In the healing rooms of recovery, I finally recognized that I had a shadow self. One that no one else knew about. The visible me was a lie. The shadow me was my reality.
My experience is not unique. The following was excerpted from comments by Chaz. One Direction–Forward
The sharing I heard in the rooms of AA really helped me to recognize, accept, and admit how dishonest I had become. Hearing others became a pathway I could follow to ‘come out’ as a liar. The reflexive pain of regret over having become such a person always found ways to excuse, dismiss, avoid, or simply flinch from even touching on the possibility of dealing the subject. When I heard others who I came to know and respect get up and admit their sick dishonesty, it was like having warm, soothing, healing oil poured over my aching heart. I knew right away that if they could do it, so could I. And eventually I did.
I did, too. The first task was admitting to myself that I was being dishonest about the reality of my life. I didn’t want to look at it. I kept flinching…but there it was. In the secrecy of my heart, I began answering these shadow questions:
- What would shock others if they knew it about my life?
- What am I afraid people would think (or do) if they knew my shadow self?
- What is it costing me to live in my shadow life?
This is the beginning of recovery.
Consider the 12 Steps for General Use: Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addiction or dysfunction – that our lives had become unmanageable