Thoughts on Recovery – No. 40 – Step 4 – Fear – The Water I Swam In
The next several thoughts will look at the second manifestation of self, fear , which we inventory in step 4. The instructions are on pages 67-8. They point out that fear is bracketed alongside all the resentment examples on page 65. For me all my resentments were triggered by self centered fear. When I looked at my conduct inventory the actions I took that harmed others were almost always triggered by fear. I didn’t realize that my whole existence had been dominated by fear. It was the water I swam in. I always had uneasiness, an underlying feeling that something was not right or missing. I now know that was self centered fear.
As described in the big book this short word touched every aspect of my life. The analogy they use is that it is an evil and corroding thread. The fabric of my existence was shot through with it. What this means if my life was a tapestry on the wall it would have been a beautiful one. Unfortunately my self centered fear destroyed it. The beauty of recovery is that I can recreate a new tapestry and I have tools to use so that fear won’t destroy it.
The next point made is that fear set in motion trains of circumstances which brought me misfortune. I couldn’t see that until I worked the steps and did inventory. Fear stole from me so much. I still remember the first time I read page 68 the first full paragraph. They asked the question why we had fear. The next line hit me like a ton of bricks. Self reliance failed me . Absolutely. I could see how the statement on page 61 defined my life. I was a victim of the delusion that I could wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if I could only manage well. Having the wrong manager,me, produced constant fear. I can see now why on page 63 the decision to no longer play God is the beginning of my losing fear of today, tomorrow, or the hereafter. It says we are reborn. I am reborn to a world where I can depend and rely on God. I no longer have to be dominated by fear. It may be the biggest gift I have received from working the steps. It is in my opinion the result of a relationship with my creator through which God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself. The next thought will be on how we outgrow fear.
Dr. fear is my default approach to everything. I believe it does lead to anger. The longer I’ve prayed to remove anger during my early time in recovery,and prayed to forgive those people and principles I resent and inventory, the fewer barriers to a conscious contact with God I experience. What a relief, even in these initial months.