March 29, 2023

Hope Combats Our Fears

Page 92

"When we choose not to look through the lens of resentment and entitlement, we can see the world as it is and find beauty in it even when it's challenging. Each day is filled with opportunities either to escape reality or to show up and live."

Living Clean, Chapter 7, "Living Our Principles"

An old saying has it that "fear makes the wolf bigger than it is." The howls of that big, bad, metaphorical wolf--symbolizing all of life's challenges--threaten from a distance, even in recovery, making us susceptible to resentment. Our improved emotional health may even increase our awareness of the howling. Life can indeed be scary, but today we have tools and choices. We no longer have to live in terror. Recovery allows us to make peace with rational fears, to free ourselves from resentment, and to face life on its own terms.

As we work the Steps, we begin to recognize how fear shaped our responses to life, past and present. We see how we papered over our fear with resentment, fantasy, despair, anger, or a sense of entitlement. We learn how our shortcomings correlate with our fears, provoking us to push people away or hold them too close. We manipulated, bullied, or retreated from reality only to find ourselves increasingly isolated and our lives more and more unmanageable.

Although we're clean today, fear still crops up. We hear that wolf howling: Why me? Am I up to this task? Am I worthy of love? Instead of shutting down or pushing back in the face of existential questions, recovery opens us up to a different approach. Our insecurities no longer have to dominate our outlook, direct our thinking, or dictate our behavior. We can be present in the struggle and find meaning and beauty as we meet life's challenges with clarity and purpose.

Both hope and fear ask us to believe in something that hasn't happened. Either can influence how we perceive our conditions and our future. To the best of our abilities, we choose hope. If fear makes the wolf seem bigger, then maybe we can say that hope tames the wolf. Life's challenges are a little less intimidating when we allow hope to shape our view of the world and inform our responses.

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I will face one of the metaphorical wolves in my life and let hope inspire courage and positive action.

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