Like many people who have grown up within the walls of religion, I was taught that I should be listening to the voice of God, which was so obscure, while the noise of my mind was loud and clear. I was taught that Satan was always at my heels trying to get me to do everything wrong. The thing that was never taught to me, was how my own body has it’s own voice, and my intuition is my inner-compass. I feel like intuition is rejected in the church (at least the one I grew up in) and that we are taught that God is something outside of ourselves. If I would have learned to trust my intuition early on in my childhood, rather than going outside of myself for answers, I’m certain that I wouldn’t have been so confused about my life, nor would I have condemned myself for making mistakes along the way. If you teach a child that bad decisions derive from the devil, how does this translate when the child is learning to navigate in this world as a teenager, or an adult? Guilt and condemnation shrouded me during the years when I should have been exploring myself and my environment without the fear of going to hell keeping me at bay. It obviously didn’t work for me.
As a recovering adult, I spent my first year sober… scared of myself. I think this is common. When you spend most of your adult life self-destructing, and then you take the drug of choice away, it’s like removing a binky from a child. There is a lot of fear involved with this, and the free time felt a bit like being blown in the wind without anything to anchor me down. This is when support meant everything (it still does), and honesty became my constant companion (it still is). Self-awareness is imperative because if I’m not privy to my own thoughts, how am I supposed to make good decisions? My greatest desire during this time, was that I learned to trust myself. If I could merely trust myself, then I was no longer left to fate, or balancing between the voice of God and the demise of the devil. I discovered for myself in my addiction, that my own body is made up of both fear and freedom. On a daily basis I have to choose between the two paths. This understanding of the way things work is much more palatable to me then feeling like a helpless ragdoll sitting between good and evil in the whole scheme of my life.
Finally (nearly three years later) I’m in a place where I can actually hear myself clearly. It took a lot of effort on my part to discover the difference from my own intuition, and the conditioning of my childhood. I was my own greatest judge, and learned early on that curiosity was a bad thing. Exploring myself and trusting in my own curiosity has proven to be a walk on the path of freedom, rather than scooting along in the demise of my own fear. I ask myself a few questions before I make decisions now… “Will this harm me? Will this ultimately harm another person? What are my intentions here?” If I’m clear on these three things, then I’m free to continue. This way of maneuvering through my life has been an incredible path of self-discovery and one filled with joy. I’m even aware if other people are there to bump me off course, teach me something along the way, or if they are along on my journey to learn something from me. There is nothing more liberating than knowing where I’m standing after so many years of feeling completely lost.
It is easy to become discouraged when difficult things arise or when I’m presented with decisions that may change the course of my life, but the dynamic thing about this is that once I answer the three questions above, I’m free to move about my life in whichever direction I choose, without condemnations hovering over me. Sometimes the choices presented are not about right or wrong; they are simply different experiences along the same path. I know this now, so making decisions is no longer so daunting. Whatever way I choose to go, I’m always supported and guided in some way, shape or form. There is much less “wrong” and “right” than I ever imagined. Life is simply a place of learning. I feel like a child now, exploring the world around me.
We all go through life with fears, expectations, notions and influences. I think of these things as skins that must be shed in order for us to be liberated in this lifetime. I’m not afraid to walk through my fears, let go of my expectations, blow the lid off my notions, or disregard the influences of others if they no longer serve a purpose in my life. If I can move past all this, then I have just discovered myself; the only person who is with me from my first breath until my last breath. It’s pretty important that I get to know who I am during the course of my life, and that I’m able to trust myself while I’m here.
We are all capable of letting go and trusting the inner voice of ourselves. It never leads us wrong, and it sees beyond the five senses of the body. It has a path it wants to take, and a purpose for being here. I know this now, and I’m so incredibly grateful that recovery has given me more than I ever imagined. It has brought me back to myself.