You harm me in some real or imagined way and I feel angry and afraid. I harm you in some way (or commit some other so called "sin") and I feel guilty and ashamed. I don't know how to process these feelings so I stuff them down into my subconscious into my "mental cesspool."

This place of self hatred becomes a seed bed for my character defects. Up sprouts control, perfectionism, judgement, arrogance, etc. These "defenses" are my way to try and be comfortable as I make my way in the world. But these defects end up causing me more pain. Finally, getting and staying comfortable becomes the most important thing in my life. Drinking begins to take top priority.

Recovery for me is very much a process of mucking out my mental cesspool. Because of the law of cause and effect, if I can clean up the seed bed of my negative thinking, my defects will fall away automatically. I'm coming to believe that forgiveness is the best tool for this job.

I believe forgiveness is an ongoing, never ending process that must start in my own heart. Attending meetings and hearing truth, doing inventories, reading our literature and other spiritual books, praying and meditating and being of service are all ways I am using to forgive myself. In a way, everyday I stay sober is an act of self forgiveness.

I also believe that if I am really forgiving you it must be unconditional, if I'm waiting for you to apologize, then it is not forgiveness it is a pardon. I'm not very good at "unconditional" yet, but I'm getting a little better. The good news for us drunks is that "a little better" is always enough.

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