More Positive Effects From Sobriety

To echo yesterday’s topic, is sobriety worth it, let me tell you another story.

I spent a large number of years in great anger and bitterness over my upbringing. I was filled with self-pity over the shame and degradation that was done to my soul, my spirit. I lived as a victim, always justified in my victimhood.

And I was a victim. But what I learned in sobriety was to heal from the shame, the feelings of worthlessness, the anger and rage. In sobriety, I became willing to seek professional help for my mental difficulties, which led to the realization that I’d had PTSD all those years. That was one reason for the explosive anger. With EMDR treatment, it has lessened a great deal.

The other reason for my anger was just generalized rage against the folks. After several years of healing work, I stumbled across forgiveness. It came to me over time, little bit by little bit. The end result has been full forgiveness of my past, and even being able to see the purpose for my past. I discovered how to put it to good use.

I discovered that my life’s purpose is to help others learn to forgive, so that they, too, can experience the wonderful freedom that exists on the other side of forgiveness. Without the abuse in childhood, I would never have had to struggle with my anger and rage, and I would never have stumbled across forgiveness, which is something I can help others to find.

All of this is possible because of sobriety. I didn’t have a fighting chance to heal while I was still drinking because I was stuck in the victim role. I couldn’t see past my anger, my pity. Only in sobriety have I been able to do that.

You, too, can find healing and freedom from anger and rage, heartache and pity. It starts with your sobriety. Are you willing to take that journey? Let me know in the comments section…


Forgiveness – Step-by-Step How to Get There

Good morning. For some reason, this did not publish yesterday and I thought it did. I even read it on the website, I thought. I apologize for any confusion and now offer the how-to’s of forgiveness. Here is what I wrote for yesterday.

Good morning. Welcome back to the continuation of our discussion about forgiveness. Two days ago, I talked about what it was like to discover it. Today, I will present a process that could serve to move you from anger and resentment to forgiveness and peace.

I say “could” because the process will work when you are open and willing, with your action and participation.  Let’s look at a system I stumbled upon that worked to move me into forgiveness; I am confident it could happen for you, too.

This is going to be a write-along today. I invite you to do the exercises that are defined below… It looks like an endless list, and much of what is written is explanation or information for you.  I would strongly urge that you allow your mind and heart to be clear by avoiding the use of substances while you do this. Otherwise, you will never move forward to peace. Know that if you get stuck in any one spot, there is support and assistance available. That’s what I do… guide people over the hurdles on the way to forgiveness.

Here’s the process:

  • Identify the person who wronged you and how they wronged you. List them.
  • Determine if you provoked the other person and if you did, then own it, be accountable for it. It’s time to be humble, give up on the anger you hold, and forgive. Apologize if you have hurt another.
  • Determine if you have ever done the very same thing that was done to you. Own it and be accountable if you have. Write down the circumstances – what you did and how you were feeling at the time.
  • Feel compassion for yourself, an emotionally damaged person at that time
  • Now consider and believe that the person who wronged you was also emotionally and spiritually damaged.
  • Let compassion fill your being; feel compassion for their spirit, their soul.
  • Even if you have not repeated their wrong, feel compassion for them.
  • Stay in that space of compassion you would have for any wounded person. Hold it for both you and the other person.
  • Allow one chunk of anger and heartache to melt away and replace it with just a little bit of forgiveness.
  • Consciously notice any relief that you felt by the small amount of letting some anger go.
  • This is the gift you’ll experience. Write it (or them) down.

This is a process you can do over and over, and it will gently erode away your resentment, your bitterness. It will leave you eventually, the resentment will, if you keep at this.

If you are successful in shedding your anger and resentment, I applaud you. This all occurred through your creation. You created your own peace by forgiving and accepting what is. Nice work.


The Art of Forgiveness

We are starting today at the first tier in the forgiveness process. This is the place where we have defined why we are withholding our forgiveness and from whom. Overnight, we sat with the emotions that arose for us.

This morning, we have become willing to look at the resentment we hold against those who have wronged us because we want emotional peace and we want something different for ourselves in our sobriety, in our life.

Forgiveness is for us, not the other person. Yet, it does often benefit the other person as well. By forgiving, we are in no way condoning what occurred as right. It was not. Yet, we can get to a place of forgiveness even though that is true.

Having said all of that, let me say that there is tremendous freedom in forgiveness, and that is what allowed me to reach emotional peace in my sobriety. This is how it happened.

I was about 3 years sober and was doing a self-appraisal about my romantic relationships, looking at all the ways I contributed to their demise, being accountable where I erred. What I realized was, I would get drunk and yell at each of them how worthless they were, that they would never amount to anything.

I was appalled to remember I had said those things! I didn’t mean them. I said them because that’s how I was feeling about myself. Knowing how terrible I was feeling at that time, I started to feel compassion for that woman who was in so much pain that she lashed out at another human’s spirit, denigrating it, for that was a terrible thing to do and say.

Wow. That was powerful when I looked at it in that way, allowing compassion to come into my being. For when I saw myself with compassion, I was able to then see the person who used to yell at ME that I was worthless and would never amount to anything, with compassion for what he might have been feeling when he said those things to me.

I began to realize he was so very young and was dealing with his own wounds. I say that not to excuse his actions, but to lend some understanding to him, and especially given that I had done the very same thing. He was an emotionally and spiritually sick man, I have come to understand over the years. I feel compassion for the sick man he was, and he has changed. 

Armed with the knowledge that people do bad things, sometimes because they are emotionally and spiritually sick, I began to apply this thought and heart process to other incidences and people. I found myself getting to forgiveness, even if I had not repeated their behaviors myself. I have to say, there has never been a more freeing sensation for me, a feeling of deep peace.

I’d like to stress that the first step of forgiveness is identifying the incident for which you cannot forgive and acknowledging it, looking at it, feeling how wronged you were. If you skip this step, it is glossing over the damage that was done to you, so be sure to feel how the damage has affected you in your life.

The second step is to look at the situation and determine if you provoked the person and they were responding as any human being might. If this is the case, own your behavior, be accountable for it, and give up the anger you feel toward the other. Apologies may be in order…

Once you identify and feel the damage that was done to you, it is time to bring compassion to yourself, a wounded person. Be careful not to cross the line into self-pity here; you just want to feel empathy for that wounded person… yourself. Hold yourself in that space of compassion and empathy until you feel some relief from your anger. Then, consider the other person as a fallible and emotionally wounded person.

By repeating this, over time, the anger begins to fade a little at a time, and one day, you will find yourself at forgiveness.

You can do this and can soar to new heights that, up until now, you have only dreamed of. Isn’t that something you want for yourself?