For whatever reason, part of my fallible human condition is the fact that when I am in the struggle, I tend to think I am the only individual who feels the way I’m feeling at that given moment. This has been oddly prevalent throughout my life. I’ll be experiencing some type of internal disturbance or frustration, and my addict mind will assert itself in having me believe that I am alone in this. That no one feels the way I do. I’ve come to understand over time through multiple experiences that this mental construct isn’t unique to myself. I firmly believe that some part of our inner programming as humans just goes haywire sometimes and places us in this spiral of shame and isolation. One tool that is so incredibly simple, and yet so arduous to practice while enduring this experience is talking.
Talking. That’s it. Expressing yourself, your feelings, displaying vulnerability to another human being is vital on our path to disengaging ourselves from our own BS. When we endlessly play out situations in our minds, we enter into a nonstop loop of “what if’s” that creates discord and anxiety within us, in turn spreading negative energy to the people around us. Talking with someone, a trusted friend, a mentor, a pastor, a therapist, or simply someone who is understanding or who may have experienced similar circumstances can break this cycle. EVEN IF WE KNOW THE ANSWER TO OUR TROUBLES it is vital that we speak it out. Sometimes we need to hear that information, that insight, from an outside source, out loud, to challenge the structure of our thoughts and move forward. This is how recovery works; surrounding yourself with supportive people who you feel comfortable speaking with about the machinations of your innermost self and shining a light on them. It is only by exposing these issues that we can grow and move forward as people. It may seem overly simple, but I can assure you it works.
They say God works through other people. This is how God has worked in my life. This is how I have been able to overcome a disease that was relentlessly trying to end my existence daily. I am just a regular person. I am not a guru or monk or spiritual giant who has achieved complete self-actualization. I simply arrived at a place in my life where I was willing to express myself to others and become willing to listen to what they have to say; and in turn, take positive contrary action to what my mind would have me believe. So, when that shame pops up, or that guilt, or that less than self-pity-oriented thinking shakes the foundation of our belief – we must challenge it. We must push back. We must SPEAK UP about it. Otherwise it creeps into the dark recesses of our psyche and becomes ingrained, a part of the fabric of our personal reality. The farther we let these character defects go – the more difficult it becomes to be free of them. I spent several years mired in self-pity, selfishness, self-hatred, and a thousand other fatalistic mindsets, and I am still today in the process of healing and working through that. Perhaps I always will be. Perhaps we all will. That is the beauty of recovery. No one is asking us to be perfect. In the AA literature it is emphasized that we focus on progress, not perfection.
It might seem silly or overly reductive how much I’ve emphasized the power of conversing with others here. But think about it. When was the last time you turned a seed of doubt in your mind into a veritable mountain of trouble? How long did you mull over some personal problem or issue you were experiencing before you asked someone for help or advice? Hours? Days? Weeks? Months? Be honest. WE’VE ALL DONE THIS. We waste so much of our vital energy that could be used toward service to others just repeating these endlessly negative scenarios in our minds.
Today, more so than ever, in a time of such tremendous hardship and pain that this world is experiencing I implore you: REACH OUT. Get help for yourself. Don’t psych yourself out thinking that no one will understand. They will. You will be pleasantly surprised by how many people in your life know the same feelings as you. There will always be others who have come before you, who have walked through the fire and have come out the other side, all the better for it. This is how we grow. This is how we learn. Resolutely and freely put yourself in the hands of God. Ask him to give you strength and to speak through the people in your life that you might not only endure but thrive where others have fallen. Now more so than ever, we need a movement of massive personal growth. We need healing. Ghandi wisely said that we must be the change that we want to see in the world. It starts with you. By working on ourselves we in turn become more readily available to be of service to our brothers and sisters. The cycle of healing continues through YOU. Do not miss out on this opportunity to be a part of God’s masterful handiwork.
My hope and prayer today is that we may, as a people, rise above our selfish tendencies and embrace healing, love, and a hope for a better tomorrow. Remember. 90% of life is just showing up. Instead of retreating into isolation, of internalizing your shame, your fear; instead of fruitless attempts to blot out those helpless feelings with worldly and material distractions: show up. Speak with one another. Speak out the things you wish to be free from the very most in life and let the Power and Grace of God wash them away.
Support each other today friends. I love you!
Sean – In Recovery
You can read, comment and ask questions for Sean to address in his blog on the PAL website, home page – www.Palgroup.org