Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Complete Honesty

From the ODAT, page 105:

"Knowing that only complete honesty will bring me to self-understanding, I pray that my Higher Power will help me guard against deceiving myself."

When I came into Al-Anon, I was very skilled at self-deception. I had a convoluted rationalisation for each of my behaviors, and all roads led back to the alcoholic. If only he would not do this, then I wouldn't need to do that.

Complete honesty can be excruciating, since it requires that we let go of our justifications for what we do, and admit that we are making choices.

For me, humour smooths the way. Life, and some of my own thinking, becomes funnier the longer I'm in 12-step. I've sat at meeting tables, spoken whatever was on my mind, (sometimes thinking it was quite meaningful,) and had the disconcerting response of everyone at the table bursting into laughter.

The first few times this happened, I was mortally offended. This must have been obvious to the other members, as some were quick to reassure me that they were laughing only because they too had experienced "that sort of insane thinking."

Insane thinking? (that was an idea whose time had come.) Until then, I hadn't ever considered that my thinking was anything but "normal" or "reasonable," it was the drinker who was insane. Al-Anon was offering me a message I wasn't certain I wanted to accept - that I was also bonkers, in my own way.

Complete honesty requires several things from me:

- acceptance of the likelihood that I can be/may be/am, mistaken in how I see a situation, or myself.
- willingness to at least entertain the idea, that doing it differently doesn't negate me as a person.
- belief that if I am honest, I open myself to the possibility of change, and with change, relief.

Looking back, I can say that complete honesty in my 4th steps, has allowed me to uncover aspects of my character which have made me cringe in shame and embarassment. I have also discovered things of which I can feel proud, and satisfied. It's a mixed bag. I want to be able to see all of myself, not just the latter.

Talking to program people about my own character defects, has given us some of the best laughing fits I've ever had in my life. That's a bonus I'd never have considered, when I started this recovery journey.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, if I can see the humor in life, I can work through the darkest moments. Step Four made me realize my defects as well as my assets. I do have a sense of humor and if I remember it on those days when things seem dark, then I can get back to the light.