Real Men, Real Recovery

By: Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin has worked in the mental-health and addictions field for 17 years. He is the author of A Man’s Way Through the 12 Steps (Hazelden), the first trauma-informed book taking a holistic look at men’s experience of recovery from addictions. He is also co-author of the groundbreaking curriculum, Helping Men Recover, the first trauma-informed curriculum to deal with men’s unique issues and needs.

Dan served as state drug court coordinator for the Minnesota Drug Court Initiative from 2002-2010. He has also worked in addictions research, case management, public advocacy, and counseling. In 2010, Dan started Griffin Recovery Enterprises for consultancy and training. 

Dan has been in recovery since 1994, and lives in Minneapolis with his wife and daughter.

Fear of People and Economic Insecurity Will Leave Us

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Feb 06, 2013


Let me paint a picture to remind you of how it most likely used to be for those of us in recovery: On the outside a lot of us looked like everyone else. Inside we were terrified. There came a point when using seemed to be the only thing that enabled us to interact with the world as if we even somewhat belonged. As our addiction progressed so did our fear of people.
We were afraid because of how we were treating other people, what we did when we were using, and then, as our brains changed from the excessive chemical use, there was just a general fear of people, places, and things. Anxious and frightened all of the time, we felt like much less of a man. Real men donít feel fear, after all.
We walked around with a fear of people: fear of being attacked, beaten up, yelled at, laughed at, made fun of, rejected, disregarded, and abandoned. Though we didnít recognize it, nothing scared us more than the possibility that people would actually love us for who we were. 
Many of us are afraid of our power and of being powerful. When we make peace with ourselves, our fear dissipates. When we strive to act peacefully in the world, we begin to experience a world of peace -- a world where fear does not control us.
What about that fear of economic insecurity? 
Well, it took me some time before I actually heard this Promise correctly. It does not say or imply anything about us getting rich. What it essentially tells me is that I will not worry about material needs; that I will find contentment and not be driven by scarcity. I will have the opportunity to live from abundance and see that wealth is not measured in dollar signs. I will begin to value that which cannot be bought and realize the emptiness of the bottomless hole of material consumption.
At the same time I do not have to fear abundance or wealth. I can embrace it without attachment and without it defining me or my happiness. That, to me, is the Promise. I hope to get there someday and I am on my way. 
In December 2009, I submitted my resignation to a job I had for more than eight years. I had no ìactualî job lined up. Three years later I have a thriving business, a good reputation, and a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of men and all of those whose lives we touch.
It was a leap of faith that my wife and I took together, like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when they jump into the roiling Colorado river as they are being chased by the bounty hunters hired to kill them. We are keeping our heads above water and enjoying where the current is taking us. Hell, we often swim the backstroke.
Marianne Williamson beautifully made this point when she stated: ìYour deepest fear is not that you are inadequate; your deepest fear is that you are powerful beyond all measure.î 
What a gift when that fear leaves you. When you live in a world of service and abundance, knowing that you will always have what you need, there is almost nothing of which to be afraid.


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