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Shame sublets a basement apartment from my fear.  Shame is the perfect tenant:  quiet and unseen.  Hardly know it’s there.  Even when it comes up for a glass of milk, it quickly apologizes and rushes back downstairs.

Step 7: humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Shame is the emotion I cling to without knowing it.  I hide this fact from myself.  Thankfully, even though it’s still there, it doesn’t rule my existence like it did years ago.  Age and experience has damped down my day-to-day embarrassments to much more manageable levels.  That’s one great thing about the program:  I became much less self-conscious.  The ability to laugh at myself was restored.  That was a big one.

But shame is bigger than me and my little embarrassments.  It’s absolute.  It’s truth.  Those without shame were the grasshoppers in the summer sun; their comeuppance would be sweet.  Are you allowed to point and laugh in heaven?

A certain level of openness is required for any type of growth to occur.  There is a fun kind of freedom, watching personal guffaws that used to get me uptight slide off my back.  It’s when I cling to my thoughts of unworthiness, and associate that sudden rush of embarrassment with the larger, more nebulous cloud of shame, that the problems begin.  Now the judgements come down: fundamental and true and long before I knew what alcohol was, this I knew.  What others took for granted, I believed I’d never be allowed: an internal feeling of self-worth and value, devoid of everything else.

Today: Know that shame doesn’t make me special or unique.  Everybody has it.  It’s now on me to determine how much it’s going to hinder my growth.  How often can I humble myself and recognize it as relief?

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