I gained some pretty deep insight today. My recent blog on the stigma of addiction and some current events in my own life got me thinking and meditating. Usually things “percolate” for a couple days and I start to understand what I’m to learn. Here goes…
When I started this blog, I wanted it to be totally anonymous — no name, no connections, no sending this to friends, no links. My initial reasoning was to keep this focused on recovery & telling stories, not me and my ego. First pebble…e-diaries (blogging).
As things evolved, I shared this with a couple close friends in recovery…and then briefly put a link on my Facebook. So much for anonymity. Why? Part of this journey is about re-discovering myself. Yes, it’s a journal to look back on and a way to share stories. But in writing, like in verbalizing thoughts, ideas become real. I get to “try them on for size” — shape them, reflect and connect. I find it to be a helpful part of my spiritual journey. As ideas take shape, I believe my Higher Power uses the words on paper or shared in conversation to breath life into my recovery and give me the guidance I seek. In one sense, it’s like action — writing, speaking, acting validates (or invalidates) thoughts & ideas and creates reality.
As part of that discovery process, I’m beginning to accept myself as a creative person who is able to sometimes connect ideas in such a way that they resonate with others. My elementary school teacher and I recently reconnected on Facebook and he shared memories of my time in 5th and 6th grade:
I can clearly see how you let your imagination flow in some of your creative writing. In fact, when I moved to the Education Centre as a consultant, I used a sample of your writing to model the writing process, especially the freewriting stage when you let your imagination and words flow freely to paper.
With that discovery and acceptance, I felt more comfortable sharing my blog with others. Second pebble…exposure.
This past week, I made some real headway in certain aspects of my addiction and recovery. The topic I wanted to write about was cross-addiction. For the first time in 90 days, I’ve broken through a wall of shame, compulsion and loneliness that was very freeing. But, as I got ready to write about this – I started to wonder about what people would think. It turns out (surprise!), the anonymity in the beginning was also providing me a “shield” — or more like the lack of a shield — the absence of a mask! Like much of my life and relationships, I’ve always felt more comfortable being direct / honest with strangers; always been better at giving constructive feedback or sharing anger with people I don’t know. But for those I know and/or love, I worry about how that might impact our relationship or what they might think of me. So, I sometimes hold back…I find the right mask to wear…I lose some of my genuineness. In doing so, I lose who I am…I lose my voice. That’s a slipper slope for me as that’s where I was when I “hit bottom.” Those normal ways of interacting started to come back into play. I started to edit my thoughts and was afraid to even get into much detail about my breakthrough. Third pebble…my ego.
NOW I understand this book I’m reading on a more personal level. It makes sense. Ego gets in the way of our connection, our relationships with our Higher Power and with other people. I don’t believe I’m being cocky or arrogant — the “egotistical” stereotype in my head. But, the minute my “self” gets in the way of connecting with others, I’m just as ego-centric as that guy! Self-centered. Doesn’t mean I’m “all about me” and not mindful of others, caring or sensitive. It just means I’m at the center…my ego is driving my actions – in this case, I’m holding back, afraid of…
Case in point – what started as a genuine desire out of gratitude and humility to share my writing — as well as a self-interest in the discovery process as described above — is now stifled, cut off, masked by my ego…my concern for what others think. I’m losing the benefit I was seeking from the blogs, and am falling back into old patterns of wearing masks and being less than “real” with people I love and who love me. Stinking thinking…old patterns…not the change I’m seeking in my recovery. Not the self I want to discover…shape…grow. And isn’t that the whole point of this?
Now the waves start…the pebbles form a pattern, a rhythm. I get it.
God help me ride the wave and grow in ability to stay in conscious contact with You and others by moving me out of the way. Help me to tear away the masks and in doing so also stay humble…simply remaining open to the possibility, open to the wave, open to being a channel of your peace and love…then stepping away from the center and leaving the outcome to you.