Hi, my name is (_), and I’m in recovery from the denial, abandonment, fear, self-hatred and shame that I internalized from the emotional abuse and neglect I survived in my family of origin.
These aspects of family dysfunction are equally present and destructive, whether substance abuse or physical abuse was present or not.
They have taken from me the ability to initiate and cope with change in order to grow and thrive.
They have caused a complete paralysis in my life – an on-going internal crisis of identity, humiliation, dependency and the will to live.
I am in recovery from the False Self I created to survive my childhood — the Self that acts with such deeply rooted compulsiveness that my very survival has come to depend on it.
In this state, I have lost all hope, and continued the cycle of denial and emotional dishonesty that have led me here to this room.
I am in recovery to name the dysfunction that was normalized, and end the cycle; to find the will to live, to learn to initiate and embrace change and to learn this thing called self-loving behaviour.
I am bare, and vulnerable; separating from my False Self is like tearing the flesh from the bone. Without my false self, I feel annihilated; but this is no more painful than the isolation and failures I have endured.
The road of recovery and the road of continued dysfunction are equally menacing. I am humbled. I surrender to the annihilation, and the space it makes for the Inner Self to become un-frozen and resume its path of growing and serving.
I cannot say that my childhood was perfect, loving or uneventful and then act out with compulsive self-sabotage and paralysis in life. Sober, well-meaning parents of all races and classes can pass on the root of dysfunction, which is multi-generational. This kind of suffering cannot be un-founded or fabricated. The belief that I am making a big deal out of nothing has kept me in this dysfunction.
I come out of denial and put my feet on the ground as a survivor. When the wound is made real, I can know where to heal.
I wrote Rob to ask his permission to post this masterpiece on addiction. His response was, “Sure! Sounds good. Rowdy blessings, Rob Brezsny.”
Your Addiction is Your Ally
— by Rob Brezny
Your addiction is obstructing you from your destiny, and yet it’s also your ally.
What?! How can both be true?
On the downside, your addiction diverts your energy from a deeper desire that it superficially resembles. For instance, if you’re an alcoholic, your urge to get loaded may be an inferior substitute for and a poor imitation of your buried longing to commune with spirit.
On the upside, your addiction is your ally, because it dares you to get strong and smart enough to wrestle free of its grip; it pushes you to summon the uncanny willpower necessary to defeat the darkness within you that saps your ability to follow the path with heart.
(P.S. Don’t tell me you have no addictions. Each of us is addicted to some sensation, feeling, thought, or action, if not to an actual substance.)
Extol your sublime, painful addiction—celebrate it to death. Ride it, spank it, kiss it, whip it.
EXTREME TRIGGER WARNING
what am i afraid of happening again, why I struggle to trust life again, to live again. all the stakes that were so high. all the secrets i was holding:
i am praying for my friend this morning. the police are looking for him, for damage to his parents’ property in a fit of rage. he has never let his feelings show, never been arrested. he is the father of 3 in the midst of a divorce. he called me this morning and asked if he could come for a visit before running away. said he was going to hide his cell phone in a safe place first, hasn’t shown yet, an hour later.
i was barely awake when we spoke. i said it sounded like he was taking a time out, rather than running away. i wish i’d urged him more to come and connect. now he is out in the world without any money, or phone.
i pray that this be the bottom he needs to surrender, and that he survive it. i affirm that love is in action, always, in all circumstances; and that his higher power is looking over him, bringing him to love.
i have no way of contacting him. the only possible action i can think of is to report to the law that he is up Island. would that be a loving act, or one of co-dependency. i give this question to my own higher power, and put it out to those i trust. i welcome your guidance. is there an action that is asked of me?
Maybe I am only seeing myself everywhere, but I have found myself in a recurring conversation lately. I keep seeing so many people around me saying one thing and doing another — saying they are exhausted, but not able to slow down. It’s like a permanent state of being that has become the norm … this is in raw format, maybe a little preachy, but here is my recurring conversation:
No one in their right mind was going to tell me to walk away …. from the awesome work I had done to create a society … from a $30,000 National Leadership Award … from a marriage … from a career …. No one in their right mind was going to tell me I needed to stop trying to be so strong and consider reaching out for some help and taking some time to heal.
In my experience, all of life’s catastrophes happen when we don’t listen to the inner voice and find the support in ourselves and others to act on it — often against all things rational, logical, and practical.
You don’t have to keep up with the person your ego says you are, or other people think you are; you have to be true to the authentic voice evolving in you, each and every day, despite what your ego and others might think.
If you had cancer, or you lost a leg, would you still have to do this, or that, or that, or that? Stress and exhaustion kill just as cancer does; so why do we treat them so differently?
When we experience connection and child-like joy, we are generating more of it in the world; this is how we create change. This is what the world needs more of. Where there is no space for spontaneity, connection and joy, there is no space for the Universe to work it’s magic, and no change can come. When we sacrifice these things for what we think is a greater cause, we are shooting ourselves and our purpose in the foot and spinning our wheels pointlessly.”
I’ll leave you today with a video I have posted before, but it’s so fitting with this post. It’s called ‘Growing is Forever,’ but I might rename it something like ‘What Trees Know’. Please take a moment to slow down, press play, and take this in:
I was talking about ego with a family member last night, and our discussion led me to thinking about Step One:
Step One: We admitted we were powerless over others — that our lives had become unmanageable.
As I tucked myself into bed, I wrote this translation:
- I acknowledge that I am unhappy in life, or that I simply want more from it.
- I acknowledge the shame I feel in this, accept that my ego is in a place of defeat and embrace the unknowingness of this place.
- I let my ego fall, along with everything it has created.
- I let go of what I think I need and want and who I think I am or expect myself to be.
- I face the seeming emptiness in the absence of all this.
- I am no longer too proud to ask for help.
- I love myself as a child, in this state of surrender, in this state of pure being.
- I don’t have to achieve anything or be anything to be worthy to be of value.
- I am not my achievements or my failures, but a vessel for them, as expressions of the wonder of life in everyone.
- I recover my innocence.
- I am regressing to this state to mend and grow like a seed in the ground.
- The earth is quiet and dark and moist. I have everything I need here, and I am safe. Existence is simple. I am.
Another CoDA member spoke one time about how when we ask for things from our higher power, the crucial thing is that we ask with the heart of a child; and I thought there, that is what recovery is all about. Because often times, in order to find that child’s heart, there is a lot that has happened, a lot of pain felt. We are in recovery to recover the Child’s Heart.
I’ll leave you with something I wrote about ego, several months ago, while I was doing Step Three:
Everything ego-based eventually comes tumbling down — everything we attempt to hide is inevitably and relentlessly exposed. The solution is to stop hiding it. Nothing can bring us to our knees if we are already there.” – October 16, 2011
- Memoirs of an Ego: When Keeping it Real Goes Quiet! (memoirsofanempress.wordpress.com)
- Doing No Thing, a Path Past Ego Death (horizonsofsignificance.wordpress.com)
- I am not my ego (mypurplefridays.wordpress.com)
- Dear Ego, I Release You (myweirdassdreams.wordpress.com)
i’ve been devouring this book, sent to me by a dear friend who knows how to listen to her intuition.
these quotes taken from the book Original Self: Living with Paradox and Originality by Thomas Moore struck me in the place that CoDA does, and in the place that all deep witnessing does. radical honesty, acceptance. Radical Love:
Discovering with unlimited empathy the ways people are human, we become the person we would hope to be.
(…) Both Shakespeare and archetypal psychology take their power from their capacity to reveal what we all know, if we were only to think openly enough, about the fundamentals of human life. If we could live from that deep place of recognition, we might allow ourselves the beauty of our eccentricity and tolerate in others their efforts to find their souls in the odd collection of emotions, fantasies, and behaviors that form the raw material of a human life.
We go on living when meaning fails and when we don’t get it right. We go on in the presence of mortification, a word that means simply “death-making,” and we become who we are destined to be as much through the death-making as the life-making. Success and happiness are impossible without the continuous nudge of death. Living through our mortifications is the coupon for vitality and the ticket home.
Fame and achievement may not be our destiny. It may be sufficient to be here, to open our hearts, take in what is offered, make our contribution at whatever level is granted, and gracefully depart. In any case, I am not the one who should be worried about the planning, for each life seems to have come equipped with its own tempo and timetable.
Modern psychology tries to tell us that we are constantly developing creatures, but I prefer to think of us as seasonal beings. We have our summers of sunny pleasure and our winters of discontent, our springtimes of renewal and our autumns of necessary decay. We are essentially rhythmic, musical. As the ancients used to say, our emotions are in orbit, like the planets. Patterns that define us return again and again, and in these returns we find our substance and our continuity, our original nature and our identity.