September 7

FREEDOM MONTH: DAY 7: “It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” ― Edmund Burke

I love that this quote so perfectly speaks to the letter of Step 9. When I make amends with those people or institutions that I have harmed, I am free of the restraints upon my life. I am free of looking over my shoulder or that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that I have done something wrong.

I hate those feelings. It is great when I am drinking and can disconnect, even for a moment, from my feelings of remorse and shame. But it doesn’t last.

And because I have done nothing to actually alleviate or heal those feelings, they get stronger and more insistent every day. When I was very young, I read Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment.” What a horrible book! Yikes! So dark and heavy. And his guilt and mental recriminations and ruminations drove me crazy, because I had that kind of mind too.

When I lay down to go to sleep at night, I am apt to replay every wicked thing I have ever done. All of those unresolved feelings and problems play on a loop that never ends! And all the lies I tell and all the misdeeds are there in gigantic proportion to their actuality.

What a horrible way to live! And I did it for a long time. And now it has been a bit longer that I have not done it. And I go to sleep at night and have none of that crazy shit. I love that this is the by-product of cleaning up the messes I made in this life. And some of them were big. I have shared here before about going to a court and knowing I was going to prison for at least 5 years but going anyway. And I walked away with only one conviction when there were 18 felonies against me. And not one single day in prison. This cannot happen…but it did, to me.

And 19 years of paying the IRS back every month…without fail. And today I have an income that ALL comes from the Federal government that far exceeds the entirety of what I paid back EVERY SINGLE YEAR until I die. Cannot happen…but it did, to me.

The passions that forged my fetters were my addiction. As addicted as I was to cocaine and heroine and scotch, I was addicted to the beliefs that made it necessary and prudent for me to do them. These were my chronic view of myself as a victim and the life that I got when I held that view. And my addiction to being angry and full of rage and acting it out on every poor soul who let me be a part of their life, if only for a moment. I met every kindness with a sneer and considered that person weak and worthy of being ripped off, because I felt entitled to not just my stuff, but yours too.

I am happy THAT monster is gone, and I am who I am today. I love being me. I am sometimes funny and sometimes sad, but always happy, joyous and free. When I am afraid, I step into solutions and find that they are far easier than I ever thought possible. It is a wonderful life…and I am glad I get to be here to live it!

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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