I got this message yesterday.
Today’s thought is:
Gradually, though, the addict learns to accept responsibility without denying the worth of his self. In this learning, a separation is made between the actions one commits and one’s soul.David Mura
Whether we’re addicts or not, most of us have done things that we wanted to keep secret. We’ve harmed other people and ourselves. Then, we hid our secrets in our heart and locked the door. We justified and rationalized. We built thick walls around us and lived in fear of being found out. Finally, we lost ourselves in the deception.
Recovery means finding ourselves behind our guilt, shame, and rationalizations. It starts with honesty, telling our secrets, calling things by their right names, and owning up to the harm we’ve done.
The miracle is that when we unlock our heart and tell our secrets, we uncover our soul. When we let the secrets out, we let the light in. We experience the blessing of forgiveness and learn that who we are is not what we did.
I open my heart and release all my secrets. Light pours in and illuminates my soul. I know that I am forgiven.
You are reading from the book:
The Color of Light by Perry Tilleraas
Copyright 1988 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved.
What a great thing to get when you are working on a 4th Step. I’m writing this because I don’t feel like saying it twice, and wanted you both to know that I’m feeling much better today.
Tommy, thanks for the call Sunday morning. I didn’t turn my phone on until later in the morning, and was sorry that I missed your call; I didn’t call you back because I wanted for you what I always want when I go into the woods, which is uninterrupted and — unpunctuated by technology — silence. Duane, I tried you around lunch time, but you must have been busy; I will try you later today.
Worked on the inventory on and off all day yesterday. Whenever the Politburo started having meetings, I went and wrote down the topic of the discussion. The day went relatively well until about an hour before my regular big book meeting when I was feeling particularly scummy. I couldn’t decide if I should get a cigarette, kill myself, or just hold on until the meeting. The mistress nicotine was particularly harsh yesterday.
The meeting was good and we finished the book. Afterward, I was talking to my friend Andy and saying that I was feeling really dirty and crappy and mentioned this reading, and that it said that “who we are is not what we did.” He said that, “For what it was worth that he didn’t think that I was an evil person.” I didn’t really believe him, but felt much better after the meeting and talking about it.
Had a little trouble getting to sleep and got up to write down the resentments that were on my mind.
This morning, I woke up and said the 3rd, Scary, and 7th Step prayers. I was just laying there thinking about how long this inventory is getting, and thinking about all the fears that I wrote down that I don’t know why I have. Then it dawned on me. I have these fears and resentments because I have these fears and resentments. Then I thought about what you said at the potluck about making sure, “that I had one, two and three.”
What did I do wrong with my first inventory? I think that I didn’t really write it down. I went through a list of defects in the Hazelden 4th Step workbook, and pretty much checked off all of them, and a list of virtues and checked off some of them. I hadn’t been through the book but once and a little more, and didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Hell I did my first fifth step when I was sober only 130 days (4 months and 8 days).
So I’m meditating on how long this list is getting and trying to figure out why it is so long, and I figure that out (It’s so long because it’s so long); and then I think, “Why do these fears and resentments have such power over my life?” And just like that, bang, I’m standing in the shower and it comes to me. Fear and resentments have this power because I allow them to have this power. It made me cry (It’s OK to cry in the shower, because no one can see you). I’ve heard this, I don’t know, about a zillion times in meetings, but until I was faced with the paper evidence; the actual list of things that I think I’m afraid of, and the list of things that I’m afraid of and don’t know why — and the crappy things I’ve done, I couldn’t see the connection.
So I guess the bottom line is I think I’m getting there. I can beat myself up as long as I want, or I can give it up and get better. I just need to think about these undefined fears and see if there is something that I still can’t see. I can’t wait for you to get back so we can share.
I love you guys. Thanks for putting up with my crap and for being there.