It’s Tuesday and this is the one day of the week when I am at home alone*. There are endless jobs to be done, so there is very little reason to be idle, but idle is my default mode; energy-saving is my specialty. So when I am home alone it is easy for me to wander, idly, into my own thoughts, a place best visited in pairs, if at all.
The reason; fear lives here.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not a particularly angst-ridden soul, in fact you would probably be hard-pushed to detect any fear in me if we were to meet, but it’s there all the time. Every action, every thought and every sinew of my body is tinged with fear and self-doubt, and I don’t think that I am alone.
Just today I was party to a conversation about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and the little sheet that they hand out to newcomers. Having accessed this therapy myself, I remember the information well. So did several of my other friends in the group chat; all of them recovering alcoholics. I struggle to accept this as pure coincidence and I can only assume that there is a quality to the alcoholics’ thoughts that is shared across the globe and that quality is first-class fear and self-doubt.
The beauty of my 12 step programme is that it draws out all of that fear into the open and allows me to wander intently into my thoughts, in pairs. The thing is with fear and self-doubt, once they are exposed to the light of day, once someone else has made you talk about them out loud, puff, they disappear! For the last month I have been at my most content; more content than I have ever been in my life. Those fears have been exposed as a sham, easily tackled with the right approach and with the help and support of others. Yet, whilst the 12 step programme is, for me, the perfect medicine, it is not a cure.
To be free from fear everyday requires work. It means that I have to keep pairing up** and taking a wander around my thoughts and actions and tackle fear and self-doubt head on, again and again. It means that I have to have a safe space to voice those fears and expose them to the light of day***. It means that time alone has to have purpose; today I find purpose in writing, taking care of my family, visiting friends and doing those chores that have built up throughout my drinking years.
The 12 step programme has to become a way of life if it is to be truly effective and that is what I am working on today. Making that happen takes commitment and requires me to pair up with others to face their fears with them**** (it’s only fair), because I am getting really good at finding fear and self-doubt and kicking its’ ass. It’s a lot of work and not for the faint-of-heart.
Is it easy? Most certainly not.
Is it worth it? My God, yes.
*With dog. **Get a sponsor. ***Get a home group. ****Do service.