Where My Recovery Starts: Awareness

An Honest Examination of the Shadow

In Genuine Recovery it is essential to take a self inventory of strengths and weaknesses in order to move forward towards acceptance and forgiveness.  Accepting myself and forgiving myself are tall orders when operating with a low self esteem as a result of years of emotional and spiritual sickness.  Some of the main symptoms of this insecurity are worry, anger, self-pity, and depression.

It was frightening and intimidating for me while being new to recovery to face these issues. The shadow is very dark.  It seems that shadow continually will present itself in my daily experience if it has not been dealt with a fearless moral inventory. Who really wants to face their dark side? Once I can accept where I came from and share it with another human being, it is a releasing  and freeing gift to the spirit that allows me to maintain long term sobriety and soundness of mind.  

The expression of “overanalyzing can become paralyzing” comes to mind initially when confronting my past and present circumstances.  It is imperative and required for lasting Genuine Recovery to face my inventory.  I’m reminded of an example of a bag of apples I purchased recently.  I put them in the refrigerator without inspecting them and washing them until I opened the bag for use.  Well, I did not notice the one bruised apple which quickly festered into a rotten state that caused damage to the other apples.  The same is true of not viewing and examining my past mistakes and my part in them.  They can also blend into other areas of my life and hold me back from the Truth that is in me. Life is one indivisible whole.

The meaning that I choose to attach to an experience will shape my attitude and thus become the reality I will operate from.  Given this information, it is vital to clearly evaluate what a particular life experience meant to me and my development.  I have the power to choose the meaning based on my understanding of the events of my life.  It is imperative to not lie to myself, but it is also wise to not label an experience or person, or perception with false presentations.

My personal experience as a using alcoholic was based on my lack of spiritual connection with my true self and with others.  I prayed for “things,” instead of alignment with the Source or stillness of mind. I am still consumed in the self, which leads to self-importance, self-pity, low self-esteem and self-worth.  Through the process of honestly examining my life, I am more aware and awakened to my purpose and motives.  With this understanding, it is easier for me to forgive myself of my character defects and move forward knowing that I don’t have to be perfect. If I can be self honest and attempt to do my best, I am adequate. Learning is remembering, so if I can remember where I fell, it makes it easier for me to get back up.  

I have learned that a spiritual journey or happening is all about feeling, dealing, and healing.  By understanding and learning self-love, self-compassion and self-care, at the end of the road, I meet my true authentic self.  Today, I forgive myself. I release the need to replay a negative situation over and over again in my mind.  I am no longer a hostage to my past by always viewing and reliving my mistakes.  I don’t remind myself of what should have, or could have been.  Now, I release it and let it go.  I move onward. I never regret a day of my life.  Good days bring happiness. Bad days bring experience. The worst days give lessons, and the best days give memories. 

Although it can be hard, I use my past experiences as learning lessons.  They have shaped me and strengthened my resolve to be the person I am today. I have to begin where I am, that is where the opportunity is.


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