“If you have behaved badly, repent;
make what amends you can and address yourself to the task
of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your
wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best
way of getting clean.”
I grew up with high expectations of perfection and a constant feeling of failure. I seldom recognized truly bad behavior in myself, but instead I apologized for the things I had taken on as my responsibility that were not under my control. I apologized when the weather spoiled plans. I apologized for an adult family member’s poor behavior. I felt intense shame when I accidentally slipped and fell, sure that I'd embarrassed the people with me. Yet I was oblivious to how I snapped at people simply because I was in a HALTS (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Sick) place. My temper was quick to rise and explode, but I always told myself I had a “good” excuse or cause.
On the other hand, I could feel so mortified over my behavior that it haunted me night and day for weeks, and even months, after the incident; long after any witness could recall it. Years later a phrase would bring the memory back to the forefront and shame me all over again as though it had happened mere minutes before.
I couldn’t seem to find a truthful middle ground until I began working the Twelve Steps. In studying the Steps I learned how to uncover and acknowledge the wrongs for which I am sincerely responsible, how to make proper amends, and how to let go and move on.
One Day at a Time . . .
I will remember that I am responsible only for my own behavior and actions. With the help of my Higher Power, I will acknowledge my wrongdoings quickly and make loving amends.
~ Rhonda H.
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