Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Heart of the Matter


Ever feel broken? Used? Falling apart at the seams? Wandering? Useless? Imperfect? Flawed? Chances are you answered ‘yes’ to at least one of these questions. Unfortunately, the human condition is such that we are all imperfect people capable of making colossal mistakes and obtaining tremendous success. The problem becomes when our flaws, mistakes, and mishaps get the better of us and others. Left unchecked, these behavioral gaffs can lead us right down the not so primrose path of addiction.

This month we’re looking at Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” This step is where the rubber meets the road or, if you like, we get down to the, “heart of the matter.” Step 4 is a detailed inventory of our thoughts, behaviors, and speech over the course of our lives up to the present as it pertains both to us and others. It is not a moral reckoning of dirty deeds done dirt cheap, as the saying goes, rather just a detailed listing of such events so one can understand the full scope of one’s character before progressing further in recovery to who one will become.

I think one of the most relatable art forms to real life is music. Many artists are people who have made mistakes, broken hearts, and just generally screwed up their lives. What better way to purge such memories than to write a hit song about it! That’s exactly what solo artist Don Henley of The Eagles fame did in with his hit “Heart of the Matter”!

One of the key components of a Step 4 inventory is taking a look at your resentments. You may have heard the old saying that resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It doesn’t work. Henley expresses that fact when he penned these words,

There are people in your life
Who’ve come and gone
They let you down
You know they hurt your pride.”

Here Henley acknowledges both the pain and reality that people hurt people. They can embarrass, mock, cajole, and create all sorts of difficulties for you. We can choose to be resentful or as Henley put it…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxYou better put it all behind you, baby
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx‘Cause life goes on
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxYou keep carryin’ that anger
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxIt’ll eat you up inside, baby!”

Truer words have not been spoken. Life does go on and part of recovery is looking at where life has been in order to understand where it is going or where it could go in the future. Step 4 is not for the weak of heart. It will challenge you. It will hurt. It will cause pain. But on the other side of the pain, there is a new reality waiting to be experienced. After all, we are just trying to figure things out in our recovery much like Henley is trying to figure out his own life as he sings,

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx“I’ve been trying to get down,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to the heart of the matter.”

Chris Newcomb - Afterare Coordinator

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