Here is the latest share from Melissa on her journey of sobriety. For those that don't know I am a very big supporter of AA and the steps because they have been a proven system to help an addict with addiction. It is a lifelong journey and Melissa does an amazing job of sharing the journey. Step four is one of the most important steps for an addict and I love her share on this. Click HERE to check out more from Melissa and her blog that she does as she shares her journey into sobriety.
I am having a hard time today. This morning I was frolicking on pink clouds, and by the late afternoon, it felt like I was carrying twenty thousand tons on my back.
Hi, my name is Melissa, and I am a recovering alcoholic/addict.
Throughout the day I have thought I could use a stiff one, maybe a cigarette, maybe take some drugs. I let go of those thoughts as quickly as they came, because I have no desire to check out of life right now or go into a relapse, but it just showed me again how real Step Four is. I actually relapsed a few weeks ago at the mere thought of the fearless moral inventory. It is the step I was told from Day One of the program it is the hardest.
This morning my sponsor was walking me through the process of writing out my lists of resentments, and I was feeling pretty good, very optimistic. As the day went along, little things happened that affected me, small things, and my body started feeling super tense, and like it just needed to unload, to cry it all out. So what’s the deal with Step Four? Someone once asked me at a meeting I was visiting, when I had opened up and said I wanted to wait one more week before I started that Step, “Don’t you want to run at Step Four?”
Trust me, I do. I want to run at it with vigor and intent, and honesty. For the last five hours I have literally felt as scared and nervous as ever, but not in emotional aggression, but more emotional ambiguity. If that doesn’t quite make sense I will talk further. Two weekends ago I went on this hike with some friends in Whiteshell, Manitoba. Our trail was starting to edge on the Canadian shield, so we had to climb a lot of boulders that moved up and down in the terrain. For most of the hike, I was very emotionally full, talkative, kind of hyper, giggly, all that fun stuff. I experienced moments of stress and doubt as well. These emotions cause our bodies to feel pretty full, our minds full of thoughts. In these spaces, we can think of five thoughts at once. Then I could come across a steep incline, a slippery rock surface, a high jump, and suddenly all of my thoughts and intense emotions vanished in an instant. Fear had made me present, fear had made space for only singular thought and emotional ambiguity.
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So what’s the deal with Step Four? Why I am in this strange space of the middle ground, and the open space as I prepare to start this inventory tomorrow?
I’ve suffered most of my life with extremely low self-esteem, like the bottom of the barrel self-esteem. Like somebody would say in elementary school “You’re weird”, or “You talk too much”, or “You’re not that good at drawing”, and I would just believe them. Or later in my life during the turbulence of my early twenties, I was in an abusive relationship, emotionally and sexually, and he would always talk down to me, and I would believe him. He raped me more than once. I drank a lot when I was with him. The physical allergy bit me when I was with him. I submit to my bully, and that’s why it took me a few months into the program to shake that mental obsession with alcohol.
I’ve struggled most of my life deeply believing I am not a good person. I had things said to me in my younger years that shaped a bad image of myself in my head. Despite the positive qualities I possess, I have only seen the bad. I guess that’s why I thought I only deserved to ever stay in situations that were harmful to me. I’ve had some self-esteem for a couple weeks-ish (emphasis on ish), and now I must look at all of these things about myself that aren’t so rosy.
A glimmer of hope through today as I have had to work through most of these feelings on my own.
I am an illustrator and writer and currently, I am developing a series of children’s books inspired by my personal experiences with Buddhist teachings, and what I am learning from mindfulness, and meditation. One of the characters is based on what I looked like at age four or five. One of my friends asked me a few months ago where I was in my art, as in where was the illustrated version of myself in the work. This question nearly stunned me, as drawing myself was never something I even remotely considered doing. I didn’t think I was beautiful or special enough to become a character in my work. My nose is big, it has a hook on top, it’s crooked from an accident I had in elementary school. I have Adam’s apple, a small chin, ears that stick out, mousy colored hair, eyes that squint when I smile, a couple teeth that aren’t straight. Why in heaven’s name would I draw myself? I did end up drawing myself (this friend has a way of encouraging me to do things that terrify me, and then I do them), and it turned out to be more enjoyable then I thought.
So, bringing it back to this small version of myself. I love drawing my small self. When I see her on paper she makes me smile. Here is where my revelation came. I possessed all of the same character defects today as I did when I was four or five. When I was small and wide-eyed, I still saw the beauty in everything, even in myself. I talked in my last blog that me having obsessive tendencies towards certain things does not make up all of me, so do my defects make up all of me? I don’t think so. That is my old way of thinking still trying to make it’s way back, and today that way of thinking had to totally die today. If I fundamentally believe I am wholly a horrible person that would be pretty tragic, but I don’t. If a piece of art has no visible defects or flaws, it usually has no texture, honesty, or beauty to it, it just feels manufactured. The flaws make it human.
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An artist who is focused on improving their craft and artistic progress will openly admit all their work if full of defects, and flaws. Some artists will never admit their work has faults and will stay defensive about their work, but at the cost of their work not experiencing the profound metamorphosis the open-minded artist will have. The open-minded artist also knows that the defects in their work are ones to be mindful of, vigilant with, so that over time, those defects in their creations help them make total changes in approaches in techniques, or be less prominent. Milt Kahl, the best animator to work at the Disney Studios, certainly the best draftsman, always drilled his trainee’s to bring it back to the basics every day. When you look through all of his work, you can see he had a full grasp of the basic principles of animation. Every day, I need to go back to basics. 1) I am powerless over alcohol and my life is unmanageable. 2) Willing to believe a power greater then myself can restore me back to sanity. 3) Willing to turn my life over to God as I understand him.
This is a great share by Melissa on step four and what the meaning behind it is and that for an addict it really is one day at a time. Sharing is everything and knowing we are not alone in our journey is everything, it's about finding the tools we know to continue forward. If you have a share that you want us to post in our blogs click HERE and let us know because we never know who our words will reach and help.
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