I came to see the damage that was done and the treasures that prevail. --Adrienne Rich
It takes great courage to face ourselves - to look honestly and fearlessly at our behavior, especially if we have done and said things we are not proud of. We may have caused a lot of sadness in our own and others' lives. It's not easy to look at.
But let's remember, too, that what we do and say is not all of who we are. And let's also look at the treasures in ourselves - those things we have said and done that have brought great comfort, joy, and love into the lives of others.
Beneath the negative parts of ourselves, deep within us, is a kernel of good. Let's look for that as well, and water it so it can grow - so we can grow into the persons we are meant to be.
What is the best part of me, and how can I share it today?
Honesty Begins With Staying True to Myself
Honesty, for me, has to begin with being true to myself, my perceptions, my beliefs, my values, and my reality.
Growing up in an alcoholic home, we would experience night rages followed by sunlight streaming in the kitchen window with breakfast cooking. I would wake up with the awful taste of the night before in my mouth-the fear, the anger, the hurt-and could not walk into that kitchen filled with warmth and pretense.
Somehow not addressing what had happened prevented me from being able to believe in the calm morning. I was torn between what I believed had happened, and the play that was performed before me. I bolted out the door, unwilling to join in the acting.
As much as I rebelled against the divergent extremes, I came to not trust what I saw or perceived-easily trading my reality for someone else’s take on it. I had no way of knowing that I was dealing with alcoholism-with its thick, heavy blanket of denial.
It has been a long journey to restore my own personal integrity. I still want to excuse someone else’s behavior, to wrap myself up in what I’ve come to see as “willful ignorance”-the ability to know something, yet suspend that knowledge rather than feel the deep feelings that knowing might invoke.
Today I can more easily hold on to my own personal truths. I am not swayed as easily by someone else’s take on things. When someone else tells me the sky is green, and I see a brilliant blue, I can hold on to what I see and allow them to have their own choice of color; both can be real. I cannot stay true to myself if I give up my brilliant blue.
I am responsible for my own honesty before god, myself, and others. As I work these Steps of recovery, I am asked to be kind and tolerant of others. I do not have to force my honesty on anyone.
I can only trust God to reveal to me what I need to see and do to live an authentic life. I am no longer responsible for what others say or do.
March, 2009 By Marsha C., Oklahoma
Reprinted with permission of The Forum
Al-Anon Family Groups Incorporated, Virginia Beach, VA
Today's Hope is a Recovery themed site with a focus on Friends and Families of Alcoholics and problem drinkers. We are not affiliated with any 12 Step program. The daily sharings contain a reading from
Al-Anon's Conference Approved publication The Forum, an inspirational quote/saying and a recovery based reading/meditation. The intent of Today's Hope is to share experience, strength and hope. Please take what you like and leave the rest.