A journey to embrace, explore, and honor the Freedom and Power inherent in active recovery.

No more shame...

No more shackles....

No more secrets.

The path--and the Power--are within. Be Free.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Owning my Stuff

Well, I pride myself on being as equally honest with self as I try to be
with the world. So I have to take my lumps and address a few things.

I absolutely believe there are things inherent in AA that are
in need of addressing. That has not changed. But I am more
cognizant of the fact that the vast majority of my animosity with
the program was directed at a single person who had 'hurt' me.

To be fair, I realize that I share most responsibility for that hurt. After all....
* I came in vulnerable and capable of being hurt
* I didn't respond to the warning signs
* I  accepted their opinion (criticisms and condemnations and dismissals)
of me as more valid than my own idea of me
* I did not defend my own boundaries.
* I did not refrain from going back for more after I felt the pain
* I did not confront or stand up to the person as immediately or as directly
as was my responsibility
* I probably am as guilty of the same things I blamed him for (defensiveness,
withholding, etc)
* I placed more demands on another person than they deserved

I do not, however, buy the AA philosophy that we are to shrink from
confrontation or ignore another's part. Yes, mine is the only part that I
have any power over. I still need to process a broken heart, to be angry.
But yes, refusing to allow it again is my full problem. Recognizing that
I may have caused hurt too has taken longer to see.

I have had an immensely painful time overcoming what I saw as betrayal,
and the possibility of opening up to anyone new has been whelming.

The answer is that being hurt is simply a given if you are alive. To
what extent you risk is equal to what extent you can be hurt, but
it is also equal to what extent you might experience the good stuff, too.

Without the possibility of becoming vulnerable to another person--
purely, surely, balls-out vulnerable and real--there is no advancement
of intimacy. We get what we give. So if we hide away and stay safe,
we also miss out on connection.

I think the person that bummed me out so bad thinks I created the
"AA-bashing" blog (as he calls it) as a means of getting back at him. Nothing
could be further from the truth. I so deeply associated his presentation
and his spirituality and his program as the same thing. (To be fair, if you
present yourself to hurting vulnerable people as having The Answer if
only they will listen to you, don't be surprised if they come to you.)
This has been my representation of AA for 2 years. As I failed to trust and
believe in him, much of that naturally spilled over into what he believed in
and promoted. For better or worse.

Yes, I was desperate, despairing, lonely, hurting, vulnerable, and weak.
That's pretty well the general state of folks who do come to the
fellowship. Yes, I am bitter, and yes, I do need to move on.

I wanted something to replace all that had been lost. I thought a friend could
help fill the void. The thing I needed was to turn to self and learn self-reliance.
The thing I needed was to face the pain and learn my lessons, but I instead
sought comfort in promises and affections. Another person can never provide
answers or comfort to us. It isn't their job, it isn't smart to need or want
that deeply.
What is the separation between forgiving, yet being cautious enough
to not get screwed again? How do you find balance in moving on and
being emotionally receptive to the new, and yet not be weak and foolish?

How do we learn to forgive entirely, accepting that others are doing their
best with what they know and are capable of?

How do I learn to trust in life and people and remove my dark thoughts
from sabotaging things or keeping distance?

I'm learning. I'm trying. I'm searching.

I don't want to be guilty of the very things I condemn. Sometimes the
way we see is so deeply altered by the story we think we know, nothing
else is possible. Sometimes we forget that others have defenses, too,
and they're there for a reason. Getting angry over things not being what I
want them to be only furthers hurt-- it doesn't relieve it.

Today, let me work for reconciliation. I don't want a life filled with
conflict and regret. Peace.

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