Most alcoholics and addicts live in a constant state of fear and turmoil. Quenching those fears with alcohol and drugs turns out to be a dangerous solution. These feelings of impending doom can occur for a number of reasons that vary from the inability to stop drinking to losing everything and ending up pushing a shopping cart. For many, those fears become a reality. Real alcoholics, left to their own devices and given a sufficient reason, cannot stop drinking on their own. But finding a strong support group and a set of tools, recovery is possible.
Early in the recovery period for almost every recovering alcoholic and addict, nearly every step forward is riddled with fear. There is fear of living sober, fear of working, fear of humiliation, fear of being alone, fear of walking into a new meeting. The Big Book of Alcoholics describes fear as “an evil and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence is shot through with it. It causes more trouble than stealing.” Fear has to be dealt with properly in recovery, or it can guide all actions and choices and lead the person down the road of misery once again. By using the program and the wisdom of people who have been in the same situations, recovering alcoholics and addicts can actually take fear and panic out of the driver’s seat and live a far more comfortable life.
In my case, I was born on tactical alert. After being sober for a few years, I realized that fear had been running my life since I was a kid. By coming to Alcoholics Anonymous, I was introduced to the 12 steps, service commitments and a strong supportive fellowship. I now have the tools to keep the bogeyman away. I have been humbled enough to tell people when I am afraid. I have people I trust enough to talk me down from the “fear tree” when I am in a twirl.