Earning Your Seat


Do not compare wounds of the heart.

In recovery we learn the tales of our brothers and sisters.  Each of them is truly personal.  Each of them is a gift.  That is what I know now.

For a while what I found while listening to these tales was doubt.  Doubt that I am really the addict that I admit as I take the anonymity pledge.

The doubt didn’t come from a rejection of the first step.  It came from me comparing my tale to others.  Not the tale of my rock bottom, but my childhood and upbringing.  I have heard many stories of the pain that was visited on my fellows, physical, mental and emotional.  I had none of these things.

I suffered no physical abuse.  I suffered no trauma.  I had what I consider to be a normal childhood.  While doing my family of origin work I really didn’t come across any addiction.  With all this background, how could I be an addict?  How could I have earned a seat?  This is a falsehood.

The addict in us is always looking to come out.  Cunning, baffling, powerful, it is.  Always seeking to gain sway over us.  As we do the work in our recovery, our addict is out there doing push-ups and thinking ways to overcome us.  This falsehood is one that I have to guard against because if I let this take root, I will one day deny that I am what I am and that day will be the beginning of a new rock bottom.

So a few months ago, the quote above was given to me.  It doesn’t matter how we earned our seat.  The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop the addictive behavior.  That is how we earn our seat.  Everything else that got us to that desire is prologue.  And it is valid for all of us.

The reality has been while I didn’t have the same stories of abuse as others, my reflection in my first step has revealed that I have had trauma.  The trauma of adoption, the trauma of neglected feelings, and the trauma of emotional unavailability.  All lightweight stuff right.  Possibly, but it doesn’t matter.

These were the wounds of my heart.  They are valid to me.  Only by understanding them and working through them do I truly recover.  By minimizing them, I neglect them.  Neglecting them just gives the addict another round in the chamber.  I need to address them for myself.

When I hear the trauma of others I hear it with sorrow in my heart for what they went through.  No matter the trauma.  Every one of us has felt hurt in our past.  Some of it is more readily seen.  It doesn’t matter.  I sorrow that any one of God’s children goes through any hurt.  Now that we are in recovery we are finding new ways to deal with that hurt.  And the hurts of life, whatever they may be.

Whatever got me here, got me here.  I am thankful that I am here now.  This is my journey and while others may show me the way, it is still my journey.  Unique and wonderful, but my journey.  And yours is yours.




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