Don’t we all have those feelings…
The ones that we just want to hold onto- even when it hurts us or is holding us back from something new?
The ones that have the ability to completely conquer us if we allow them to?
All of those things that we really can’t change or control. Wouldn’t it be nice to just let them go?
That was a very important part of my early recovery.
*It all started with my sobriety.
Being sober for any big chunk of time feels really foreign. It is almost like finally waking up from anesthesia after a really long surgery and not being coherent for a few hours, feeling groggy, and finally coming to. Then, the world starts to feel more real and less like Super Mario Land 3, and your vision begins to clear up.
As you look around you try to feel amazed or surprised at all of the things that have been waiting for you, but if you are going to be real- you knew they were there all along.
*Uncovering the Junk.
I was an angry person. I was mean and negative.
Early sobriety challenged me to really begin the process of taking a look to see how much stuff I was carrying around.
The truth is, until that time, I really didn’t want to let go of what I carried.
I really battled with myself; because I just had to keep all of the hatred.
In order to stay exactly where I was, I needed to keep that resentment and anger right by my side.
This made my addiction seem necessary to me.
I relied on having the convenience of falling back on all of this.
I had packed these feelings away for a very clear & obvious reason: to continue destroying myself.
So, I had already started the process of learning to forgive, and let go of the anger.
By allowing myself to forgive people in my life who had hurt me, that meant that the healing process had permission to begin. Over time, the resentment and bitterness began to dissipate too.
and it felt so refreshing.
This is the kind of shame that takes years to develop but only a short time to completely base your identity on.
I am guessing that it resulted from years of struggling to be seen by parents who had problems of their own that they were focusing on, and not having my needs met as a small human.
Pair that with years of chosen self-destruction & knowing all of the people that I trampled on and treated poorly, and wala. You have a nice recipe for some self-shame. It was a sad cycle of self-hate. I would not let my mistakes escape my mind. I reminded myself all of the time of the things that I had done and who I had become, and then I would hide.
Facing this shame meant that I had to analyze some things that I preferred to keep quiet, and in order for me not to think about any of it, my plan had been to stay incoherent. It was always so much easier than thinking about any of it.
I had to admit that I had actually stolen, lied, cheated, and manipulated.
I burned bridges.
I hurt a lot of people.
I had made a long list of really terrible choices that were physically and emotionally unhealthy. Facing all of that meant…
that I would have to fess up to mistakes, take responsibility for my actions and in some cases, inaction.
I had this crazy huge fear of being exposed for what and who I had become.
Even though I was finally facing a version of myself who everyone else could plainly see already.
The reality of it was, I didn’t have to face every bad choice all at once. I had envisioned what facing these things would be like, and the reality was different. People were pretty accepting and understanding for the most part. The ones who weren’t I quickly learned were out of my control and I could only do my part to make amends. Either way, I fought my own self-shaming, by facing one thing at a time.
Facing the anger helped me to get rid of bitterness and resentment.
Facing the shame I hid from, helped me to feel less sad and really helped with my negative outlook on life.
Facing the fact that I simply won’t be accepted by some people, really helped me to embrace self-acceptance.
Over time I got strong enough to branch out, and start work on the other things.
The idea of letting these things go was really was scary.
Like everyone else I started this process feeling blind. I wasn’t sure how to ‘be’ without that familiar stuff that I identified with. Who was I if I wasn’t that old me?
After about a year, I began reading my Bible and really digging into it. I wanted to know about Jesus and who He was.
Turns out, as I learned about who He is, I began to form a more clear picture of who I was; who I really am.
God knew who I was all along, and was still waiting for me anyway.
I learned that His word tells us a lot about self-destruction.
*Hebrews 12:15 says: See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
*Micah 7:19 says: You will again have compassion on us. You will overcome our wrongdoing. You will throw all our sins into the deep sea.
*Romans 6:6 says: We know that the person we used to be was crucified with him to put an end to sin in our bodies. Because of this we are no longer slaves to sin.
To make the decision to try to learn how to let go of the things that we cannot control means that we are finally ready to accept things for exactly what they are. We are learning to be strong enough to live with reality, even if it isn’t how we expected it all to turn out.