Saturday, November 24, 2007

Courage is not a feeling.

The biggest character defect I carry is fear. When I tire of the fear, I turn it into anger because anger feels better, gives me a sense of control. When realization sets in telling me I have no control, I go to self pity. At self pity, I am presented with a choice. Go back into the arms of red wine, or become emotionally intimate with some one, telling that person whats going on inside of my head.

I am becoming fearful of telling people about my fear. I have felt deep gripping fear ever since I was a young child. Now that I'm in my early 50's I tell myself I should have outgrown these feelings. That to continuing to admit that I am still fearful would mean I am a failure and people would get tired of hearing about it, tiring of me.

I am going to feel fear of some degree for the rest of my life. I am never going to feel something called courage.

Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

Courage is action. Doing the right thing in spite of danger, difficulties or fear. Courage is doing what God would ask me to do, while feeling fearful. Fear causes me to take me will back. Courage allows me to do God's will.

On page 68 of the Big Book, where Bill W. talks about the fear inventory he wrote the following:

The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear.

Where do I find courage? In trusting my Higher Power. In allowing God to hold the outcome in those outstretched hands, accepting that I am not in control. In other words, faith.

How do I grow in courage. Page 84 talks about step 10

Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.

One of the things that my sponsor taught me when I did a step 5 with him a week or so ago, was that I could pray to God for help about my defects of character. "Relieve me of the burden of self" is part of the step three prayer. Ask God at once to remove them is part of Step 10. And what is the purpose of these prayers? That we can help others. Not about me feeling comfortable.

Working the program of AA, being helpful for others, being helped by others, trusting God, being intimate are all part of my life, my journey, my recovery. Thank you.

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