28 August 2007

Deep, dark secrets

Today's entry from Daily Reflections:
Lightening the Burden

Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now.... the dark past is... the key to life and happiness for others.

Since I have been sober, I have been healed of many pains: deceiving my partner, deserting my best friend, and spoiling my mother's hopes for my life. In each case someone in the program told me of a similar problem, and I was able to share what happened to me. When my story was told, both of us got up with lighter hearts.
Backlit Silhouette of a man typing at a computer in front of Venetian blindsThis remains one of the great miracles of the program: that by working the steps the horror of my past has been diminished and has even become a useful tool for helping others. Like so many of us, I had deep, dark secrets that I carried for decades, intending to keep them hidden from view forever.

Of course, I knew about them. When I drank, I could momentarily forget them. At the same time, drunk, I was often adding to the list of horrors that I didn't want to face. And when I wasn't drunk, I also knew that God knew.

Today, the guilt and shame are not gone. But they've been greatly diminished, so much so that I've shared the scariest and most disturbing of this history with more than one person (though I try to do so only when it seem called for, not exhibitionistically1): a sponsor, therapists, my wife2 and others. I have to assume this has primarily been a result of working Steps 4, 5, 8 and 9.

It's nice to think that I won't be sharing my coffin with these horrors. ☺

1 Is this really a word? Blogger didn't flag is as misspelled, though I can't find it on Bartleby.com.

2 I'm certainly not recommending this. At times I reget it. At other times, when I reflect on it, I'm happy I did. Be careful, be very, very careful!


Trudging said...

Isn't it great to find those "deep dark ones" are not such a big deal afterall.

Al-Anon Lifer said...

Hmmm... guilt and shame. We talked about that at a meeting this last month - the difference between the two. Shame, as I understand it, is how we feel about who we are. Guilt is about what we've done. I've been told I can forgive a person without forgiving what they've done; likewise, I have been forgiven and as such, my shame has shriveled to nothing. Through working the steps and making amends, my guilt has been removed. Just for today, though, just for today...

sharonsjourney said...

We have the responsibility to share our past with others, in order to help them, & ourselves.

I still have guilt & shame about my past. Especially the hurt I caused my family, esp. my mother, who is gone now, I was able to make some of my amends & mend our relationship, but more has been revealed since her death, that I can only write her a letter, & talk to her spirit. I don't know that I'll ever not hurt from the harm i did to her. Same with my brother, who died prematurely from alcoholism, I wasn't able to make amends to him.
I'm finishing up on my 4th step, so that stuff is coming up, big time. I am told that with the rest of the steps, some, at least, of the guilt & shame will be lifted. I hope so, it's hard to live with this.
Great post! Thanks for sharing.

Shadow said...

so very true. a secret only has a hold on you until it is in the open. the same with guilt.

Frum Jew in Recovery said...

I am getting alot out of this.
I am just at the beggining of this journey so that people like you have a way of turning around my day from dark to light.

I hope to take more advantage of so many tools that are there.

All the best, Abe