The ingeniousness of the 12 Steps is mind blowing to me. Life is complicated. There is no way that I could have ever been able to navigate through the fragmented pieces of my life and come out whole without the help of the 12 Steps and my recovery programs. The 12 Steps are in a specific order for a specific reason – maximum results. I am not saying that there are not other alternatives to find healing and recovery because there are. But since this is my blog I am just sharing what worked for me.
I kept waiting for something or someone to saved me so that I would feel whole. But as long as I waited nothing changed. There is a saying that time heals our wounds and I am here to tell you, in my case, that was a lie. As long as I walked around wounded and miserable I stayed wounded and miserable. My resentments grew and I was hurt and angry. All of these emotions became distorted over time because I nursed and fed my hurts. My negative feelings grew to epic proportions.
The poison from those negative feelings spread over into how I felt about myself and how I looked at life. Trust was out the window. No way could I ever trust anyone to say or do what they told me they were going to do. And when they did follow through, I kept looking for an ulterior motive. I could never trust the real me to anyone so I “dressed the part” of how I wanted others to see me or how I thought they wanted to see me. But no matter who I pretended to be on the outside on the inside I was still fighting my demons of insecurity and self-doubt on the inside.
Over time ignoring or pretending that I was not hurt, pretending that I was not disappointed, pretending that I was not angry and resentful did not make the pain or the vandalism to my self-confidence and self-esteem go away. Time did not heal my wounds because I was only masking the hurts and disappointments in my life. And because my wounds were not healing I would either shut down and not allow anyone to get close to me, or I would gravitate towards the same type of unhealthy people. You see, I had done nothing to change me over time.
My sponsor helped me to see that healing the brokenness inside me was the only way that I was going to stop the depressing loneliness and the revolving door of unhealthy relationships. In order for me to do that, it was necessary for me to write down, in black and white, a fearless moral inventory of my relationships and events in my life; in other words a 4th Step – a fearless moral inventory. Even then I struggled with understanding where I was going wrong. I could not be objective. I felt raw when it was completed.
Thank God the steps did not stop at the 4th Step. It was in the 5th Step, “Admitting to God, to myself and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs,” that it all started to make sense. “Admitting to God” – If I had not taken the 3rd Step of turning my will and my life over to the care of God I would have been afraid of the 5th Step. You see, before I took that 3rd Step I saw God as a punishing God just waiting to catch me in a wrong. I could not take that third step until I knew that I could trust that God only wanted the best for me. I knew that God was not out to harm me or to make me feel bad. I knew that He would not use my hurts to make feel bad; but, He would use my hurts to help me rise above them.
When I chose my sponsor I chose her through the eyes of the 3rd Step. I looked for someone that had the peace and serenity that I wanted. I trusted this woman to be God’s voice to help me evaluate my inventory objectively – almost clinically. It was through this process that I begin to understand the source of my wounds, how they happened and how they affected me. Talking it over with my sponsor was like taking the scab off and flushing out the poison so that real healing could begin. But understanding the wounds, understanding how and why I thought and felt the things that I did was not enough. I had to progress through the remaining steps to find that peace I was looking for. Like I said the 12 Steps are in a specific order for a reason. Each step prepared me for the next step.