From time to time, I go to the well spring (well, at least the earthly well spring) of AA for inspiration. One of my favorite places to seek this inspiration is "The Language of the Heart." For those who are unfamiliar with this book, it is the collection of writings Bill W. produced for the Grapevine. There's nothing like getting the program straight from HP via Bill W.
"As the AA Book says,"Fear is an evil, corroding thread; the fabric of our lives is shot through with it." Fear is certainly a bar to reason, and to love, and of course it invariably powers anger, vainglory and aggression. It underlies maudlin guilt and paralyzing depression." I love Bill's take on this... "For all its usual destructiveness, we have found that fear can be the starting point for better things. Fear can be a stepping-stone to prudence and to a decent respect for others." and so forth. I would never have thought much about the positive effects of fear, were it not for this writing. Each time I have done an inventory, or a 4th Step, I have determined that fear was at the root of all my difficulties, failed relationships, resentments. It took some deep digging, some brutal honesty and some pain before I was finally able to discover and even admit this in recovery. But for me, it's the truth. Fear really is at the beginning of it all.
Having said all that, presented with this fact about myself, Bill's words ring in my mind... I don't have to have only negative effects from my fears. Hell, fear and it's effects on my life drove me to seek relief in the rooms of AA. Fear has driven me time and time again to make changes in my life that were necessary to keep me sober, to create peace of mind and even to finally, let go of my way of doing things, and embrace a HP and the program of AA. (Its one thing to come to AA and an entirely different matter to come here, get honest and do what's necessary to recover.)
Bill goes on to say... "Therefore, the problem of resolving fear has two aspects. We shall have to try for all the freedom from fear that is possible for us to attain." This was (and still can be) my typical approach especially in early recovery, except that I twist(ed) it into something resembling a game of hide and seek from the things that might stir fear, rather than take constructive steps to actually avoid fearful circumstances or situation. "Then we shall need to find both the courage and the grace to deal constructively with whatever fears remain." Ahh, the "grown-up" way of handling life! Imagine coming out of the drunken, addicted stupor as an adult with the social and emotional skills/tools of a teen... It's not hard to imagine, because that's exactly what happened to me, and to most AA's.
"This is exactly why we of AA place such an emphasis on the need for faith in a higher power, define that as we may. We have to find a life in the world of grace and spirit, and this is certainly a new dimension for most of us. Our conscious entry into it usually begins as soon as we have deeply confessed our personal powerlessness to go on alone, and have made our appeal to whatever God we think there is-- or may be. The gift of faith and the consciousness of a higher power is the outcome. As faith grows, so does inner security. The vast underlying fear of nothingness commences to subside. Therefore, we of AA find that our basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening."
Bill has said this better than I ever could. All I know is, when I focus on my relationship with God and those around me and attempt to "fit ourselves (myself) to be of maximum service to God and those about us (me)... " Big Book p 77 (Step 7) I am relieved of most fears that trouble me. Furthermore, I have learned through experiences in recovery that fear can be a healthy feature of a well adjusted person. As my life goes today, I have some fears about my new business escapade. Those fears are helping me to be more prudent, reflective and consultative with my decision making with regard to what I spend and how I start things up. To me, this is the right place for fear in my life. Fear turns more to respect for potential difficulties, rather than that crippling, debilitating, gnawing, gut wrenching (should I stop here?) fear that keeps us awake nites, and makes us exhausted during the day.
I love this particular writing.... You can find it in "The Language of the Heart" pp 265-269. It was published in the January 1962 Grapevine. Good stuff, I sure feel better now!