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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Recognizing (Self Centered) Fear in its unflattering forms! It's not pretty!

In order to benefit from the vast pool of wisdom that is available to you in AA, and therefore learn the MOST you can about recovery, YOU NEED TO LEARN TO IDENTIFY WHO HAS SUCCEEDED IN KEEPING MAJOR SYMPTOMS OF THIS KILLER ILLNESS (such as Self Centered Fear) IN REMISSION, AND TO WHAT EXTENT. A little? A lot? (Self Centered) Fear is a SYMPTOM of alcoholism, which is a nasty, degrading, humiliating, killer illness. It's is a MASSIVE chunk of this illness. So its WELL worth learning to recognize.

For me I see (Self Centered) Fear as characterized mainly by an NEUROTIC, INTENSE, ENERGISED state. It looks 'jumpy'. The more twitchy and energized a person looks, the more I assume (Self Centered) Fear is eating them up inside, and the more unchecked their belief is, that everyone is out to get them!

More dramatic manifestations:
Neurotic. Panic Attacks. Agoraphobia. Obsessive compulsive disorder. Superstitious. Nightmares. Disturbed sleep. Insomnia. Early morning insomnia.
'The horrors'. Meaning you 'see' horrific trains of events played out in your mind (like a video) during the day. For example getting on the train and graphically imagining a bomb going off under your seat.

Less dramatic, (but equally unpleasant) manifestations:
Worry. Circular thinking. 'Busy' head. Doom and gloom. Pessimism. Anticipating disaster. Living emotionally in the future. Fragmented scattered mind. Inability to concentrate. Mind wanders off constantly, AWAY from the present moment.

Wary of others. Wary of anything. Twitchy. Jumpy. Can't settle. Can't tolerate silences in conversation, so nervously fills in gaps. Fidgety. Biting nails. Nervously strumming fingers on desk. Nervous-ness. Biting lip. Looking around you and behind you. Afraid of the dark. Afraid of being mugged. Afraid of anything.

Intense. Uptight. Control freak. Addicted to strict regimes. Unable to tolerate any chaos, or leeway.

Shrill. Strained. Keyed up. Wired. Speedy. Brisk, dismissive, Restless. Animated. Talks too fast. Hamster in the wheel busyness. Running on nervous energy.

Starey eyes. Nervous smile. Permanent smile. Fixed grin. Fixed eye contact. Nervous laugh. Strained politeness. Phony. Fake. Ingratiating. Too 'nice'. Insincere. Insecure.
Spineless. Doormat. Martyr. Wimp. Pansies. Never disagrees with anyone.

Uncomfortable. NOT comfortable in their own skin. NOT wearing life like a loose garment. Not calm. Not easy going.

Persecution complex. CONVINCED everything that goes wrong is a deliberate attack on you. Defensiveness: You respond to others angrily on the assumption that their careless remark was DELIBERATE. Why? Because you think everyone is out to get you! When someone laughs, you are convinced they must have been laughing at you!

Absence of things. Such as: Not able to be in the present moment.

Ideally, Step 4 is where you get to identify where (Self Centered) Fear has poisoned your wellbeing, (in the form of resentment). And a list of phobic fears. But until then, you still stand to benefit from recognizing degrees of manifestation of (Self Centered) Fear both in yourselves and others. It will help you find the people who really have recovered from their (Self Centered) Fear. They are the people who can teach you how to remove your own. Not unfortunately, the people whose (Self Centered) Fear is still running the show.
(Self Centered) Fear is incredibly painful, so if you do learn how to reduce or diminish your own you will have a very valuable skill to offer 'the alcoholic who still suffers'.

We ALL have fearful tendencies. We will NEVER be perfectly free of it. But we CAN go to to ANY LENGTHS to not indulge our fearful behaviors or attitudes, or alternatively, to ACT AS IF we are full of FAITH. (but describing faith is a whole other story!) So there is always something we can do to improve our lot. The less your (Self Centered) Fear is running riot, the more peace of mind you will have! So there is a strong incentive to reduce our levels of (Self Centered) Fear to an ABSOLUTE MIMIMUM.

Fear does have its uses! But I prefer to use PRUDENCE, rather than unbridled terror to direct my actions throughout the day, and keep me safe!!!
Bill W describes Prudence as 'rational concern, without worry'.


Rainey said...

Dear Friend of Bill,
I get this! Thanking for posting your comments on this terrible dilemma. I suffer from self centered fear often and have been sober 18 years. You spelled it out simply for me. Thanks so much for validating my problem as being part of my disease!

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Thanks rainey, well I think we all suffer from self-centred fear. All I know is that the more I think about those and what I can do for them, the easier life gets. And the more I get very self concerned and very preoccupied with myself, the more lousy and uncomfortable life gets.
thanks for dropping by!

Anonymous said...

I lived with an alcoholic boyfriend for ten years and although we are no longer together, five yrs seperated now, my self centered fear still rules my life. I'm always compulsively worrying about things....dreading...convinced of the worst. I"m convinced i know what's going to happen all the time in my future and it's always horrendous.I CONVINCE myself of this until it becomes my reality. I haven't been to a meeting in a long time and i'm thinking of going once again. Unbelievable how alcoholism if untreated stays with you even if your no longer with the alcoholic. I know i'm still ill.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I definitely got this thing called self centered fear.

Here is what it can do to ya. Keep you from going to meetings, keep you from calling your sponsor because you just know what they are going to say, keep you couped up in the house most of the day which makes everything even worse.

LEAN INTO IT...thats what professional ski jumpers do when they go off the jump and they usually go far and rarely wreck on the landing.

I'm at 19 months sober and Im commiting to 90 in 90 no matter if people give me the "You are weird" look in meetings or if I bust down and cry for no reason. I definitely dont want to end up drinking hospitalized or dead.

Youd be surprised what working the coffee bar can do to help get you started in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

I don't get what the difference is between self centered fear and regular fear, they sound the same to me?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this. At 3 years sober my life is once again riddled with illogical fear. I can shake it for periods by attending meetings, working with my sponsee, etc. Amazing how this program always has a solution if I am willing to do the work!

Anonymous said...

Self centered fear is not easy recognized, though I have alot of the actions you described in your experience shared.. Didn't even recognize that self centered fear is what those actions are... I have lost my mom 2 & 1/2 months ago & believe my character defects seriously and frightenly have gotton worse even though things and positivity in aa I have learned..