Fear and Its Friends

The Big Book tells us we were “driven by a hundred forms of fear”. (p.62).  In sobriety I have learned that true, primal fear (e.g. being eaten by a predator) was never the problem.  It was the other 99 forms of fear (which often tried to impersonate virtues like caution, diligence, and preparedness) that caused all kinds of trouble.  After I got to AA and started working the Steps, I realized how much fear I had carried.  Before I understood what fear was, I experienced it as other states – anger, self-righteousness, vengeance, detachment, distance and many others.  I actually believed that I was quite brave, but not in a courageous way.  It was more like toughness, but even more precisely, it was bravado.  I was like an aggressive dog that takes advantage  of anyone who is easily intimidated.  More important than the fact that I had these fears and was unaware of them, was the reality of what they did to me and those around me.  I often could not have a discussion without starting to argue, even over the simplest of things.  I developed a chronic paranoia that others were listening to me, out to cause me problems and wanted to expose me.  Love was out of the question.  Everybody was in it for themselves and I refused to be taken advantage of.  Everybody was a suspect in my world.  Every kind act a potential con.  Looking back, I find it funny that when I first heard the Ninth Step Promises, I said to myself, “what fear of people?”  I honestly had no idea what these words meant.  I am still learning about fear and still not always aware that I have it.  Sometimes I am very afraid of the future, even though there is no reason for it.  It is all the “what ifs” that I conjure up while I am “thinking” or “planning.”  This habitual worry is a deeply ingrained character defect.  As much unnecessary suffering as it causes me, I know I am not entirely willing to let it go.  There is a vague sense that if I stop projecting and preparing, nobody else will take the wheel, I won’t see a curve in the road coming, and I will crash.  Thus, a fear of being fearless.  It may never end.  See, there I go again.  And again!

Photo by AinV
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12 thoughts on “Fear and Its Friends

  1. The education I got on fear when I finally walked in was a godsend. Not asking questions when questions begged asking…the fear of looking foolish. Ditching a girl after a few dates…the fear of being rejected. Saying yes to things to which only no was an answer…the fear of what others thought of me. Lying, lying, lying…the fear of being found out. And on and on and on. Alcohol solved the fear problem, but the side effects were hellish!

    Fear still has its way with me far too often, but now, I know what it is. I’ve made progress on being me, but it still seems risky. Think I’ll keep coming back.

  2. As soon as he begins to be more objective, the newcomer can fearlessly, rather than fearfully, look at his own defects.(pg46 12×12)
    I go back and forth with fear-and I can measure how spiritually fit I am, by how fearful I become in certain situations. Today I trust in God’s plan for me. I no longer question my motives. I am not fear based-but rather fearless!! Thank you God for AA and all of you-(and my newfound MTV format-if it becomes too much, please say-I will refrain. Although it has renewed my passion for my first love-MUSIC. And, I’ve picked up my guitar quite a few times this past week!! Thank you ZUZU!! And Anthony!! Hugs n Love)-SMB

  3. Thank you Zuzu and Oggy for this web site. I especially like this share. I understood from the share, that my judgement and silent sarcasm is linked to fear and i need to contnue to ask my hp God to do thy will and take my difficulties away. Thnks again, bless on line aa family

  4. Self-centered fear has been a bugaboo seemingly for my whole life. Quite often it appears to have dominated me.
    I was terrorized by its presence yet as was most often the case I silently endured and never sought the sensible solution of sharing intimately with others and benefiting by knowing I was not alone.
    Then by immeasurable and unexpected good fortune springing from a sense of desperation, a mysterious group of anonymous people helped me find a solution.

    However spiritually fit I am is quickly calculated by how tightly the garments of this world feel on my heart and soul.

    I am thankful for the abiding sense of faith that all is well.
    All will be well. 🙂

    I’m Harry, grateful alcoholic. – Georgia, USA.

  5. My fear filled friend messaged me a day or so later, the one who dodged me in the store. She shared that wasn’t ready and had just been hurt by another man. We graduated together and had class together and always got along well but in our senior year she was with an older man, in fact he was my neighbor. Some things just aren’t meant to be but I’m still hurt by her behavior and I don’t play games any more with people’s lives or feelings. I don’t pretend to be anything I’m not anymore and struggle with others pretentious behavior and will let her know how I feel. I have too many friends today and don’t need any drama any more. All my problems are with people.I’ve hurt them and they’ve hurt me and it’s not easy becoming a person among people again. I judge those who judge me and so forth but if I’m forthright and honest I shouldn’t have many more problems than the ones I had already created. Quite honestly I’m still cleaning up my side of the street and it’s gonna take some time to get things in order because I used to be a very visible social butterfly and destroyed the faith in me by many. I can do it though with the use of this program. I do love people and need people for so many things and don’t like isolating due to fear of others judgements against me.For the ones whom I’ve made amends with It’s their problem now and i pray for them.I will continue cleaning up my side of the street. I am blessed with another day sober and it’s a privilege to serve others but couldn’t have got this far without all of you and still need help but only ask for guidance. More to be revealed! Peace!

  6. Having. been in AA a while I can claim to understand the ‘fear formula’. The simple idea is to place your heart mind and soul in the hands of your HP. Simple, right. Well, I sit here and think of how I am currently letting fear dictate my reactions to things both personal and professional. What the…? Today’s discussion is exactly what I needed to read and share about so I can remind myself that fear is lack of faithfulness and if I had no faith I’d have no sobriety..period. Today’s share gives me the right sizing that I needed today. Of course. Thanks to all that keep this site going!

  7. Fear, not resentment is my number one offender. For years the two emotions
    that drove my life were fear, followed by anger. the fear also generate a pathological level of dishonesty in me. My medicine of choice for all of this was of course alcohol. It took a couple of years, but the steps, my sponsor and his cronies working with me finally freed me from that fear. Today I know that fear WAS not, IS not the problem, my REACTION to fear is.
    Fear is a God given attribute meant to keep me safe in a not so safe world.
    And no despite what the Big Book says there is not 100 different forms of fear…only one. However I can easily if I were so inclined generate 100 no make that 1000 false scenarios that can trigger fear which in the past I have always run with. I am reminded of my favorite Mark Twain Quote, “I have known many troubles in my life. Most of them never happened.”
    If anger(resentment) and fear are the problem then so are love, joy, compassion, and serenity, because they too are emotions.
    However My emotions the good, the bad, and the ugly never were and never are the problem…I am.
    Soap Box vacated.

  8. Good morning cyber group. Thank you to all for your daily shares and the foundation of this group. Just checking in letting you know I am here every day. I start my day with your ES&H. Thanks Paul for the quote. One thing I have been working on is the realization that 98% of my fears and worry are for not. It truly takes practice and the foundation of AA to work this out. Have a fabulous Sun a on my way to The Unity Center to listen to our Minister talk about the seven deadly fears. this is we four of six. As usual impeccable timing.
    Namaste
    Kellie in San Diego

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