Thursday, January 12, 2012

Honesty is the Best Policy

Well the New Year has started, and I should get started too. 
First, happy New Year!  Have you made resolutions?  I'm not a resolution maker, but if I were, a good one for me would probably be to resolve to keep the TV off the news channels.  The BS I hear on the "news" amazes me, but maybe it shouldn't.  Back in the old days before I found AA, honesty was hard to come by.  I was a master of BS.  I could always come up with reasons, excuses, mitigations to explain my self-centered behavior. I pray those days are over.
There will never be perfect honesty; that perfect stuff belongs to God.  But a good run at being honest is required by all of us who want to stay in recovery and in the doors of AA.  In Chapter Five of the Big Book we are clearly told that honesty is the starting place.  If we don't have the capacity to be honest, our chances of recovery are less than average.
It is hard for me to write about honesty.  During my drinking years, I used my silver tongue to get me out of many messes.  My alibis and excuses were always so convincing.  But today I try to live in the real world.  I don't run from reality, I embrace it.  I do my best to see things for what they really are not what I want them to be. 
We all need to be willing to see ourselves for who we are, and not as some character we've made up to convince ourselves and the world that we are okay. Once we can accept ourselves for who we really are, the need to convince everyone that we are something different can slip away.  When that happens, we may find that the freedom to just be ourselves is liberating.  No more need to keep up a false front or try to remember exactly what we told people about ourselves.  No need to pretend anymore!
Every time I think about honesty, I go back to the Fourth and Fifth Steps.  I, like you, in the previous Step, turned my will and life over to the care of God. I no longer get hung up on who God is. I like the idea of being in His care.  But until I really incorporate the Fourth and Fifth Steps into my life, I have little or no knowledge of what my will and life are.  When I took these Steps the first time, I learned a lot about myself.  I found I was resentful, fearful, angry.  With the help of a sponsor, over time I learned why I had these defects of character. I was hiding from myself and everyone else.  In time I learned why I was hiding.  I was trying to keep everyone from knowing how I truly felt about myself.  I learned why I carried old ideas about myself even into adulthood. I came to realize that most of the things I learned about myself as a young man were wrong. 
After studying these vital Steps, I know  many of the lessons I learned as a youngster were wrong.  I no longer have to hide who I am, in fact I can learn to truly like who I am.  I am designed, made, loved and accepted by my God.  If I am good enough for Him, I can learn to be good enough for myself.  In fact it is an insult to God to be self loathing. That acceptance starts within the meeting places of AA..  The acceptance is expressed in the words of the Steps and I find especially after Steps Six and Seven, that no matter what I did, I am forgiven and loved by God.
When we accept this reality,weI can begin to live it. We will find we have no need to be anything but who we are.  We can be honest.  We can accept that we are children of God. The more we live in this truth and honesty, the better we can attempt to do His will in our lives.  And that is what it is all about, doing His will as best we can.
I urge you to let go of the old ideas of who you think you are.  Let go of the old anger, fear and resentments.  Throw away the idea of having to hide the real you from the rest of the world.  Know that God made you and He loves you.  If God loves you, you are worthy of the love of others. God is your buddy. 
So, start the year off with a resolution that will bring peace to your life - resolve to stay close to God this year, and the next and the next.  If you are having trouble finding this place of peace in God, contact me, contact your sponsor, contact your pastor or priest, get back into your regular AA meeting.  I think you'll find folks will be overjoyed to help you in any way they can. 
May 2012 be your best year yet.