FREEDOM MONTH: DAY 20: “Freedom is what we do with what is done to us.”― Jean-Paul Sartre
I really like this quote. New one for me. And it is the best one for this step, at least in my experience of Step 9.
Many of the people I harmed had also done harm to me. I cannot remember a functional relationship in my life before recovery. Did not have them. Did not know how. Could not do it even if I knew.
So my amends were also to people with whom I had ongoing damage that went both ways. That is a real challenge for many of us. However, Step 4 gave me a guideline for what is and is not my part in the problems. That is what I can clean up in Step 9.
Then I get to work through the things that were damaging to me. I was a perpetual victim, full of rage and shame. That began to soften as I saw how much damage I had inflicted myself and how I began to shift my view of the damage others had also done. I heard it in meetings and began to see that there was not a lot of intent on anyone’s part just to f—k with me. That others were drunks or druggies just like me. After all, why would I be with any other kind of people?
So I got to learn to reframe my life in ways that were less victimization and more powerful for me. It was always true that I was fierce and independent and strong. Those qualities happen to a person when they live with abuse. They learn to either become extremely resilient or they die. I was very resilient, a true survivor. Oh!
So that was the first gift I recognized. Then I saw how brilliant and creative some of my devices were for coping and surviving situations that were less than nurturing, to say the least. And I was grateful that I was taught by those experiences to think creatively and outside the box. And that was freeing. The more recovery work I do and the longer I stay in this process, the more wonderful it is to see what I thought was “done TO me” truly has always been what was “done FOR me.” Thank you so much!