I was speaking with someone the other day who said to me, "You don't have much fear do you?"
My response was that no, I no longer have a lot of fear. I'm not speaking to the kinds of fear that keep us from touching a hot stove. I'm speaking to the kinds of fear that limit us. I'm sure you are familiar with them. The ones that say "I'm not doing THAT!" or "I'm not going THERE!" Even though a part of you is nudging and saying, "YES....DO THAT! YES....GO THERE!"
When I first began this new way of life in recovery, I was literally afraid of everything. Almost paralyzed with fear. I couldn't drive, couldn't hold down a job, couldn't carry on a conversation with people. Hugs were threats, and life was one big "I can't."
I didn't like that limitation, and some part of me knew it was self imposed, but at the time I didn't know how to move beyond that kind of fear.
Geneen Roth speaks to this fear, and its antidote, when she says, "Compulsion is a state of isolation, one that includes self-absorption, invulnerability, low self-esteem, unpredictability and fear that if we faced our pain, it would destroy us. Love expands, compulsion diminishes."
I didn't know that love expanded and compulsion diminished when I got into recovery. What I did know was that with each step I worked, more of my fear went away.
And I did not know at the time that both Ernest Holmes and much of 12 step literature promises that fear will go away.
Holmes says that "perfect love casts out fear and joy transmutes sadness into song." He also says, "all power is from within, and as the deep within is awakened, weakness, fear and failure disappear."
He also says that what we are really afraid of is social and economic insecurity, and in the textbook of Alcoholics Anonymous, it promises us that after working steps 1-10 that "fear of economic insecurity will leave us."
Every day I get more and more evidence that working these steps is the most powerful way I know of to release our fears.