Monday, November 23, 2009

Continued To Take Personal Inventory...

...and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

When first faced with this Step, I had visions of flaying myself in front of other people, the same way I did inside my head. It's not about self-castigation, although I can get lost down that sideroad quite easily if I'm in HALT, or stressed out.

It's about honesty - examining my motives without the rose-colored glasses I'm tempted to don, when viewing my own behavior. I can always find a reason for which it makes perfect sense that I behaved that way; what I need to keep in the forefront of my mind, is that what I describe as "perfect sense" may, when viewed objectively, not be so clear-cut, or so defensible.

In my early twenties, I had a friend who loved to debate. I'd make some wildly sweeping remark, and he'd look at me for a moment, then command, "Argue your point!" Meaning, don't just plunk down that nicely polished finished result of a statement: show me how you got from A to B, and be prepared to have some good bulwarks supporting that judgemental pronouncement, or be swept away downstream with the force of his side of the argument. He'd never let me get away with anything; I learned to temper my statements in his presence.

My first sponsor also did this - she called me to account, and left me no wiggle-room. I had days where I hated her for that. When I had more years of recovery, I confessed that feeling to her, and she fell about laughing - she'd known it all the time. She told me I had a way of pressing my lips together and narrowing my eyes that was a clear indication that she was infuriating me.  She would know she was hitting home with whatever observations she was making, by the level of my annoyance. She joked it was like having one of those "you are HERE" signs one finds in malls, with arrows pointing to various destinations.

I was a well-defended individual when I entered Al-Anon; finding the way to my inner self was no easy task, and some days, I despaired of ever reaching my goal of rigorous honesty with myself.

I can't kid myself to the same extent anymore, and some days, I miss being able to, I won't deny it. Life was easier when my behavior was the fault of someone else. When the only person responsible for my behavior is me, I have nowhere to hide from myself or others. I'm out there without the mask of pretense, or the cloak of self-justification.

1 comment:

  1. So true about looking at my part and not pointing the finger at anyone else. It is crucial to my recovery that I take responsibility.