We have learned that complete willingness to make amends to ourselves and to forgive ourselves or past mistakes has been essential to our recovery. ~ Anon
I know this goes against the grain for most people who perceive self-love to be selfish and self-centered, but believe me when I say, that unless we love ourselves unconditionally and accept ourselves with no ifs or buts, we will struggle with ego based problems such as judgmentalism, fear, social insecurity, etc. How do we go about this thing called “living amends.” There are certain things we say to ourselves in our heads and out loud, that if said to another person, would be grounds for a law suit for defamation of character or outright abuse.
So, how does one overcome this self-abuse? The first thing is to catch ourselves in the act. In other words, jot down each time a negative thing falls out of your mouth or pops into your head, as an example: “I’m stupid”, or “there I go screwing up again.” Once you have a few on paper, identify a positive affirmation to counter what was said or thought. And put the word “absolutely” in front of it. For instance, “I am absolutely smart enough.” I find it helpful to write these each day, until the falsehood is removed. Another tactic that works, is to catch yourself in the act, and then correct it on the spot. I did this once in the middle of a sentence. The person I was speaking to chuckled at my affirmation and said, “I agree!” Be kind and gentle especially to yourself. As one friend says, “I have to be on my own team.”
I still believe that love s all you need. I don’t know a better message than that.
~ Sir Paul McCartney
We learn in step #7 that low self-esteem is the opposite end of egotism.
E.G.O. = Edging G.O.D. Out. Both low self-esteem and egotism keep us apart from others and the solutions found in working the steps. When we buy into the notion that we are nothing, that we are the mistake when we make mistakes, and that we are not good enough; we are actually grabbing the reins and playing a god. We are harming our opportunity to know what is is to be truly loved and accepted. It is a soul sickness. I know society tells us differently, but wise person once said, “It is no sign of mental health to be normal in a sick society.”~ anon
It is estimated that over 70% of families in modern day society are effected by at least one addictive process. How can we expect to know how to be and act “normal” when most of us never witnessed this in our childhoods? I do not blame parents. Most folks can only give what they were given. Our task going forward is to avail ourselves of the solutions offered in the 12 Step of AA program. While we are busy attending meetings and doing service, the disease of alcoholism is out there in the hallway doing one arm push ups. We have our work cut out for us. Newcomers need sponsorship and a place to heal. Be the voice of recovery. One person at a time, we can stem the tide of generational pain. Love is all we need.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of this Beatles hit. It took me back to my teens when my biggest concerns were grades, fitting in, and high school angst. I started drinking to escape my reality, oil the social wheels, and to have power in my life. Funny how we become dependent on the very thing that causes us the greatest level of pain. In the 60’s it was all about dropping out, making love not war, and rebelling against whatever the establishment demanded of us. It was great time to be young. Our generation brought about many great changes. But, not all of us made it out without scars and addictions.
People come to AA for many reasons. Mine was a spiritual awareness that happened without my permission. It was an awakening that for me was enough to pay attention to. I just knew that I did not want to die of this disease, even though I may die as a result of it. There are after all consequences for years of self harm. My living amends to myself is years of self love and self care. All I need is love: the love a HP, AA, and sponsorship/fellowship. What do you need in life?