I have been working on Step Four since November.
My one-sentence description of Step Four is:
A list of all the things that keep me from feeling good in the world, the core beliefs that have created them, the responses that have fortified those core beliefs, and the effect they have had on my connection with others, myself and the Universe.
CoDA’s workbook has a series of questions for each step that I worked through, which took me the majority of the time between November and now. Some of the questions evoked immense confusion and illuminated some of the deepest pain in me.
Having worked through those, a few at each meeting with my Sponsor, I then began a collection of photos, letters and journal writings that served as tangible examples of my core beliefs in action. I called this collection, “How I Betrayed Myself.” It also includes examples of aspects of me and my life that give me a sense of pride and well-being, as this is an important part of Step Four. The word ‘inventory’ implies and includes accomplishments and positive aspects, as much as the challenges we face.
I have shared this collection with my Sponsor. It has left me in a place of honoring the last year of my life before I broke — the inner voice that I was not able to respond to. Everything that brought me to that point — the responses and core beliefs I developed in childhood and how they played themselves out in my adult life. I am grieving the abandonment I created for my authentic self by not listening to her. I betrayed myself and fortified the experience of abandonment for her.
At my last meeting with my sponsor, I managed to regress myself to the feeling I had before I finally drove to the liquor store and share it with my sponsor. I grieved that I was too ashamed to ask for help. Too ashamed that I felt that way again, after everything I’d tried. I had failed again, and it felt like I’d exhausted all my friends and places to go. That has to be one of the worst feelings in the world. The difference for me now, is that now, I would know how to reach out for help by phoning the crisis line or a recovery friend, or taking myself to the hospital.
As the last part of my step 4, I’m going to post some writings from the pages of the notebook that I wrote everything I needed to write down in, during the last 6 months before my suicide attempt. Interspersed with to-do lists, and leadership notes and brainstorms on community leadership projects are random and in-congruent pages about the end of my marriage, and how my heart was really feeling — the voice I didn’t honour. So I am going to honour it here, and share it with you, in a series of posts.
The pages of this notebook are a tangible example of the sense of disparity between the two sides of me (see identity confusion / unstable sense of self). I’m wanting to validate for myself the degree and extremity of this disparity by this blogging process.
Here is a snapshot of what I looked like last year, in the last month before i put an end to it all … If anyone you know starts to look like this on any kind of regular basis, please remember me, and recognize the face of someone who may need your help. This is not a person who needs to keep thinking positively, keep faking it ’till they make it, or keep doing anything they are doing.
Thank you for reading, to all you deep and rich human beings out there. Luv Underground.
- Coda 12-Step: my own criteria (heartjunky.wordpress.com)
- Step One: finding the child’s heart (heartjunky.wordpress.com)
- what’s your broken record, shame & a step ten interpretation (heartjunky.wordpress.com)