September 3

FREEDOM MONTH: DAY 3: “Whoever will be free must make himself free. Freedom is no fairy gift to fall into a man’s lap. What is freedom? To have the will to be responsible for one’s self.” ― Max Stirner

Most of us have been taught to equate freedom with some concept of American virtues or flag waving patriotism. I don’t buy into that. No government and its people are truly free. Sounds great, but does not truly exist.

Step 9 brings a different, but truer aspect of freedom into my life. It is the (seemingly) most challenging of the steps, because it asks me to humble myself and admit those character defects I unearthed in Steps 6 and 7, along with willingness to clean up what I messed up. I have to own my shit and stop behaving in that fashion with others.

Most of us have really strained relationships with others, based on what we believe about them, about the situations in which the relationships are held, and many other factors. 99% of it is shit we made up and the stories we tell. All Ego…and toxic as hell.

So, we get to see how we project our shit onto other people and them hate them for it. Really? Yeah, this is what we do. It is old ideas and old feelings we place onto people who are in our lives now and we blame them for our feelings, like they can do that. What? Yeah, this is what we do.

When we live in the center of our own personal Universe, everyone and everything seems pointed at us. A bit self-centered, wouldn’t you say? Yep! And that is the crux of ALL our problems in relationships with others. We believe it is always all about US. Never is, but don’t try to teach me new tricks now….right?

So, we come to this place and have to allow others the benefit of letting them know that we know. They already know, but we have to clean up our shit. Our immature attitudes and beliefs and old ideas. I love this step!

I get to own me…all the way. I get to stop blaming others and excusing myself when I do idiotic shit. And let them off the hook, because they never agreed to take responsibility for my feelings in the first place. And total freedom comes, for me, when I actually make AMENDS, not apologies. I cannot ever say I am sorry again. That is drinking and drugging behavior. Amending a relationship means I change ME for the better. Period.

 Most of the time, it is best if I keep my mouth shut and just act like a recovering grownup. I know few people who know what the hell this is.

If your damage is from more than a week ago, get the f— over it. So what if mommy and daddy hurt your feelings or whatever the hell the story is. Grow up and move on. Heal your shit, that IS the whole point of the steps. Move on…grow up and act like you have. Isn’t that the best kind of freedom anyway?

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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