Lessons Not Punishment

I believe that any day I spend in any form of guilt, shame, fear or anger is a non-living day. At the end of my life if I were to add up all the days I've spent being afraid, angry or guilty, I will find that I missed a big chunk of living. They might write on my tombstone "He missed it."

Living in the present moment is impossible if I'm angry about what someone did to me in the past, even if the past was just a minute ago. The same goes for being afraid about what might happen tomorrow. Guilt about what I did 30 years ago will pollute the present until I bring it to the light of day. The steps helps me do just that.

I can pretend I'm not angry or afraid or guilty by putting on a happy face. Given enough time, sooner or later the cause of my upset might go away -- sinking into my subconscious, but it does not disappear. Instead the voices wake me up at 4:00 in the morning. The "don't they know who you are" indignant voice, the "your gonna get it now" critical parent voice and the "you are a worthless piece of crap" voice of self loathing.

I perfect my character defects in an attempt to hide from you the fact that I am carrying around this guilt, fear and anger. I isolate, I blow up over trifles, I live my life trying to get your approval, I create drama to get "poor me" your pity, I try to control every aspect of my life and yours, The list goes on ad infinitum. Without any real
peace in my heart, how can I expect there to be peace in the world?

I no longer want to live this way. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. I no longer want to give away my serenity and the chance to experience the beauty of each moment. Fortunately AA has given me some tools to help me let go of guilt, fear and anger. Of all the tools the two most important to me are acceptance and forgiveness, but I must choose whether or not I want to pick up these tools.

It helps me to accept when I remember that everything happens to me to teach me, not to punish me. When I finally learn the lesson, I no longer have to have the experience again, but the lessons will keep coming until I learn.