Last week I was looking through a pile of papers for something and I came across a number of typewritten pages that I honestly had not remembered typing. According to the date at the bottom of each page, these were written about two years into recovery. The date is important because I was past the crazy, floundering self-help stage and my thoughts/words were definitely not of a person who thought she was fine and the world was not!
My journalizing was in conjunction with, “The Spirit Recovery Meditation Journal”, by Lee McCormick (Health Communications, Inc., 2006). I honestly don’t remember this book and yet I know it must be somewhere in my recovery library. The page of Mr. McCormick’s book that I wanted to share with you is entitled, “Who Am I?” What follows is my answer word for word to this question. What I have realized is that although I wrote this a number of years ago, there is a part of it that remains true today. Progress, not perfection!
(Who Am I) If I had a quiet place right now and could really mediate about “Who Am I”, I might come up with something different. But I reserve the right to be able to add to this at any time. For now, the first thing that comes into my head is that I am a bunch of labels. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, in-law, co-worker and friend. Except for the friend part, the rest of these labels don’t require anything but existence. You don’t have to put forth any effort to be that person. To be a good wife, mother, etc certainly takes effort but my point is, good or bad, the label remains. Oddly I forgot something. I am an alcoholic. It’s kind of strange that I would introduce myself as an alcoholic meeting after meeting and still forget that is a part of who I am and equally as important, a part of who I will always be.
Forget the labels and I have no clue who I am. I don’t think I ever tried to be what anyone wanted me to be or what society expected of me. No, that’s not totally true. I think I did try to be the good anything but somehow I always fell short. I didn’t fall short because I didn’t want to be the good anything but because there was always a reason/excuse I couldn’t. I could begin to do all that was right but couldn’t continue for reasons I now understand. These reasons are my defects of character.
For some reason writing the “who am I” as this human being with all of these defects doesn’t work for me because I don’t really believe that is all I am. Conversely, saying I am a bunch of positive things doesn’t cut it for me either. Oh, I am love and happiness and joy and kindness…really sounds too hokey to me. Those are great affirmations but it’s not right for me now.
Who am I? I am a better wife, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, in-law, co-worker and friend that I was before recovery. Maybe I am searching for this “who am I” with too much a philosophical approach; like answering the “who am I” with something like “I am…” Way too out there for me right now. I will know as time goes by who I am. It seems too simple to know who I am as a list of character traits (good and bad). I think I need to just do the best I can and to be the best person I can be one day at a time. I think when I really know who I am, I’ll know it by how I feel. Maybe “who am I” can’t be answered adequately with words.
So, my friends, this piece is dated for me but it also made me look again at who am I? I pose the question to you, to mediate and ask of yourselves, “Who Am I”. Maybe it is more relevant not only to ask “who am I” but what kind of person do I want to be? That is an easier question but a more daunting task to make who you want to be a reality. Nothing is impossible!
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.
Like Grateful Recovery on Facebook. Kathy L. is the author of “The Intervention Book” available in print, e-book and audio.