August 6

COURAGE MONTH: DAY 6: “It takes a great deal of courage to stand alone even if you believe in something very strongly.” ― Reginald Rose

There are many times when we must be who we are, remaining true to our purpose and our integrity with our lives. I see this when I meet new people and disclose at some point my recovery status. This is often awkward for them. I am cool with it.

But I see how unpopular it is to be an addict, even with long-term recovery. It happens all the time and is always a moment of self-awareness that I find interesting. I still have some discomfort in me when I am meeting  new people. I have a great deal of social anxiety anyway, which most of you would never guess, since I am so comfortable with myself.

However, when not in the company of recovering people with whom I am unfamiliar, I feel a moment of hesitation to reveal these things.

I don’t know that this is actually a courageous thing or not. I think that, for people who are as codependent and people-pleasing as I am, it is certainly uncomfortable to swim against the stream.

It is momentarily awkward to refuse the wine that the group may be drinking, or to turn down a hit off a joint, or whatever social interaction I am going to not participate in. Sometimes, it is gossip. Although I am good at side-stepping this issue, I am in need of further recovery in this arena.

Whatever is going on around me, any time I have to refrain from what it is, I am going to be uncomfortable. It has been a crucial issue in my life to be liked and well thought of. I am a hope-to-die people pleaser and have to fight the idea that I will not be received well if I don’t “fit in” with whatever is going on. No matter how wrong it may be, morally or physically or spiritually.

This is courageous. To stand in my own code of ethics, even though it is unpopular, has always been what I call a “moral dilemma”; which has been an area of great learning for me.

How I apply this to Step 8 is to allow myself to walk through the discomfort of confronting ME with the things I previously justified and excused in my behavior and acknowledge that they were wrong. I am not fond of this. None of us are.

This is where pride and ego hit the wrecking ball. Making that list. Admitting to my inner most self that I have been a total asshat. Ugh! Who wants that? None of us. But it is the only road I have ever walked that frees me completely from the consequences of that behavior. I want to clean up my side of the street. We do that here. It ain’t about drinking or using, but more about giving a good face to this thing. If I freely tell others that I am in recovery and continue to be an asshole or bitch, I am doing a HUGE disservice to AA and all the other programs out there. We all know examples of that. I have seen it and it has taught me well. I DO want to be an example of that book, in progress. And this step is where I clean up my messes…along with Step 9….trust me, we are going there soon…courage my dears!

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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