Serenity arises out automatic in consequence of understanding and comprehension.

Dr. David R. Hawkins

Where My Recovery Starts

An Honest Examination of my Shadow

In genuine recovery it is essential to take a self moral inventory of your strengths and weaknesses in order to move forward towards acceptance and forgiveness.

Accepting myself and forgiving myself are tall orders when operating with a low self esteem as a result of years of emotional and spiritual sickness. Some of the main symptoms of this insecurity are worry, anger, self-pity, and depression.

It was frightening and intimidating being new to recovery to face these issues. The shadow is very dark. It seems that shadow continually will present itself in my daily experience if it has not been dealt with fearlessly.

Writing on paper to see it tangibly is potent psychologically. Who really wants to face their dark side? Once I can accept where I came from and share it with another human being, it is a releasing and freeing gift to the spirit that allows me to sustain and maintain long term sobriety and soundness of mind.

The expression “over analysis is paralysis,” comes to mind initially when confronting my past and present circumstances. It is imperative and required for lasting recovery to face my inventory and persevere in spite of it anyway.

I’m reminded of an example of a bag of apples I purchased recently. I put them in the refrigerator without inspecting them and washing them until I opened the bag for use. Well, I did not notice the one bruised apple which quickly festered into a rotten state that caused damage to the other apples.

The same is true of not viewing and examining my past mistakes and my part in them. They can also blend into other areas of my life and hold me back from the Truth that is in me.

It is the meaning that I attach to an experience which will become my attitude and thus the reality I will operate from.

Given this knowledge, it is vital to clearly evaluate what a particular life experience meant to me and my development. I have the power to choose the meaning based on my understanding or perception of the events of my life. It is imperative to not lie to myself, but it is also wise to not label an experience or person, or perception with false mis-representations.

My personal experience as a using alcoholic was based on my lack of spiritual integration and poor self image with my real self.

I was spiritually and mentally distorted. Alcohol was so cunning that I always felt in control. I wasn’t consistent in my thoughts, words and interactions with others. I prayed only in crisis. I had always believed in a God of my understanding. My faith now has transferred into a knowing Trust. I don’t need to know all because I’ve surrendered all knowing.

I can still be consumed in the self, which leads to self-importance, self-pity, low self-esteem and self-worth. Through the process of honestly examining my life, I am more aware of my intentions and motives. With this understanding, it is easier for me to forgive my character defects and move forward knowing that I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to be is honest with myself and attempt to do my best.

Learning is remembering, so if I can remember where I fell, it makes it easier for me to get back up.

I have learned that the spiritual journey is a happening. It is all about feeling, dealing, and healing in the present moment. By understanding and practicing self-love, self-compassion and self-care, I have come to grips with my true authentic self. I accept the person I am today and the person I am becoming. I forgive myself. I release the need to replay a negative situation over and over again in my mind. I am no longer a hostage to my past, rather a host to God and others.

I don’t dwell on what should have, or could have been. I release it and let it go. It is a willingness to be open to life that has made the shift.

Move forward. Never regret a day of your life.  Good days bring happiness. Bad days bring experience. The worst days give lessons, and the best days give memories. 

Although it can be hard, use your past experiences as learning lessons.  They have shaped you and strengthened your resolve to be the person you are today. Your present evaluation of this experience is shaping your future circumstances.

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