From Courage to Change, page 125, May 4
Who am I? When I came to Al-anon, I thought I knew the answer to that question, but I discovered that my answers were all out-of-date because I had long ago stopped asking myself who I was. I could tell you about the alcoholics and everyone else in my life–their likes and dislikes, opinions, feelings–but I had no such answers for myself.
Al-Anon gave me Twelve Steps with which to rediscover myself. Making a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself and sharing it with a trusted friend (Steps Four and Five) were especially helpful. It was the first time in a long time I had paid so much attention to myself! I also learned about myself by listening in meetings–when I identified wtih others, I gained insight into my own thoughts and feelings.
Today I know that I am a passionate, generous, opinionated, moody, honest, tactful, stubborn person. I know how I feel and what I think on an assortment of topics, and I am aware when these thoughts and feelings change. Al-Anon has given me back the only thing that was ever really mine to keep: myself.
Recovery is a wonderful word. It means getting something back. Today I will try to remember that “that something” is me.
“If a man happens to find himself . . . he has a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity all the days of his life.” ~James Michener
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Today I admit to God, myself, and all you human beings reading this post, that I have stalled on my Step 4 work. I have strung together many days in a row of looking at my workbook, but never quite getting to the point of opening it.
Here’s what has been holding me back. My inventory has been searching and fearless all right, and it has brought to light a great many character defects, sinful attitudes, and shortcomings. I have vowed to be fearless about facing them all, and it has been exhausting and depressing.
Thank you, Father, for this meditation in Courage to Change today. Suddenly, I am realizing that taking my inventory means figuring out the totality of who I am. Focusing only on my shortcomings, without giving equal time to my strengths, is a disservice to myself and counterproductive to my recovery.
[Had to add this song – I was listening to it on my drive home today, and the lyrics and the mood compliment this post perfectly. Enjoy!]