Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

Even before I went into recovery I knew that my lies, shady behavior, and destructive relationships were holding me in my addictions. I was so full of shame for the things I had done, and the things that had happened to me, that I couldn’t admit them to myself let alone other people. I was also incredibly angry. I was mad at people whom I felt had betrayed me and those who had hurt me (mostly men, to be frank). And this made me an intolerably cynical person unable to face my problems and break free from them. Instead they dragged me further and further into despair.

Søren Kierkegaard talks about the “Inclosing Reserve” in his book The Sickness Unto Death.  For me, this perfectly reflects what happened to me as my despair enveloped me and I sunk further and further away from health. There are 2 sides to the Reserve: one describes the grandiose person. It is the person who lives for the moment and gets carried away by their delusions of grandeur; they become mired in material possessions and come to think of themselves as a god. The other side of the Reserve is the depressive person; this person cannot connect with reality, becomes wholly dependent on others and is swallowed up in their depression. Both persons lose their Self, whether it is through the classic thought of the depressive person who succumbs to their misery or through being whisked away by immediate satisfaction on their desires. Both people are despairing, in fact he says that ALL people are despairing – but some people don’t realize it. Kierkegaard goes on to describe the various levels of despair, which I won’t go into because it would get too long, and then describes freedom as presenting one’s self naked and baring our souls to God. Only this, he says, can free us from our despairing souls. Now, for anyone who knows Kierkegaard they know that he was a devout Christian whose writings often aimed at dispelling, what he felt, were the mistakes of the Swedish Church. But, regardless of his leanings (or one’s opinion on some of his conclusions – which often lead back to his faith in Jesus), there lie in his writings poignant observations on the human condition and what will free it.

I read The Sickness Unto Death about a year before finding my own desire to recover and when I did find it, it played a large role in my figuring out what I needed to do to get better (as it spoke to me, I needed to do Steps 1-3). And as I began to recover it also told me that I needed to do Steps 4-9 too. Because, until I admit what I’ve done to someone else, I can’t fully process or admit them to myself.

Ok, that was my long-winded roundabout to discussing the 4th Step (the “fearless and moral inventory”, which I have started doing again with my current sponsor. Doing the 4th step the first time I felt very lost. Sure, all the literature (whether it is AA, EDA, or another fellowship) “spell it out” I still was unsure of how to go about being fearless at looking at my past and as a result have always felt very dissatisfied with how it turned out. I voiced this to my current sponsor and asked that we break it down further, which we have. It will probably take a lot longer to finish this way, but already I am feeling like I am doing a more thorough search through my past. And next time I write I’ll share how I am doing it, in case anyone cares. =)


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