A lad struggling with addiction mentioned a time he was in immense despair and suicidal. I asked if at that time he really wanted to die or felt he deserved to die? He began to tear up and explained the fear of life that he had and that he felt his addiction had led him to be a burden to others so indeed he felt he deserved to not be in the world any longer. Often I sadly encounter this theme of being deeply afraid of life. But I do know and have seen the powerful emergence of individuals from such fleeing from life to embracing it. Does embracing life mean we are free from problems? No. We need not pretend that all is well or wear a mask with a fake smile. But the difference is we can be mindful of the joys that are present and when troubles arise be equipped to endure and cope through them rather than be numb or plummet into complete darkness. There is sometimes an initial fear of emerging from a familiar period of not feeling and avoiding feeling to encountering new feelings but such dissolves as one moves out of isolation to the embrace of those who understand.
-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D., DAPA, CAADC


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