I was pretty nervous. How often do you sit down with someone and pour your heart out, bare your soul, confess to the ugliest parts of you that you are so ashamed of you've ignored them for years and years?
Well, I never had before.
And yet I had a sense of anticipation, that this was going to be monumental, that it was a new beginning, and opportunity for change and progress.
I drove in silence, I tried to think of a song that would bring me peace but my mind came up blank. I drove to a part of a nearby town where you might expect to find addicts living, and pulled into the driveway of my sponsor's duplex. She met me there, with a giant hug. I immediately felt loved. We sat, she brought me a glass of water and offered a prayer.
On her wall hung one of those wood boards you see at craft fairs, or you might make at a super Saturday activity. The kind with cheesy vinyl sayings like "All Because Two People Fell In Love", the kind of sayings that on your rough days with your addicted husband make you want to barf. But instead of of a trite, cliche phrase, in metal plating it read
"Recovery is a family value."
I loved it. I wanted to take it home with me. I want to hang it right over a framed list of the 12 steps. Right in the entry way.
Before she let me start reading she gave me some encouraging words. I don't remember what the words were, but their general effect was to embue me with confidence. And it worked. I started and I plowed through pages of weaknesses and character flaws that haunt me. A couple times she laughed, and I looked up to see what was so funny, only to realize that she was laughing because she could relate, she had those problems too.
I finished my list of strengths and weaknesses, mostly emotionless. We discussed. Then she pointed out that I had said nothing of my husband, or my relationship with him. She worried about this. So I pulled out my pages of resentments toward people. This one. I hadn't planned on reading that. I had felt like I covered most of those issues in the list I compiled about myself.
But God wanted me to read it. And I couldn't make it through without the pain of those relationships bringing me to tears. I wept as I confronted the broken parts of me. Saying them out loud finally made them real, and it hurt.
She gave me some comforting thoughts and an assignment of something to read. We started to wrap things up right as the front door opened and her adult daugther walked in, reeking of cigarette smoke. She's a recoverying addict herself and offered to leave, but I told her she could stay, we were almost done. She offered me a hot dog and sat down with a couple for herself. She made me laugh, and we made addict jokes.
My sponsor walked me out to my car and reminded me of my worth, in a moment when I was feeling pretty weak. Another hug, more love.
I drove away at dusk feeling like it wasn't over yet. I drove to our church, out in the country, and pulled into a spot at the back of the parking lot. I walked out onto the wet grass, the sprinklers had just been on. I found a spot by a couple of pine trees and knelt down.
Then I prayed, Enos style. I poured my heart out. I threw eloquence and formal prayer language out the window and I said whatever came into my head. I apologized for being ungrateful. I plead for forgiveness for hurtful things I've done to others. I confessed that I knew I was wasting my talents or neglecting my responsibilities. I asked for his help. I asked for forgiveness. I begged for him to change my heart. I thanked him for my blessings and for the good people around me. I acknowledged him and his hand in my life.
I word vomited to God.
And cried some more.
When I was done it was dark and I looked up at the moon. I thought of Jesus Christ, and felt so relieved that it didn't matter that I am so imperfect.
"In taking Step 5 we admit to our Heavenly Father in a very personal way our need for the gift He offers in providing us with a Savior. This tender exchange not only deepens our emotional and spiritual connection with our Father in Heaven, but also with our Savior, who encircles us in the arms of His love and whispers peace to our souls. We are reminded by the assurance of the Holy Spirit that we are loved, singularly and personally. Receiving this assurance of God's love for us does more than any earthly source to fill us with genuine acceptance of ourselves, gratitude for our strengths, and hope in spite of our human frailties." (Step 5, Healing Through Christ 12-step manual.)
Now, when my human frailties rear their ugly head and I see them for what they are, I find comfort in knowing that I don't HAVE to be that person any more. I can change.
"God doesn't care nearly as much about where you have been as He does about where you are, and with His help, where you are willing to go." (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)