For many years after I first decided to put down the drugs and the alcohol (and all my other demons), I would return to my familiar habits often because of shame. Doesn’t make sense does it? As a mom it was much easier for me to drink away all the messes I made rather than stay sober and stick it out. I had so much shame and guilt for the life I was leading. I felt a sickness in my stomach every time I looked at the faces of my sweet boys. When we get sober things start to happen. Feelings start to creep in and reality is a son of a bitch. Our natural response to feelings is to not feel them at all! Sometimes getting sober is like getting naked and running into a near freezing lake. It’s shocking, it’s uncomfortable and we just want to get out!
Whatever path we go down to recover, first we must stick with that icky feeling long enough to start working through the wreckage of our past. It can be done! Little by little we can live right and slowly make amends to people along the way. Some programs will have you work the steps, or maybe you have another route. Whatever your path, once we give it our all to right our wrongs we can begin to forgive ourselves. For me I belong to a recovery group and I use my God to guide me. For you maybe it’s church, counseling or another form of recovery.
The message is, “stop carrying the guilt, deal with it, then get rid of it.” Today, I can ‘almost’ look in the mirror everyday without that shame. I’m still an alcoholic and addict. I’m not sure I’ll ever look and say “Wow, you’re the greatest”….BUT, I no longer wake up and hate myself for the mistakes I made when I was using and drinking. I stopped beating myself up and it has allowed me to move forward in my recovery. I look at my boys now, who both are wonderful and I say “I had a part in that.”