I had the absolute honour of being asked to join one of my good friends at a NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting last week. She hit a milestone in her recovery which is 90 days clean. It was incredibly special to be there and see her celebrated and receive her ’90 day chip’ for getting through one of the toughest experiences of her life.
For those of you that are not aware of what a NA meeting involves, at a high level, it is creating a space where people can openly process where they are at. They are given the chance to share what’s going on for them for up to five minutes, with no judgement and no advice. They can just be.
The theme for last week’s meeting was around the 12 steps. The 12 steps were established as a guideline for the best way of dealing with addiction. People were asked to reflect on the impact of these in their recovery.
My observation was that step 4 was a hard one to move through. It was mentioned the most times when people were sharing. What I heard was that this step was the one that people got consistently stuck on.
Step 4: ‘We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves’.
It’s about doing a deep and personal, and often confronting, inventory of who you really are, your warts and all, and being ruthlessly honest about ‘where you are at’ caused some people to get ‘stuck’. At worst, it would throw people back to using again.
Now that didn’t surprise me. When we do things we are not proud of, make decisions that don’t serve us or those around us or dislike, and even hate, traits about ourselves we can often live in shame. The thing about shame is that it hides. We hide these feelings and thoughts and are not comfortable wrestling them, understanding them.
What they are learning at NA, in the meeting and at Step 4, is to understand the antidote to shame. Which is to shine a light on those darker thoughts and feelings. When we acknowledge and start to understand our flaws and the things that we are not proud of, shame can not hide anymore. Vulnerability is the antidote to shame. Brene Brown nails it in ‘Daring Greatly’ when she says:
‘Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.’
Learning to be ok with where we are at and learning from our experiences is the next step. This is what I call being ‘flawsome’. Making peace with where you are at and learning to grow from there. Full of flaws and being awesome about it. It starts with the feedback we give ourselves.
If you are keen to know more about how to do this then register your interest here for our new program ‘Flawsome’. Let Justine know by clicking on this link mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.