The Fear List

The “FEAR LIST”  is in the Big Book in Step Four pg.67-68  If you are happy, joyous, and free don’t read any further this article is not for you.  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

If we expect more out of the program of AA than just sobriety we will have to go deeper into our fourth step.  The fourth step in depth can cure anxiety, depression, resentment, co-dependency and fear.  Best to begin step work with a prayer for guidance and revelation.


If the pop up window doesn’t work in your browser click here for full page link.  Big Book fear list

The fear list is an important part of on-going maintenance in recovery.  The fear list is in Step Four of the big book.       Some people teach we only do step four once.   And few sponsors teach sponcees to write down fears not associated with a resentment.  For me step ten wasn’t enough until I formally worked the 12 steps at least 5 times and learned how to use a fear list.  When resentment, depression or anxiety pops up and won’t go away no matter how much service I do  I do a mini fourth step coupled with a fear-list inventory.  The purpose of the mini fourth is to hone out what my core feelings of self-image are which triggered the fear or resentment.  Once I get to the core fear/feelings I ask God to remove them it works like magic.  

Surface fears are associated with sex, security, and society.  Meaning fear of losing a girlfriend/boyfriend, not having a roof over my head or money or losing my reputation among my friends and fellow AAers.  

Root causes and feelings go even deeper than that, they are the ones that most often we WILL NOT ADMIT MUCH LESS ADMIT TO OTHERS.  Core issues that drive fears are anchored in inferiority, unworthy feelings and low self image and are usually a little illogical, often we dismiss them by intellect.  

But the heart does not have to be logical.   Our heart needs to be heard or at least acknowledged.  It’s quite natural for an addict to feel inferior, unworthy, bad, wrong, ugly, gross, pitiful at the core of our being. Not just addicts, it is often the human condition.   It’s not our fault, we were  taught who we are at a young age it sticks in our heart until it can be released by a fear list or confession.   If  a shameful human condition weren’t common the world would not be in chaos and disarray.  When we feel high self-worth and are trusting God we are not prone to fear, anxiety, anger and depression.  Emotional balance depends on a healthy self-identity.  

SOLUTION:   First do the regular step four and five.  Then GET TO THE CORE FEELINGS ATTACHED TO THE FEARS on your list AND ASK GOD TO REMOVE THEM all.  Apologize to our Higher Power for our lack of trust and ask for help with that.   Confess to someone the way we feel no matter how illogical or even un-true those feelings are, they come from a valid place, our heart which is only guilty of believing what it was taught.

Disclaimer:  This does not apply to everyone.  This is mainly for those of us who were traumatized, neglected, and abused when we were children or young adults.

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