April 22

HONESTY MONTH: DAY 22: “Never separate the life you lead from the words you speak.” ― Paul Wellstone

This is the hardest thing to do in recovery…why? Because we have something in our minds that is not the same as what we DO in the world around us. The challenge is and always will be to make them match. I may have the highest of intentions; but if I still live with the kinds of fear and self-absorption that functioned during my active addiction, I will not behave in ways that match my intentions. The really important thing is to have friends and sponsors who will let us know when we are walking off an emotional cliff. The cliffs are most often emotional, because we are usually reacting to something that triggers us in some way. A situation arises that creates an old feeling of fear or shame or loss and we jump into a reaction that may go back to when we were being unmindful of our ability to shift from reacting to responding. When I make a commitment or an amends, I must be mindful of what I am saying, because the expectation of the person to whom I am speaking is that I mean what I say. This is usually the case, but I MUST follow it up with the kind of responses that indicate such an intention. If I continue to do things the same old way, I will get the same old reactions from others. If my intention is to stop hurting myself and others by reacting with less anger and fear, then I need to do the work that will create that outcome. For me, this means I must explore deeply into the causes and conditions of my anger and fear. Once I have explored these things, I can shift them out of my mind by practicing contrary behaviors when these feelings come up. After some time, I will stop the old behaviors. Many of us think we can just stop the behavior and get on with our day. Sadly, at least for me, I have to do more than just shift the behavior. If I truly do not work to examine the feelings that precede the behavior and the beliefs around those feelings, I am doomed to revert to that behavior when I feel something that is similar to my old ways of feeling and the beliefs around that. This kind of mindfulness in thought and action is going to be a life-long practice for most of us, but we do get better. Step 4 talks about not only our beliefs about what was done by those who have hurt us (in our minds); but what we believed about the situation, our part in the situation, and what was driving us in the situation (emotion & belief about the emotion). When we get down to this kind of examination, most of us are incredibly surprised to find out that our list of resentments is really a shit list of everyone we ever did damage to and our interesting ability to then get mad at THEM for what we did. Oh! The real test comes when we have to begin to walk in a way that shows the world who we are becoming around here. If I am to be an example for anyone of the BB, I hope they get to experience the happiness that I have found here. That goes with me into every situation I go into. May my feet and my actions and my words all align today.

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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