“Grace means that all of your mistakes now serve a purpose instead is serving shame”. C. S. Lewis

The hardest part of my recovery from addiction was the memories of my acts, haunting me with guilt and shame.  Sometimes those memories were clear and sharp, cutting into my thoughts with the precision of the sharpest knife.  Others were more cruel, sneaking into my thoughts like the slithering snakes they are.  And some, deep and repressed, bided their time, surfacing days, months, even years past, where an odor or a passing word stirred them.

Some crept into my dreams, when I would awaken shaking and choked by a sob- Ah, those words I said.  Those things I did.  The darkness of those days.  They linger, those memories, enveloped in the swirling, stinking smokes of guilt and shame.  “Who am I to think I am better now?  Who am I to make amends?  Who am I to ask for the pardon of others when I lied so many times before?  How am I so different now than I was then?  Am I?”

Addiction and alcoholism are brutal and insidious diseases-some doctors consider them brain diseases-that rob you of your will, your values and morals.  The things that are committed, said, or expressed in active addiction do not define our soul; just ask any mother whose child is struggling with this.  Or spouse.  Or best friend.  They will all tell you; “That is not my son, daughter, wife, or best friend”.   Our true selves are in there, buried under the drugs and alcohol, trapped by our disease.  But we can be freed.

it is not easy, getting free.  But we can. By entering recovery, shutting that first door, the chains and shackles of addiction are released.  But stopping the use of our substances is only the first step.  That is when the work really begins.  And this work is individual to each of us- but is shared by many.  We who have walked those paths now tread on new ones, and some of us wait in that dim hallway, on the other side of that door, to help others find their way.

We know those memories well, and are no longer crippled by them.  We know them for what they are:  just smoke and mirrors.  They have no power unless given it.  We have faced ours and have been given back our lives.  Guilt and shame are no longer ours to carry.  What once was shame is now purpose.   What once was guilt is now Grace.

There is no past that cannot be overcome.  As always, my hopes are for your hopes and dreams……T