In AA, the word “fear” is used quite a bit as an acronym. Over the years I’ve heard many different examples of what its letters stand for. The following are the ones I’ve seen most commonly used and referred to by fellow AAr’s.
1. False Evidence Appearing Real
2. F— Everything and Run
3. Face Everything And Recover
I placed these acronyms in this particular order for a reason. Throughout my life, I’ve had plenty of false evidence appear real to me. When I’m active in any addiction, it’s as if my brain doesn’t want to function rationally at all. I tend to think people are constantly talking about me behind my back. I seem to take everything that happens around me more personally. And when I put two and two together with data that comes at me, I often get five instead of four. It’s pretty insane how the brain operates under any addiction. All I know is that for my brain, when I’ve actively been in an addiction mode, it seems to blow everything out of proportion and become completely fearful. What that always has led me to next is the desire to hide from my problems or as #2 says above to “f— everything and run.”
Unfortunately, throughout the years when I was so completely fearful and sick, I found many ways to do just that. Back then I had many resources that made it way too easy to allow me to say screw life and run away. With money my parents had left me after their passings, I hid from life by going even deeper into addictions. I ran away by taking long trips to other geographical locations frequently. I avoided phone calls, appointments, commitments, and family and friends all for the sake of being too afraid to face the reality that fear had its full grip upon my life.
People say that pain is a great motivator for change. In my case, it was. Just over a year ago when the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical pain had become so great, I knew I needed to do something different than continue to run away, so I took action. It began with a phone call where I said goodbye to a very toxic friend who wasn’t doing anything to get himself healthier. While this may not seem like a big deal for some, for me it was. I’ve always had too much fear in my life to cut someone out of it, even when it was so painful to continue maintaining it. After walking through that initial fear where my heart was racing a mile a minute, it became easier to face the other toxic people I still had in my life and do the same action. One by one I cut each of them loose until they were all out of my life. There were other things as well where I had to face fear if I wanted to have a healthier life. There were medications I was taking that I ended because they were only numbing my path. There were social groups and places I frequented that I had to stop going to because of their toxicity. I even stopped doing stimulants like caffeine because on some level, I felt they only were making my fears feel even worse. But the most important fear I had to face was being alone with me. I despised being alone with myself without some type of addictive thing in play. Because of this, I never fully vested myself in my AA recovery. As time went on, I actually began to enjoy spending time alone and soon preferred it. Eventually, through doing this, I starting have the courage to give 100 percent of myself to my AA step work.
The biggest thing I am still facing in my life is the fear I have over my health issues. Over the past few years of my life when I began to face all of these other fears, my physical health took a turn for the worse. It’s been challenging at times to not go into complete anxiety and hypochondria with some of the health symptoms I deal with. I believe most of them are spiritually, mentally, and emotionally connected and just manifesting on the physical plane. There are days I want to run from having to deal with these health issues and check out again by doing some type of drug, drink, or some other addictive behavior. But I continue to tell myself that it’s important to face everything and recover.
Thankfully I have seen great progress on most every other level in my life since I began to face all of my fears. I believe it’s just a matter of time to when I no longer fear even these health issues. The key today for me to get there is that when I am feeling any fear around them, I pray and ask God for the strength to continue facing them. So far, this has helped me immensely and I still haven’t gone back to my old patterns of running away. I’m guessing something is working then isn’t it?
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson