This evening as part of my Step Five I was hammering out the observations I had amassed in my Step Four inventory. All the recurring themes and patterns that I wish I didn’t have to look at and had never seen. All the places where I’ve disappointed everyone including myself from here to the ends of time. I needed a break so I made an outreach call.
“It sounds like that movie where that guy can’t figure out who he is or what he’s done and everything comes in fraught bits and pieces through the film,” my friend said. “Oh what was the name of that film?”
“I don’t remember.”
We both laughed and I savored the respite.
A few weeks ago my sponsor suggested I write them all down. To go back through the dreaded thing, as if once through the alligator swamp wasn’t enough. It felt miraculous I had survived.
“Ok,” I shrugged. “I guess. I mean, really, how bad could it be?”
Oh dear. Those landmines are trusty, Amy.
After the call I went back to work. I was tip-typing away—noting all my underlines and arrows and watching sentence after sentence add up to what seemed like an exhaustive list that yet is another thing I’m going to have to read to said sponsor ad nauseam for more hours on end.
And then something clicked.
It’s like when you’ve been trying to decipher the same code over and over again when your eyes stop smack in the middle of it. Full stop. Well…your fingers keep typing away just in case it was just a one-off accident instead of a surging spiritual experience.
Then the next sentence starts to take shape—quicker, closer than the one before. It can’t be. You blink. Third time’s a charm. Try again.
And halfway between the first and fourth word you stop typing. You just can’t believe what you’re seeing, and by now it’s too obvious to override and escape.
It’s You! Or rather…Me.
All the resentments, the worries, the fears, the envy, the jealousy, the hurt, the pride, the lies, the manipulation, the guilt, the shame, the trust, the pining, the regret, the whatever it is I wanted so badly from everyone else in the world is staring me right in the face that it is me, and has always been me all along.
I’m not sure if this post makes sense—it’s a little ad hoc this evening.
Here’s a quote from the film:
“You can just feel the details. The bits and pieces you never bothered to put into words. And you can feel these extreme moments… even if you don’t want to. You put these together, and you get the feel of a person. Enough to know how much you miss them… and how much you hate the person who took them away.”
What if the person you miss and the person who took them away are one and the same?
I called my sponsor to leave a message. I was still unclear as to what was revealing itself on the page, but it felt uprising and important. Mid-message I commented, “In the rooms they say more will be revealed. I think to that I’ll add, and be careful of closed doors and walk-in closets.”
Halfway through the message, I broke down in tears. Long, slow, deep, heaves of sadness…relief…trust…pain. All these emotions were rolling over me and moving my focus away from the less is everywhere to the more is here, and always has been.
I’m so sorry, I whispered to myself.
A few weeks back I had spoken of the enormous feeling of loneliness I was experiencing during my Step Five. My sponsor said, “When we do the work and what is laid out before us we cannot avoid how much we have abandoned ourselves. That deep ache and the profound pain is because we are lonely for ourselves.”
Now I see it. I was here all this time.
And just like that, I moved a little closer to home.
“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”
—Gilbert K. Chesterton