Fear is an instinct, not a character defect. It seems to be a part of the human condition package everyone gets at birth consisting of sex, security, society and the search for spirituality or meaning of life. Our primal fears make sense, sort of, they are: fear of starving, fear of freezing, and fear of being eaten. The chances of any of this happening today are pretty slim although possible.
The 12 Steps helped to uncover some of my other basic driving fears; fears that rule my life. When I am in fear I cannot be any further into myself. What I uncovered in the recovery process is the fear that I am not enough. It became a self-fulfilling prophesy. I gathered evidence for this lie in every area of my life.
In Step Four of the 12 Steps I was asked to write down my fears whether or not they had any resentment connected to them. This uncovered the direction my thinking was pointing. I was afraid of everything from big dogs to tall buildings. I was afraid of success; I was afraid of failure. I spent all my waking hours planting fear. It wasn’t hard to imagine the harvest of this planting—victimhood and resentment. I hated everyone for all the things I had done to you. My fear made me act badly. I resented you because you were going to find me out. It became very apparent that resentment is the noise that fear makes in my head. Now I have a red flag. When I am disturbed, there stands fear every time. I might as well have FEAR tattooed on my forehead. Agitation and doubt are the same flags; they mean fear is back and the first thing I need to do is not react.
When I find something wrong with you; it’s fear. Restraint, wait, don’t say it because my first thought is usually wrong. My fear thinks everything is an emergency. It does not know the difference between a hydrochloric acid spill and an emotional spill; the first responder team shows up and takes over regardless of the severity. It does not ask permission, it just takes over. This can work well for the acid spill but not so well for the emotional breakdown. Creating a space is critical. I need to cordon off the area and evaluate the situation.
Like everything worthwhile, this takes time, persistence and practice. I’m grateful that with the help of the 12 Steps this negative process can be pointed in another direction. My raging Mr. Hyde can be stilled. It is possible to stand on this earth without fear.