Where in the 12 steps do I forgive myself? This came up yesterday in the forum, and it got my brain chewing. So I broke it down. For me it couldn’t be before step 3 because I was still loaded. 4, 5, 6 and 7 deal with our shortcomings and character defects and the willingness/asking to have them removed. Maybe that’s where it goes: Not forgiving myself’s a shortcoming.

Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

My unwillingness to forgive myself in general and in specifics is nothing more than self-pity and depression; nothing more than alcoholism grinding away at my resolve. Embarrassing moments and awkward silences that add up to a to a full backpack of unworthiness. It’s fun to carry the weight of your past on your back, right?

I’m not saying that beating myself up isn’t sometimes warranted – oh, it is, and I do. But what about the double-minor infractions of social embarrassment from twenty-five years ago? Ten years ago? Last week? I understand my disease’s need to play kick the dog: how do I expect this program to work if I can’t forgive myself, and don’t feel I am worthy of the program working for me? I’m the constitutionally incapable stand-out, right?

Special again, alone in my uniqueness. I’m a lost cause: look at my ledger – there are so many things I am ashamed of, angry about, and scared of, that cutting myself slack seems like condoning failure. Please understand, most of these clung-to moments and remembrances only hold value to me. I’m not worried about going to jail. But if the world had one big time out chair, I’d be in it most of the time.

But letting go sometimes means standing up and getting over myself. And I’ve got reminders: my higher power, my group, my sponsor, my family, my friends, acquaintances, total strangers, animals.

For today: My intensity is heightened or lowered by my clinging. Stop holding onto the controls.

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