you’re okay. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.
  • (04:00)…Why Positive Self Talk is Bullsh*t,” “How Do I Talk To My Anxiety?”  These old podcast episodes will show you why you cannot TALK yourself into being unafraid. You cannot be recovered before you DO the recovery things.  Recovery is about behavior, not words or thoughts. 
  • (06:00)…There is no way to talk yourself out of this, you can’t think your way out of it. You can’t logic or reason your way out of it. You can’t use inspirational memes, books, training courses, or any of this stuff. Recovery is a DOING thing – you have to actually do the things in order to recover.
  • (07:00)…Recovery does not exist in your scroll. It will not be found through Instagram posts, podcast episodes, words in a book, etc. We learn through action, through behavioral activation, through changing the way we behave and react. Only EXPERIENCE can teach you the lessons. 
  • (08:15)…If you’ve ever thought, “All my logic goes out the window when I’m afraid,” You are correct! You cannot communicate with your amygdala with words or logic or reason. To dive deeper in to this, you might want to check out my books, The Anxious Truth or  Seven Percent Slower
  • (09:20)…By using habituation, inhibitory learning, and speaking to a therapist,  we can LEARN that whether we panic or don’t panic, we are okay. “My symptoms or intrusive thoughts might be more powerful or less powerful, more intense or less intense. Either way, I am okay.” 
  • (10:10)…Different experiences, fueled by new behaviors are what teach our fear center the lesson it needs to learn. 
  • (10:30)…You can’t just decide to not be afraid so that you can do the hard things – You must DO IT AFRAID. We must intentionally go into fear to learn how to be better at being afraid, which leads to not being afraid
  • (12:05)…You might be waiting for it to just “click.” You’re thinking, logically, I understand it, but on an emotional level, it’s just not clicking. The thing is, this thing is so paradoxical that it really cannot click until you’ve already done the action. 
  • (13:00)…The moral of the story – If you’ve been feeling stuck or frustrated, you may be putting the cart before the horse. The good news is when you do the action, you WILL get there. YOU CAN RECOVER!
  • (14:00)…You have to DO IT while you don’t feel certain, while you’re afraid and unsure. COURAGE comes first in The Three C’s of 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.