About a year-and-a-half into my healing process I reached a point where I began to see that I alone was responsible for my own choices and actions. I realised that there really was no excuse for my addictive behaviour. Previously, it had been extremely difficult for me to be honest about it with family members and friends from church. Staying in denial and blaming it on my difficult upbringing seemed so much easier. There was just one problem. Denying it and blaming it on others simply meant that the addictive behaviour continued unabated.
Before I could be honest with others I first had to learn be honest with myself.
I attended a second intensive week, this time in Central Finland. Although I received lots of help from the teaching sessions, small group times and the spiritual moments during the six days – when the week was over, it was over. I then needed something else in order to continue the journey. So I bought recordings of the teachings by Toni Dolfo Smith Ph.D. and Sonja Stark to listen to at home and I also bought the book Out of the Shadows written Patrick Carnes Ph.D. that was on sale there. I listened to the teachings again and again. I read the book over and over.
Something interesting happened! In the privacy of my own home as I listened to teachings and read the book I was able to admit to things about myself that I would not have been able to admit to other people. Over time I became honest with myself and this new ability began to affect the way I talked to God in prayer.
As I became honest with myself and with God I began to accept responsibility for my addictive behaviours and their consequences, I started to see what healing is really all about.
- Denial had left me feeling anxious and wanting to give-up. It had led me into despair.
- Honesty brought me the feeling of relief and wanting to go-on. It has caused me to hope and has given me peace.
The person who is living in denial, says “I didn’t hurt anybody.” The person who has learned to be honest, says “I actually did hurt others and I hurt myself.”
For example. When I regularly watched pornography or cruised the sex shops I did not recognise any damage to others. Yet at the same time I was:
- sexually unavailable to my wife.
- neglecting to spend quality time with my children, preferring the television or the internet.
- spending much of my work time in fantasy and obsession when I should have been concentrating on my job
- feeling spiritually empty, disconnected from myself, God and the world around me.
As you can see the impact and the damage was very real.
For me to become responsible was:
- not just saying sorry for what I had done. It was accepting responsibility for the damage and the hurt that I had done to my wife and family and doing what I could to make amends.
- it was not something that could be forced. Rather, I voluntarily disclosed my weaknesses, faults and vulnerabilities. First to people that I knew and trusted within my (Journey) support
- it was not about being punished for my wrong-doing. It was about me getting consultation and sponsorship from people in the (Journey) support network who had “been there before”.
If you struggle as I did with habits and behaviours that you don’t want and you can’t control, then I encourage you to begin building your support network right away and start your journey towards integrity. Read books on the subject and listen to your teachers. Look for trustworthy people and nearby support groups.
You’ll find that honesty and responsibility are milestones along the way towards integrity.
I wish you peace, inner freedom and confidence.