3 September 2009

Shame on me?

I've been writing about my recovery coach training today and was reminded of one of the ways in which it has deeply affected me. Over the course of the year, I gradually let go of the last remnants of shame which were attached to thoughts of my old way of life - living with an active addiction... or two. Shame seems almost inherent in the recovery process - and in the addictive cycle also. I'd like to be clear here. I'm not referring to situations where a person has been attacked or violated and shame has manifested as a consequence of this trauma.

I'm referring to the overwhelming feeling of shame which follows an excruciating realisation of inappropriate actions, behaviours, words and even feelings which can be enough to propel the individual back into the addictive not-so-merry-go-round and keep him/her there in Groundhog Day for months, if not years [or, indeed, decades], with feeble grasps at recovery here and there until, one day, the shame can be faced.. and the truth [and pain] exorcised and, if one is fortunate enough, accepted. I don't mean this in terms of external validation but rather self-acceptance.

Of course it's important to be accepted by those important to us but accepting our own faults and mistakes, taking the learning from these situations and using them to help us understand today's difficulties can help to set us free from the bonds of shame, self-loathing and misery which keep us in 'lower self' thinking and do not permit us the freedom to reach the loftier heights of healthy self-esteem, self-confidence, calmness and self-belief.

After all, as a great man once told me... 'That's why they put rubbers on the end of pencils... because we ALL make mistakes!". Shame on me? Not any more...

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