Even at age 40, pre-recovery, I had not learned/internalized any absolute morals, by which I could hold myself accountable. I thought I did, but honestly, I was stunted, terribly immature in this way— self-propelled and self-seeking. I would do literally anything to guard or retaliate against perceived threat. I learned early on, the brutal principle of “any means necessary”. I forgive myself for not knowing what I could not know. We learn what we live. Right? ??♀️My only consistent guides were fear, guilt, and shame, the gods of our family. Those sentiments could be counted on but not trusted, always present and never true.
Today, I feel immense compassion for the terrified little girl I once was. When we know better, we do better. Recovery offers me tools-a design for living, to replace my constant and lesser companions of guilt, shame, and fear. THIS new way of living has further and permanently divided me from those who rely on me to feel those ways. It apparently, is not so difficult to manipulate a person steeped in those feelings. I used to be fearful and distrusting of others because I had not learned to trust in myself or a higher power. Now, I am afraid of no-one. My God is immense. I may not trust a person or group, but I have faith that I can handle MYSELF, by following the direction of my program. I cannot be charmed, flattered, or bullied into doing or accepting things that conflict with recovery principles. To some, this is perceived as an act of hostility, willfulness, war…like “If you cannot control me, then I must be trying to control you”. But that is sick and childish thinking. I am only controlling only myself—neither a crime nor an attack—the exact opposite.
In recovery, we learn to “Live and Let Live”. That is what I aim to do. My life is built around being the best mother, friend, girlfriend, neighbor, employee that I can be. These are my causes, not my roles. I serve each as faithfully as I can, one day at a time. Some days are better than others. My motivation finally is tethered to service in something much greater than my own will. In this way, I feel I am now living right, not perfectly, but well. I am a work in progress.
I still do wrong(unfortunate and unwholesome) things and I do things wrong(incorrectly), because I am human. Sometimes I do wrong because I do not know better. Other times, because I am angry or have failed to practice good self care. Sometimes I do a most rightest right thing, but I do it in a wrong way. With the wisdom of my program, I am able to own and quickly amend and to restore trust and connection, where possible. Sometimes, trust and connection are non-existent, but I amend anyhow, for my own peace of mind and spiritual hygiene. And I am blessed with trusted others, with whom I can share, as well as my space, here. I believe it to be true that we are only as sick has our secrets. I do not want to be sick anymore.
Amends may include an apology or just a correction of my behavior or tone. Saying the words “I’m sorry” is neither amends nor a magic eraser. When I say I am sorry, what I am genuinely expressing is that I regret that I have hurt you or I am sorry that my choice affected you negatively. I may not be sorry for my choice, but I am always sorry for causing pain. And if I am sorry for my choice, that means it is my intent and commitment is to not do IT again. I have so very much to learn about what to be sorry for and how to forgive myself and to forgive others, especially those who knowingly do harm, repeatedly. I am much better at forgiving once the damage has ended.
In my family, the apologies frequently go something like: “I am sorry that you feel that way”. Thanks, but apologizing to me for my own feelings feels like bullshit. And then there is the classic edgy “I’m sorry, okay…now can we just put it behind us?” which means I am only sorry if I have to deal with the consequences of my choices and genuine self reflection and correction. Neither of these fauxpologies restore trust or lead to reconciliation. Methods, motives, and means require examination if we are to learn, grow, and heal. Right? What I continue to marvel over are the many harmful things that are done in politically and socially acceptable fashion. My family culture and the political climate are so similar in this manner, justified diminishing of another. I can’t even….
In addition to daily readings of my program literature, I repeatedly comb through Harriet Lerner’s Why Wont You Apologize? and Desmond Tutu’s The Book of Forgiving. I seek and follow trusted spiritual leaders to help me prevent my pain and anger from hardening into hatred. As Glennon says: “I forgive everyone because I am desperate for freedom. Pain and betrayal are not for hanging onto. They are too heavy.”
Because I tend to be especially sensitive and short-fused, I am often less than divine to Sweet Greg. When I know I have been unfair or unreasonable with him, I laugh and tell him that I forgive him for making me speak/act that way to him. And we just laugh, hug, and move on. On occasion, his behavior is also non-perfect and he too enjoys amending in this same silly but genuine way. So– even our bad behaviors leads us to stronger connection. Sweet Greg! What a man, one wholesome bad-ass man! x #blessed
For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/