Fear rules my life too often. I am working on this defect, but it still has quite a hold on me. On page 113 in “A Program for You: A Guide to the Big Book’s Design for Living” (Chapter 14 – Outgrowing Fear), it states, “First, if you want some peace of mind, some serenity, and some happiness, you’re going to have to change. Second, the one and only thing that prevents you, or anyone else, from changing, is fear.”
While “A Program for You” is not conference-approved, it has been an invaluable help to me in understanding the Big Book. It is basically a commentary on working the steps through the Big Book and also a virtual transcription of the Joe and Charlie Big Book workshop.
I’m working on my 4th Step and just got to the Fear sheet. Though I listed a bunch of stuff (spiders come to mind), eventually, I just wrote “Everything.” I truly am afraid of everything at times. Change, stagnation, death, life, pain, something happening to people I love, not having enough, getting what I want, not getting what I want. The list is endless.
So, maybe it doesn’t matter what the heck I’m afraid of, maybe it’s just my body’s automatic reaction to … well … anything other than stasis.
Lately, life has been in a routine, a lovely routine. I do the same thing every day and enjoy my days. Though I am dizzy and ill, I have found comfort in that sameness of my routine, writing the blog and drawing, working my recovery program, meditating, watching my news shows with my husband, taking my dog to the dog park, etc. It feels like a relief, not scary at all.
But when my mind goes to the idea that all things change, and one day, I may be left alone without my dog and husband or I may be the one gone first, I get frightened.
Now, what changed? Why do I ruin a perfectly good day with fear?
Sometimes, I can bore into it and through it. For instance, today, I am getting an MRI of my lower back due to pain in my leg. And I am not feeling fear. Oh, yes, I can work myself up into a tizzy in no time … if I choose to do so. When I found myself starting to do this, I stopped and brought myself back into this moment.
At this moment, all is well, as well as it can be within the confines of my world. I am sitting here writing the blog. I am not getting the MRI at this moment. It is sunny and cool outside. My husband and dog and step-daughter and son are well.
And so I relax into this moment and let go of the fear.
It takes practice and I’m not always successful. But I keep trying, for a few reasons:
- When I get scared, my adrenaline starts to pump, which makes me much dizzier.
- Time will pass whether or not I live in fear about death. The Serenity prayer says that I am to accept the things I cannot change. Death is a thing I cannot change. Time passing is a thing I cannot change (though I can choose to spend it wisely). Acceptance is one of the opposites of fear for me. Acceptance has a relaxing down quality to it and fear goes up up up, escalating.
- Being in the present moment just feels better … at least when the present moment is pleasant. But even when it isn’t, I can bear discomfort for just this one moment and then the next, etc., knowing that all things pass.
Fear and resentment go hand-in-hand for me. Both are in my mind. Resentment is about reliving a past event and fear is usually about the future for me, though I can certainly work myself up reliving a fearful event. For instance, just the other day, my son told me about going to a music festival and being in the front of a huge crowd, where he was nearly squashed to death (his words) against the metal railing. He is absolutely fine, but when I think about it, oh yes, does fear surge up for me! So why relive it in my mind at all?
For today, I’m going to consciously practice what I’m preaching here. 🙂 Just as I don’t romance spending anymore, instead choosing to move my mind to something else when the though first enters, when fear blankets me, I will come out from under the covers by reminding myself that all is well in this moment and bringing myself back to the present.