I have spent most of my adult life analyzing myself. The fourth, fifth and tenth steps, in my recovery program, at times, has been a double edged sword for me. I analyzed things to death. My sponsor used to say to me to stop analyzing and start utilizing.
Step 4 says that we make a “searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” My first attempts were full of self-loathing, self-pity and self-justification. In other words, I wrote out my inventory the way I thought about myself and my life, and I colored everything with my own negative attitude. I did not know how to do it any other way. I went into this process looking for the good guys and the bad guys. Somebody needed to be held accountable and somebody need to undo my hurt and make me feel better about myself and my life.
I thank God for the 5th Step – “Admit to God, to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs, “ and I thank God for my sponsor. I know now why that fifth step is so critical after writing a fourth step. But, what is even more critical is the person that you share that inventory with. With the patient help of my sponsor I was able to strip off the veneer and write the honest facts without the embellishments.
My sponsor guided me to look at the facts. It was not easy being honest with myself. I could justify and rationalize everything that I said, and everything that I did, to the point where it made sense and seemed right to me. But that superficial honesty was a recipe for failure. It was only when I could face being honest with myself that real growth began to happen. I was very good at being the bad unloveable person, or the victim. It has taken me years to be objective about the hurts in my life. True, there were some people who hurt me on purpose, other times, the person never intended to hurt me at all. There were even some people did not even know they hurt me.
Examining the hurt was one thing, moving on from it was another whole ball game. You see, for years I had nursed and fed some of those hurts and kept them alive without realizing what I was doing. I had wallowed in self-pity or self-loathing for so long I did not know how to let them go. I allowed those hurts from my past to sabotage many opportunities for happiness in my life. I drug those hurts from my past around like a ball and chain and allowed them to distort how I felt about myself.
I used to put myself first by demanding that other people meet my needs and when they failed me it confirmed the insecurities I had about myself. One of the hardest things I have ever done was to put myself first in a healthy way. I had to shout down the negative voices in my head and decide for myself my own worthiness. Regardless of what someone else did or did not do, I am the person defines myself worth. People and circumstances may never be what I want them to be, or what I think they should be, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be happy anyway. I am the only person that can live my life.
I am a work in progress. This is the first time in my life that I have many charming delightful friends. In other words, it is the first time in my life that I have healthy relationships. When I look at my friendships today I can see progress. This has been a long and difficult process for me, because I have struggled with accepting friendship from “normal people.” I don’t feel the need to suck up or kiss up to them, the only thing I have to do is just be me and being me is good enough.