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Sep 15

fear…

“This short word somehow touches about every aspect of our lives.  It was an evil and corroding thread;  the fabric of our existence was shot through with it.  It set in motion trains of circumstance which brought us misfortune we felt we didn’t deserve.  But did not we, ourselves, set the ball rolling?  Sometimes we think fear ought to be classes with stealing.  It seems to cause more trouble.”  AA BB p. 67-68

the topics of the meeting tonight were fear and utter defeat…i began thinking back to 1994, before i had come into the rooms…i was virtually unemployable…i had pretty much worked everywhere in the town i had lived in…so, i became somewhat homeless, by choice…i didn’t want to live at home…i wanted the freedom to avoid personal responsiblity and didn’t want to have to account to anyone…i slept outside and in cars a few times, roaming the streets…but, mostly i surfed couches…that quickly lead to me ruining many relationships with friends…some of whom i’ve never been able to mend relations with…i used copious amounts of drugs and alcohol…i ate very little…i stank because i never showered…i stole, cheated and lied to get away with it…i lived to get high…the dope and booze dictated my every move…in the pursuit of the continuing high, i committed a crime with a few of my running buddies

after the drugs and alcohol ran out, i was left with this impending feeling of doom…i experienced that paralyzing fear it talks about in the literature, gripping me…i continued to use as much as i could, to shroud the fear, but it rarely worked…this went on for a week, running as far as i could from the unavoidable problem…then, finally i was arrested…the first sense of real ease and comfort came upon me…i was actually relieved to be caught…the realization came upon me that i would never had committed this crime, had i been sober and in my right me…it was an amazing revelation for me, and probably the first time i had attempted to be rigorously honest with myself…i was ready to accept whatever consequences faced me…i was probably the most comfortable person in that jail…i knew i belonged there, and it was the safest place for me, to be locked away

i really dodged a bullet when my conviction came around…i was able to cop a plea agreement, and was sentenced to 10 years probation, instead of 15 years in prison…some of those years were spent in sobriety, some of them returning to active addiciton/alcoholism…i even faced revocation, at one point, but was able to pull it together for the remainder of my probation term…it wasn’t but two weeks after my completion of probation that i began drinking again…three years went by as i drank more and more heavily, trying my best to avoid the invevitable…eventually the life i had managed to build over those years became unbearably impossible…the old familiar fear began to creep in and invade my life once again…i was scared to lose everything i had worked for…my wife, my daughter, the nicest home i had ever lived in, the car, and more importantly, my self-respect…i was beaten once again

but, i didn’t really want to stop…i came back to the rooms, reluctantly…i didn’t know what else i could do to salvage the wreckage i had caused…i had my doubts i would even succeed this time…but, the fear of losing everything was so great. i figured i better at least try…so, i acted as if it were going to work…i trudged through the step work…then, at 2 months sobriety, i lost everything anyway…my wife of six and half years asked for seperation, and ultimately divorce…panic had stricken me…i didn’t know where i was going to live…i was afraid for my 4 year-old daughter, and how she would cope with the loss…i hadn’t a clue how i was going to manage without a family…she took the car…the furniture…my whole world crumbled around me, slowly over the next few months

i never would have made it through that time without building a relationship with God, and the Fellowship of the program…He was with me when i cried out for help and asked for the obsession, fear, and anger to be removed…my friends in the program listened to me cry, bitch, and moan when i was hurting…my sponsor and other mentors walked me through the tough decisions that had to be made and supported me as i searched for the right answers…i fulfilled the lease agreement in the luxurious townhome we had lived…because i couldn’t afford the rent, i moved into a smaller 2 bedroom apartment, where my daughter could visit me every weekend…my ex-wife and i came to agreements in the divorce settlement, and i am fortunate she only asked for what was fair…we actually have a much better relationship today than we ever had before

my fears had in fact come true, but not in the sense i had expected…fear is really merely a manifestation of selfishness…i was so concerned about myself initially, i couldn’t see the other side of the coin…i had to put her shoes on my feet, and walk through what my ex-wife had dealt with over the past 3 years…she must have gone on as long as she could, and just couldn’t handle it any more…can i blame her?…things have gone smoother than anything i could have planned…my daughter has adjusted well, and my life is infinitely greater than anything i could have imagined…that selfish concern for myself quickly turned to concern for my daughter…and i did my best (along with my ex-wife’s help) to make that life transition as easy as i could for her…i’m so grateful she never saw us fighting, or remembers Daddy’s drunken episodes

just because i stopped drinking and drugging doesn’t mean fear, anger, and depression can’t still sink into my life today…working the steps of the program and remaining open and honest with others about my life is how i cope with those feelings…i pray to my Higher Power, and he provides the tools i use to cope with calamity…they may come in the form of an understanding friend, a loving family member or spouse, or sometimes a total stranger…i remember sitting in a meeting in Galveston, Texas the day after my ex-wife asked me to leave…i had spent most of the day on the phone, pleading with her to change her mind, to no avail…i wailed to my sponsor and sponsor’s sponsor on the phone, on my way to the group…i sat in a chair against the wall, my head in my hands, shaking, crying, miserable…a lady approached me and sat down next to me, held me, and pulled a piece of paper out from her Big Book…she read a prayer to me, and then asked me to recite it…it was a forgiveness prayer, asking God to help me accept my current situation and bless the person whom i thought had offended me…then she held me as i cried and hurt in her arms…i will never forget that moment…she was there when i needed her…in the right place at the right time, and just so happened to have something valuable to pass on to another still suffering drunk and addict…God finds ways to love us when we no longer can love for ourselves