Saturday, May 23, 2009


My dictionary defines shame as:

"The painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another."

This was not the case for me, when I came into Al-Anon. I didn't feel ashamed for what I did, I felt ashamed about who I was. I believed what I'd been told about myself in early childhood, when our sense of self is formed - that I was deeply flawed in my character: that I didn't deserve to live: that I was a bad person. Before Al-Anon, I just accepted these ideas as facts, without ever having challenged them, and I felt a deep sense of shame.

In Al-Anon, I was told that I have value simply because I exist. I don't have to prove my worthiness through people-pleasing, or striving to achieve what someone else wants from me - I am already worthy. I struggled mightily with this idea; it was utterly foreign to all that I had ever thought, (or accepted without thinking.) I had to take it on faith.

I am notoriously absentminded - before Al-Anon, I felt great shame about this. I saw it as careless, selfish, self-absorbed, inconsiderate; all manner of negative connotations, did I associate with this aspect of my character.

My first sponsor taught me to accept that if I don't make a note, I will most likely forget. Period. End of sentence. No need to add any negativity to this observation. Let the rest go. Let go of wanting to be one of those persons with a steel-trap memory, let go of berating myself for forgetting, let go of wanting to be that which I'm not.
And never will be. I'm an artist, and because of this, am often dreaming of the creation I am working on, or trying to figure out how to get a certain effect in the next project. This doesn't mean I have less value than someone capable of holding (and retrieving) their monthly schedule in their head - we are just different. One doesn't have to be "more," and the other "less."

The world needs the super-efficient, and the world needs artist/dreamers. We are all of value, we all matter. I don't need to feel shame for the way my Higher Power has made me.
Al-Anon has taught me to find humour in my absentmindedness, and to share the funny stories with those around me - we can always use a good laugh.

1 comment:

  1. You are right that there is room for differences in this world. I used to be much more efficient. Now I'm more dreamy than I used to be. Maybe recovery has something to do with this.