Everything in this world is in a state of change. Millions of cells in your body are being replaced as you read this. The weather of course varies from day to day and even from moment to moment. Aging is perhaps one of the greatest signposts of change.
Yet, as human beings we often grapple with change. This is particularly evident within our emotional world. Many of us struggle with negative emotions which have dogged us since we were children. That temper tantrum of yesteryear, manifests as road rage today. Perhaps the average person can get away without making changes to some of those negative attributes. Those of us who are addicts or alcoholics can not afford the luxury of complacency. We need to be diligent in identifying our character defects. These very same defects of character, if left unattended will eventually cause us to go out. That is why we make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, to help identify where work needs to take place.. There is also a recognition that left to our own devices; changing or removing our shortcomings is practically impossible. It is for this reason that we call upon our Higher Power on a constant basis to remove those defects of character.
Personal Reflection: How have I changed in recovery?
One of the strengths of the program is that we continue to hear new bits of wisdom at meetings. No matter how long we’ve been in the program, new expressions which we have not heard continue to pop up. This happened at a meeting recently, when a member shared, “without a mirror or another person, I can’t see my ears”. Within this simple aphorism lies two of the main principles of AA, NA and OA. We do a lot of work around taking a fearless moral inventory. For many of us initially, this can be quite challenging. Either we really don’t know ourselves well or are in so much denial that we are unable to get an accurate picture. The only way we can progress is to really look at ourselves closely. We need see what is really there. The reflection needs to be as accurate as the one we see in a mirror. Sometimes, even when we are looking at ourselves, what we see continues to be murky or distorted. This is when we need to turn to our sponsor or a friend in the program for feedback. Even though we might not be able to see ourselves accurately, chances are they will be able to paint a truer picture for us.
Personal Reflection: Can I see my ears today?
We have come to understand that each of us is actually 3 people
1. Who you think you are
All of us have an idealized view of who we think we are. Some of us had inflated egos. In our eyes we were smarter, more handsome and more talented than our fellows. Some of us were at the other extreme. We often suffered from feelings of low self esteem. In our eyes every one was essentially better than us and we berated ourselves for this fact.
2. Who other people think you are
From an early age, many of us learned to hide our true feelings. We learned to wear the mask and not let people know what was really happening with us. On the outside, others saw a lot of bravado and self confidence. This often belied what was happening internally.
3. Who you really are
In program, for the first time in our lives we made a searching and fearless moral inventory. We began to discover who we really were. Although we uncovered many character defects, we also found a lot of strengths as well. As time went on, we began to reveal more and more of who we really were.
Personal Reflection: How well have I integrated my 3 people?