I look back over my time in recovery and I can see that I’ve changed. I am not the same person, thankfully, that walked into a meeting room seven years ago. If I continue to follow the program, then I will be a different person in another seven years. If I want to grow I have to change. If I am going to change I have to be willing to let go of the old me and trust my Higher Power’s plan for the new me.
“Every next level of your life will require a different you.” Leonardo Dicaprio
This, for me, is the essence of Steps Six and Seven. A willingness to let go of character traits that made me and an acceptance of who I am becoming. It is taking the next step toward life and embracing changes. Everyone in recovery can look back at their lives and be amazed at how they have changed. This change can continue if we allow it but it means a continued willingness to let go of who I am. If a ship changes course only one degree, it won’t be far off its original course the next day. But as time goes on, that course it is further and further from where if might have otherwise been.
When I arrive at a meeting room, I was on course for cell, a sanitorium or cemetery. I know that because I saw it happen to others around me. I know that I am no different than they were, except that I made the slight course correction. Seven years later I am far away from the iceberg I was heading toward. And, as a result, I am a different person from who I would otherwise be.
The changes and course corrections are still happening as a result of the program. I am enjoying my journey and I am continuing to change. As I continue to live the program of the Twelve Steps, I am continuing to grow and correct my course. I like who I am today. I like the changes that I have experienced in recovery. However, I want to continue to grow and to do that I have to let go of who I was yesterday to be a new person today. Letting go of the old me isn’t easy. It means expanding my comfort zone yet again.
The results of who I will become in the next iteration of me can be just as dramatic as the change between who I was seven years ago and today. I trust the process and so I look forward to whatever might come my way.
Step aside Tim, there’s a new you working its way down the production line!
I was trolling through the internet, looking for a theme to blog about, when I came across this picture on Facebook:
It really caught my eye and got me to thinking. Life will always have its ups and down. There will always be things that I absolutely love as well as those things that I would prefer not to happen. I will triumph one day and the next I may want to bury my head in the sand. Regardless of what is happening I can celebrate it. Acknowledge it and honour it and be grateful for it.
In going over my past with a fine tooth comb I was able to see that the people, the events and the situations of my past have all led me to where I am today. Those great moments as well as my worst moments all contributed in the making of the “me” I am today. I am a work in progress that will never be perfect or ideal. So whatever is going on around me today is just as important in making the ever evolving “Tim” as the people, places and things of the past. I can celebrate today’s challenges and successes because they indicate that I am moving, changing, growing. They push me to become a better human being. All I have to do is be willing to take the next step.
You don’t have to have a party to celebrate. Party hats and cakes aren’t necessary. Just a quiet internal moment of gratitude, acknowledgement, and honouring of each moment of time. It’s being mindful of the present. Life is short and changeable. Now is what I have. I can celebrate my screw-ups as well accomplishments.
I live. I learn. I grow. I celebrate!
I am grateful
“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.” — Albert Einstein
The first time I went through Steps Six and Seven I really didn’t have the full grasp of what they meant. It was sort of: ‘I want to be a better person, so make me a better person.” And for the first time through, I was doing the best I could (and I can see now that I still hadn’t been restored to sanity). I sort of thought of these as easy steps after the tough work in Step Four and Five. However, the first time through I was only focused on my Higher Power removing my defects of character. I really didn’t have much thought about the results: I was focused on my character defects and not on who my Higher Power had in mind for me to become.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago in working these two steps over again that I began to grasp the significance of these ‘filler’ steps. Filler, indeed! I still struggle with the what these two steps mean for me.
I was pretty happy with who I was. I was finally getting to know who the real Tim was. I had spent so much time looking for self esteem in what others might or might not think about me and now that I had finally got to the point where I knew who I was, I also found out that I had to be willing to give it all up. This for me is the crux of Step Six and Seven: humbly asking to have my defects of character removed so that I can move forward and really become a new creation. In order to do that I have to say good-bye to the old me. It take a whole lot of trust in the program and one’s Higher Power to do that. That’s why for me it’s so easy to slip back into the old standby defects, my old behaviours. They are well known patterns.
I don’t know who the new ‘Tim’ is going to be. However, I see so many positive changes in others. Why would I think that I would be any different? If I can see that my Higher Power has always been there for me in the past, why do I think he will leave me alone now?
Steps Six and Seven are about humility on my part. And they are also about developing trust: trust in my Higher Power and trust in the process of becoming a new me. So far I’d have to say I’m impressed with what’s happening. And so who knows what the future holds. I still regularly take back my old standby defects, but it’s a process that takes time. But, as long as I am willing to give up the old me, the promise of a new me in the future holds true. We will be amazed!