Retired Pastor Pat Duffin,
High Prairie Christian Centre
If you have been following along in the 12 Steps of Recovery and have painstakingly completed Steps 4 & 5, congratulations are in order. You have climbed some very steep, daunting, and difficult barriers to personal freedom and healing.
Having surrendered your will and your life to the care of God, and having faced your true self by means of a painful, ruthless, moral inventory, you then humbled yourself before God and another human by stripping your inner-self naked before them. In so doing, you courageously risked judgment, ridicule, criticism, and worst of all – rejection. [James 5:16; 1 John 1:8-9]
In so doing you overcame the greatest stronghold of all – pride. Alcoholics, despite our wretched condition, have an exceeding amount of false pride. It is a straitjacket that hinders us in every aspect of life. That pride keeps us back from so many beautiful things. [Psalm 73:6; Proverbs 16:19; 29:23]
We limit ourselves in so many ways because of ‘stinking pride’ and the fear of discovery along with its ubiquitous companion fear of rejection. Petrified that people may discover who we really are, we develop a mask to hide the real self. Until this confrontation with self, we have spent so much time and energy creating and wearing this mask we have lost any notion of who we really are. Those around us have lost touch with us as well.
Pride hurts every one of our personal relationships to one degree or another. For some of us, it was crippling.
But now that power over us is broken because “the power of a secret is broken when it is spoken.” [Romans 6:1-11]
Now we are free! Free to be our true selves. Free from the former fears that bound us, like the fear of rejection. We feel like we no longer need to hide and can reveal ourselves to others and have honest relationships.
We no longer need to wear a mask. We no longer need to pretend. All the personal capital spent in maintaining a false front can now be invested in deeper and more meaningful relationships.
To our amazement, when we humble ourselves and reveal our true selves to another person, we find tears of acceptance and appreciation, even gratitude. In almost every single experience where people have risked the 5th Step, rather than rejection they have found compassion, understanding and a very humble, respectful response from the listener. They are deeply moved by the trust and sincerity and brutal honesty.
Often, they will confess they, too, are very much like us. They envy what we have found because they also struggle with similar issues and feelings. They, too, identify with us on many levels.
And we discover that we are neither alone nor unique. Those dark secrets that shamed and enslaved us are quite common and mundane to the human experience.
But now we are absolutely free spiritually, emotionally, and relationally – with ourselves, with others, and with God. [Romans 7:24-8:4]