Buckle up, this is a long one. Many of you know how long winded I can be. *wink*
Some of you may have seen on my profile that I am a member of a 12step recovery program. Its called Alanon. If you don't know what that is then I encourage you to Google it. If you qualify then it will change your life. For those members of 12 step recovery out there that may read this.. A BIG HELLO!
All I have is my experience, strength and hope to share. Everything I am about to write is simply my opinion. Take it for what it is worth to you.
I went to a recovery workshop today. It was on the 10th step. (there are 12 total)
The first 9 steps some would consider to be action steps. The last 3 are maintenance steps. I can explain more about the steps and how they work another time. For now I want to talk about the
Step 10 says: "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it."
Let me explain what this is saying.
Step 10 gives me a chance to review my actions of the day and when I am wrong or have behaved badly it directs me to make amends for that behavior. AMENDS? Eeep...
You guessed it! This is where I get to go clean up whatever mess I made that day. I have been taught that I should not say "I'm sorry" and for good reason. This is a set of words that gets tossed around a lot in this disease and it no longer means much. This is true in the world that I lived in for a long time.
What I am instructed to say is: I was wrong, this is why. I want to know what I can do to make it right? Will you forgive me?
As you can guess this is not always easy to do.. Many times I am not willing to make the amends or I don't feel like I even mean them.
Sometimes I just feel completely justified in my position.
I am told that even if I don't mean it yet I need to take the necessary action anyway.
Ah HELL make the Amends anyway???
Well this is why...
My goal today is to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. etc... Part of trying to be that better person is cleaning up my side of the street. Even if the other person is wrong too. Even when what they have done to me was completely horrible and undeserved. I have a part in what is going on and if I have behaved badly, in ANY way, then I need to clean that up.
The step says "promptly". This means I must do this quickly. Sometimes its that day, most times it's next day. The point is I need to do before I talk myself out of it and this little pebble in my shoe becomes a boulder in my gut.
This is not an easy thing and I get PLENTY of opportunities to practice. I work toward progress not perfection. I am not a bad person, I am a sick person trying to get well.
I will never be cured and I will never graduate.
Today at the workshop there were four speakers present. Two from Alanon and Two from Alcoholics Anonymous. One of the AA speakers was here from CA and also spoke at the AA meeting I attended last night.
What an amazing woman. I completely feel that God brought her here for me this weekend. She had very profound things to share last night while telling the meeting her recovery story.
She talked about keeping her side of the street clean and why she needed to do that. She talked about being a good daughter and granddaughter. How her mother and grandmother were very mean and cruel at times and no matter what they did she kept her eyes off of them and their behavior and focused only on her own behavior and actions.
It's a foreign concept to people, this idea of continually trying to take the right action and be good to a person who is treating you like shit.
Even writing it out now it sounds completely insane to me. If it were not for that fact that I know that it works... I would run screaming from my laptop. LOL
I have seen it work in many peoples lives. Hell it has worked in my own life.
The speaker shared about how it worked in hers.
She also talked about her God sized hole and how she was convinced that she was not okay.
Today at the workshop she talked about seeing her part in situations and how to clean that up. Like her, I tend to justify, explain and defend my behavior. "If you hadn't had done that, then I wouldn't have done this"
Folks this is 100% bullshit!
It doesn't matter what anyone does to me..or better yet what I THINK they have done to me. It doesn't give me the right to be mean, vindictive, punishing or cold.
What kind of person do I want to be today?
She also shared about going on vacation recently with her girlfriends. Sitting at the table quietly while they all chatted and laughed with each other. Her mind began to do that "Magical Magnifying" thing and she began to think: They don't want me here, they don't really like me.. They hate me... It's all about me...
--this is how insane we are... Information from no where lands in my head and becomes fact! Where does this information come from.. WHO THE HELL KNOWS!
It's just there and I tell you it seems very very real!
So what's the difference between me and those that are not in recovery?
I know how fucking crazy I am... others may go their whole life not knowing or seeing their crazy behavior--
There she is.. just going at it in her head. The stage has been set.. I mean now she must talk about it. There is a problem and she needs to solve it right now! Get it all out on the table.
But instead she pauses.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says: "Pause when agitated or doubtful and ask for the right thought or action (from God)"
This my friends is the difference. We often need time... time to just let it sit a bit.
She knows enough about herself and has been in recovery long enough to know that what she is thinking is probably not right. Her thinking is distorted as is mine most of the time. Like her I always think it's about me. ME ME ME ME ME! GAG!
She excuses herself to go get some coffee, prays and calls a fellow AA friend and talks with her about 20 min. She returns to her friends.
Oh. My. God. she says.. They have all changed. Everything is fine. They do love her and want her there and are not ignoring her. AMAZING!
Now here is the question. Were they ignoring her before? I don't know and ya know what? It doesn't really matter whether they were or weren't.
She had a choice in those moments where that stinking thinking came into her head.
She chose to pause...
If she had not chosen to do that then I can tell you with complete certainty that she would have spent hours maybe even days with a big mess on her hands that she would have created.
Well when she said all of this I was just about knocked out of my chair... God I love when that happens. It's like God just reached out and slapped me in the back of the head!
Not in a bad way either.
I have been going through some shit lately. I found myself neck deep in a mess that I fear I may have created all on my own.
I took some things that happened lately very personal. My feelings were extremely hurt and I was left confused with a broken heart. Now I do not know if the things that I perceived to be happening were real or just a part of my "Magical Magnifying Mind".
It doesn't really matter does it?
If I had prayed, called my sponsor...paused as I mentioned before, maybe the situation would have looked very different to me after a few days. I will never know the answer to this question.
What I did instead was perceive that EVERYTHING that was happening was about me. My, my, my, I have a HUGE ego.. Sheesh!
What happened you ask?
I pulled away, I went silent, I reached out irrationally and when I didn't get the response I was hoping for I pulled away more, feeling even more hurt and cast aside.
Insanity... pure insanity.
It doesn't really matter if the situation was all about me; If these two people really felt the way I thought that they did.. It doesn't matter because the focus has to be on me and my part. I have to look at how I behaved and the damage that I caused.
Did I harm them and others? Yes I am sure that I did.
Do I own amends... Yes I am sure that I do.
Now because I am a jump into action kind of girl I want to get right to my "promptly". I want to make my amends. I feel foolish and guilty.
I am uncomfortable and I don't want to be. Ick!
My sponsor who I love and adore knows me too well. I tell her my realization and she says to wait... and to pray. Pause... Ask for the right thought or action...
I will do as she says because that's what I signed up for, but also because I know she sees what I cannot and I trust that she will always lead me in the right direction.
God has given me a new set of eyes and ears today. He gives me opportunities and blessings. I have learned that the opportunities ALWAYS turn into blessings if I am patient and take the next right action.
I see my part. I know that I was wrong. I want to be a better friend.
Nothing had changed and yet everything was different.
I continue to walk through this and I see everything differently now.
I am blessed!