Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Projecting fear

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse, and. you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again; you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.--Ralph Waldo Emerson

I really like this quote.  It is right in keeping with the topic of fear at the meeting tonight.  Each person shared about their fears.  Some had a fear about change in their life.  One lady was moving her business, another person was fearful of getting old,  a man was afraid for his grandchild who has a genetic defect.  The litany of fears that cause us to awake in the night goes on and on.  

I used to wake up around 3 AM and worry. I would worry about work, about finances, about my marriage, about my parents--the fear would grab hold and was impossible to shake until dawn.   I would project my fear into what "might" happen.  I could concoct the worse case scenario with little problem.

In recovery, I've come to understand that using "what if" scenarios isn't very helpful.  I can be guaranteed of having a sleepless night and feeling out of sorts if I project fear about what could happen.  It surely can paralyze my mind.  I can read all kinds of things into situations when I project my fear into the future.

I know that each of us has some great fear that may or may not come to pass. Perhaps it is fear that a loved one will decide to drink again.  Or maybe there is a health issue that is worrying you.  No matter what it might be, the outcome will happen no matter how much I worry.  And I will deal with that outcome as I have with so many other things in life.  Working myself up into a frenzy of worry isn't going to make things any better. 

What I have often failed to realize is that if I don't "borrow trouble",  I can deal with whatever comes my way. If I stop the worry, then my thinking clears up and I can see a solution or steps that I need to take more clearly.  When I eliminate the "what if's", then I can trust myself and my HP to get me through whatever may occur.  I will be given the fortitude to deal with life. 


  1. I'm not sure if the nutter doctors would agree with me, but one way of squashing worry is just to square with yourself what you're going to do IF certain probably-won't happen thing does occur. Then you know what you're doing when, you probably won't have to do it and eventually you just stop worrying about it.

    The silly nutter nurse who spent ages analysing me must have analysed herself because she gave me a leaflet on anxiety that describes techniques suitable for dealing with a thinking style I had TWENTY YEARS AGO!

    How on earth she can have got me so wrong I'm frankly offended to consider, but she did and I don't care. Only that her recommendations nearly pushed me into a personality disorders clinic when all along we knew the problem was with moods.

    Fear's easy to deal with as long as you're willing. Face up to it head on. However that doesn't work with depression. I've pushed myself through situations I really thought I should do and just pushed myself into a breakdown. "Feel the fear and do it anyway" works, but it must be FEAR, not despair!

    Great post ;-)

    Wow you remember Lucky. I bet you're the only one

  2. Sometimes I can get caught in the undertow of 'what-if'. And my best tactic to fight it is to tell myself that I have no idea what is going to happen, so it doesn't really matter. Not enough to play through every imaginable scenario, that is for sure.

    I think it is also helpful that I know my HP is watching out for me as I stumble along this path of life.

    Great quote!

  3. This sounds like anxiety...?
    Sometimes it happens when we forget we're not in control.When we lose sight of our footing and ourselves once in awhile.Projecting just happens to some of us and then it passes when we meditate on it.I know you know that.And I appreciate you posting this to remind me tonight.

  4. i hear you. worrying solves absolutely nothing.

  5. Or as someone I heard say once, "Don't put up your umbrella until it begins to rain."
    Now, having said that, I will say that trying to conquer the "what ifs" is one of the hardest things I do.

  6. I have been dealing with a lot of those 3 AM wake-up calls. Endless worry. And yet I know the answer. Your post just helped to reinforce that answer.

  7. I love all the acronyms for fear but my favorite is:
    Face Everything And Recover
    I hid behind alcohol for years and now, no matter how serious or how frivolous, I face whatever situation is put before me and it shields me from fear.
    You have a gift with words !

  8. You are right about not "borrowing" trouble. I, too, have lain awake many nights around 3:00, worrying.

    When I read your post, I thought of this quote by Scott Fitzgerald.
    "In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning."

    Love you.

  9. For me, worrying interferes with my sleep which in turn makes me so tired it is more difficult to think clearly and thus harder to face hard times when there actually is something to deal with and not just the fear of the "what if", so it goes on and on. Learning to let go of the worry and unfounded fear helps me to rest and be stronger and better able to life a healthy life.

  10. nice thoughts syd...fear and worry can be paralyzing...i do like glenwoods idea as well...you cannot anticipate all but if you know how you are going to react it makes it easier...

  11. For me it seems I worry that I haven't done enough to address the issue at hand and time is running out. I try the slogan first things first when I get too crazy but sometimes I still can't find peace. I would do it anyway as the slogan, feel the fear and do it anyway, if I knew what to do.

  12. I love the Emerson quotation. My Al-Anon sponsor is fond of urging me to live my life as an experiment. It diminishes the fear. much love G


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