Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My Fearful Mind (A Recovery Share)

I'm a pretty fear-based critter. I think all humans are but we alkies raise it to an art form. Basically I have two fears:

1. a fear of losing something I already have

2. a fear of not getting something I want.

These two fears have corollaries in the two things an alcoholic like me really hates:

1. I really hate the way things are.

2. I really hate change.

Yes, I know that sounds insane. Now you have an inkling of how my alcoholic mind works and you also have an inkling of the kinds of things you're likely to hear at a 12-Step meeting. You see, I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Actually, if you DO think this way then perhaps you need to give some serious thought to putting down the bottle (cocaine, food, sex, credit cards, deck of cards) for a second and trotting yourself off to a meeting somewhere. Look in the phone book. All the 12-Step groups are in there. Just call up and ask 'em for the next meeting. They'll be happy to help you. And trust me, you do need help.

Anyway, I bring this up because shopping for real estate and, more importantly, having to ask people and institutions to lend me vast sums of money brings up a lot of fear for me. I fear rejection. I fear being mocked. I fear not being able to fulfill my obligation. I fear not doing the whole thing perfectly (asking all the right questions, getting all the right answers). I fear doing it successfully. I fear doing it poorly. I fear being happy. I fear being miserable. I fear feeling entitled to having the great big fat happy life that God probably wants me to have. I fear actually having the great big fat happy life that God does intend for me to have.

I'm always content with less, to say to myself "Who are you to want more? What makes you think you're entitled to that?" I settle for what I get. I don't reach for the brass ring because I might fall off the horse and embarrass myself or get hurt. If I don't try then I can't fail. It's a perfect solution to life's little problems. Avoid them. Avoid life. Hide out. Hole up. Isolate. Above all, appear independent and stolid at all times. Don't ever be needy. Be critical of those who are.

This is face of full-blown alcoholism as it works it's way into the litter-box that poses as my brain (and which requires frequent emptying).

Left to my own devices, and without the aid of a 12-Step program and a support group and a sponsor, this is how my mind would automatically operate. I know what my defaults are now because I've actually DONE the 12-Steps (well, mostly) of my program. I've examined my life, inside and out, and come to realize just how beady my sick little mind can be at times.

More importantly, I've learned what I have to do to "short-circuit" this kind of thinking.

All I have to do is simply walk through the fear. Rather than retreating (default mode) I step forward. And the darkness around me disappears. There is nothing there to fear. People will not mock me. They will not say "no." I can have the big fat happy life that I am entitled to have.

So just for today I'm going to ignore my fear of not getting what I want and I'm going to dispel my hatred of change. And I'm going to reach out for that brass ring as far as I'd like because God, my loving parent, is standing on the other side of that carousel horse with his arms firmly clasped around my waist.

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