My part in the recovery process required me to become more honest with myself, God and other people. This was a slow and difficult process, but as I did it, I began to experience a new closeness with friends and a respect for myself that I had never had before. This new way of relating to others felt strange in the beginning, but it also felt good. It was like I was being baptized into a new and better world. By admitting my faults and vulnerabilities to people who could understand and empathize with my experience, I was able to rise above the sense of condemnation I learned as a child.
The ‘getting honest’ part of my recovery work transformed my self-disgust into a compassionate regard for myself and my own life experience. Allowing other people to know my mistakes and vulnerabilities helped me experience the relational acceptance I needed. Listening without judgment or criticism, they modeled to me the grace and acceptance I didn’t get at home. This lightened the burden of shame and guilt I felt, which encouraged me to become even more honest still. But there was more to this experience. I started to feel lightness in my heart, and even, at times, found humor in the things that once threatened my health and my safety. I could accept and laugh at myself like never before. I was on a new path which was leading me out of isolation and fear of the past to a newfound sense of wholeness and honest friendship with others. This honest and transparent way of recovery brought me authentic, burden-bearing friendships I previously thought were not going to be possible for someone like me.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”
Matthew 5:5 MSG
This is an excerpt from When Lost Men Come Home, not for men only copyright, david zailer 2012
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