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In response to fear, are you a turtle or a skunk? The turtle retreats into its shell, the skunk sprays its venom over everyone else. Both are ways of dealing with fear. Both are undesirable. But the skunk has to make more amends.

This wonderful analogy comes from a Bob D. speaker tape and is one I can wholeheartedly relate to. As an active drunk I was without doubt a skunk. Consumed by fear yet oblivious to that fear, threatened by everything and everyone, most people with whom I came into contact became recipients of my criticism, demands and rage. As a sober drunk I am all too frequently a turtle – still consumed by the same fears (fear of being alone, fear of worthlessness, fear of failure) but instead of blaming others and lashing out I internalise it all, retreat, become paralysed and incapable of living my life fully.

Fear truly is an evil and corroding thread in my life. I have learned to an extent to avoid retaliation and argument (my previous mechanisms for dealing with fear) but until I can really begin to understand the ineffectiveness of self-reliance and the necessity for God-reliance, I will not commence to outgrow fear.

 

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