What do you fear? What tools do you use to let go of, move through, and live with fear?
Barb joins me to talk about fear. We had scheduled this conversation before the Corona Virus pandemic was declared, but it seems so appropriate now. We roughly followed this outline.
- What fears did you have before you came into a recovery program?
- Fear of success
- Fear of failure
- Fear of being uncomfortable while afraid
- Fear of authority figures (both real and perceived)
- Fear of angry people. (both angry in the moment but also “explosive”)
- Fear of disapproval
- Fear of others’ discomfort
- Fear of not being valued
- Fear of might be
- How did these fears manifest in you?
- In your actions or inactions?
- In your feelings?
- In your mood?
- Panic attacks.
- Don’t ask for needs. Don’t ask for help.
- How did you deal with your fears then?
- What has changed in recovery?
- How do you understand fear?
- What fears do you have now?
- Are they more “realistic”? More specific? More actionable?
- How do you “deal with” fear now?
Readings and Links
Barb read from Strengthening My Recovery: Meditations for Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families, June 11. Pg. 169: Fear; and The Language of Letting Go, by Melodie Beattie (author of Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency: Jan. 10, pg. 10: Fear.
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2 comments on “Fear – 327”
Fear — 327 brought back some powerful memories and I’d like to use this venue to sort through them. Many years ago, my husband fell off the roof and had to be rushed to the hospital. I was cool as a cucumber. I stayed calm throughout, comforted him, and made sure the hospital staff were taking good care of him at all times. One afternoon in the hospital the TV was blaring as usual and some news program was replaying a 911 call where the woman who called was so hysterical the dispatcher was having trouble figuring out what the problem was. I suddenly realized that’s exactly the way I was feeling inside my calm exterior. After my husband began to recover, I shared my brilliant insight from that moment: If he would promise to never go on the roof again, I could stop feeling that sense of panic inside. I was stunned when my husband refused my request. Not only was I drowning in anxiety and fear that refused to abate, now I had to re-evaluate my expectations of what our marriage meant.
I sought the help of a therapist and stunned us both when I announced that the fear I was feeling had nothing to do with my husband’s fall: It was leftover from the 14 years we had lived in a town where my husband, daughter, and I were consistently persecuted and abused by our neighbors. That’s a whole nother long story I don’t need to go into now. That moment in the therapist’s office was when I started to learn about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Lots more years later, I have discovered Al-Anon and just finished working the Twelve Steps with a sponsor. I have learned that naming my fear, as I did in that moment in the therapist’s office, can defuse the fear’s power. I’ve learned to welcome fears as important messengers. I listen to what they have to tell me, then hand them over to my Higher Power to manage. I’m also learning that, for me at least, fear is almost always a warning that I’m feeling responsible for something I cannot control. The serenity prayer is so helpful here. Am I trying to control something that I should be accepting? Am I accepting something that I should be taking responsibility for? Do I trust my Higher Power to help me answer those questions?
I’m still a very fearful person, with lots of physical problems related to anxiety. On the other hand, I now know what serenity feels like and I have the tools to find my way back to it when I stray. Fear is still a big part of my life, but it’s not nearly as scary as it used to be.
Thanks for this program. It’s been a great help to me.
Just listened to this podcast and wow does it fit my life right now. I am about to end a 30 year marriage to an alcoholic and I am full fear ( yes the living in my car has crossed my mind) Thank you for the words of wisdom and I think I be listening to this broadcast many times as I work through the fear and not allow it to control my behavior anymore.
Thank you for what you do