Dealing with Fear

I would like to share how the program has given me the gift of lowering the volume of my fears. I cannot say that they are totally gone, but today I can live with them. I used to wake up in the morning with a feeling of dread when facing the day. The day scared me: the responsibilities, the fear of disappointing, the fear of surprises. When the night would arrive I would start calming down. I would push off bedtime because I knew that once I fell asleep, I would wake up and the whole process will begin again. Before the program, porn and masturbation would help me cope with this. Once I gave that up, I felt every bit of fear and it was killing me. Today it doesn’t.

I am so grateful to the program for teaching me how to bring in my Higher Power, whom I call God. When doing Step 4 with my sponsor, I didn’t have a very long list of resentments. Now came the time to put down my fear list. I started writing. I stopped when I reached number 57.

My sponsor told me that a fear is either not getting something I want, or losing something I have. I definitely saw how these fears were a constant in my life and how they dictated my every move. These fears were caused by self-reliance failing me. I then wrote down what this fear would look like if I relied on God. Well, obviously I would be a lot calmer as my Higher Power could do a much better job than I could. Intellectually I understood this. I said the prayer asking God to remove my fears and direct my attention to what He would have me be, and then focus on the next right action.

I did the actions. I meant them. I would feel slight relief, but the fear would come back very strong. There was one particular week which had a lot of projects, deadlines and complicated tasks. Then came a morning where the dread was too difficult to bear. I didn’t know what to do. The problems at work were resolved but I was still left with the anxiety. I called and shared. A program member suggested I see a doctor and take medication to calm myself. That scared me. I put on an audiobook of the Alcoholics Anonymous in the Personal Stories section. The story was not one I was familiar with. It was called “The Fearful One.” (I had the 1st edition. I did a bit of research afterwards and found out the title was updated and reprinted in the later editions under the title “The Man Who Mastered Fear.”) He wrote:

“Suddenly in this maelstrom I grasped at a straw. Maybe God would help me—just maybe, mind you. I was willing to give Him a chance, but with considerable doubt. I got down on my knees—something I hadn’t done in thirty years. I asked Him if He would let me hand over all these fears and this panic to Him. I lay down on the bed and went to sleep like a baby” (AA, First Edition, 335).

I was now desperate. I couldn’t live with this fear any more. I got down on my knees (something I also didn’t really do until then) and told God that I couldn’t live like this anymore. It was too difficult. I was powerless over my fears and I needed His help. I will tell you that the rest of the day was calm. The next day started with dread and I prayed again on my knees, giving my fear to God. It took some time but I started feeling better. Today, I scarcely have the dread in the morning. On the occasion that I do, I go down on my knees and ask God to remove my fears.

A friend in the program gave a very good analogy of receiving letter post that isn’t addressed to me. That is what I do with my thoughts when these fears and worries come to me during the day. Most are “posts” that are not addressed to me. They are addressed to God. He can deal with them, I cannot. I am no longer my Higher Power.

I am managing to go through the day with a lot more freedom. I am learning to live with a day that wasn’t how I planned it that morning. I am learning to trust my Higher Power thanks to SA.

Dovi S.

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