The opposite of fear is faith' is an adage I heard often when I quit drinking. The thinking is that fear is paralyzing or even regressive, causing you to retreat in defense, while faith inspires forward progress. So why, I always wondered, does fear feature so prominently in our discussions and practice of faith? We talk about fear of God as a good thing - and being God-fearing as a desirable state. I know I'm not the first to say this, and smarter people have given it more thorough examination and more eloquent expression, but that just makes no sense to me. It's counterintuitive and, I think, confuses fear with respect. As a way of motivating people, cultivating fear is easier than investing the time and effort necessary to engender respect. Respect requires greater knowledge, and in my experience, the more you know, the less you fear. In the year or so between my Parkinson's diagnosis and my quitting drinking, I had considered getting sober but feared life without the perceived buffer of alcohol. What I came to realize after a few months of disciplined sobriety was that my fear had nothing to do with alcohol or a lack thereof. It had to do with a lack of self-understanding. As I gained more intimate knowledge of myself, why I did the things I did, what my resentments were, and how I could address them, my fear began to subside.