Otherwise I will be running around town all day long like a wet hen or a dry drunk

by Rob S.

If we think back to the days when our hunter-gatherer ancestors were chased by hungry wild animals, one of these three emotions would have taken over (the following definitions are my own). Fear: My body is overcome with extra energy to either fight the toothy beast or take off on a fast hike—this surge is what I consider anger. Terror: I’m frozen stiff and get gobbled. Apprehension: This emotion allowed our cave-dwelling ancestors to think clearly—maybe climb a tree. The ones who survived left an imprint on the DNA of their offspring homo sapiens, you and me. I automatically tend to become tense from those genes of yore. If I don’t find some way to circumvent this inheritance, I will be running around town all day long like a wet hen or a dry drunk. What to do?

I can pick up the A.A. tools, place those disastrous devils of fear and anger on the back burner, and feel calm apprehensive concern instead. When I feel wronged, I can forgive the evildoer, see where I may have been at fault, or simply ask these two demons be removed (Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 67-68). There is also a prayer which is not part of the Twelve Steps, but it has worked for me on several occasions (page 552).     

When I feel like I’m under attack, I can enjoy a normal calm apprehensive response by following these clear-cut directions in the Big Book. I can choose to rise above what my immediate emotions are shouting at me. To elaborate on fear-driven thoughts of anger (resentments), I like to review the four-part process on page 67. 


  • Realize that my offender is spiritually sick. Have I ever been spiritually sick? Yes. This helps me to forgive.
  • How can I be helpful to him or her. This may seem difficult, but would I rather put my sobriety in jeopardy?
  • God save me from being angry. It is important to realize that often I cannot control my emotions alone—I need help
  • Thy will be done. My will would probably be to get even.


Further down on this page there is a logical tool: Where were we to blame? Further research often reveals that I was the cause of the offender’s actions. If this is true, then the fear-driven resentment is no longer logical—the offender is off the hook, and so am I. 

The offender is off the hook, and so am I
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