I have been contemplating the topic of TRUTH for several weeks. Truth can be described as “that which is in accordance with fact or reality.” It can be described as an unwavering immutable accepted belief. It can also be considered as allegiance to a standard. All in all, it sounds absolute, immutable, firm and broadly accepted.
Well, there are a couple of problems here. Who are the “everybodies”? What is accepted? What, dare I ask, is reality? Are facts indeed facts?
If you grew up in a chaotic home, in a household with no floor of core beliefs, no walls of certainty, or no ceiling of consistency or standards, you too might struggle with reality, facts, allegiance, and acceptance.
Once I began to see the fallacy of the standards and rules I was raised with, I felt unmoored. Secrecy was no longer healthy. I was finding out that measuring my worth by another’s responses was no longer feeling right. In fact, swallowing my sense of self to avoid being abandoned (once again) was to lose myself, abandon my own self, over and over.
First my brat inner child spent years contesting rules with an attitude of “WHO SAYS?” These were my contrary years, in which I spent time being oppositional. Rather than determining my own code (I couldn’t yet), I just spent time breaking rules. This was not helping; my actions were not jibing with my deep inner compass of right and wrong, useful and unuseful. I just felt defiant and alone.
Then I realized that I faced a choice. I needed to evaluate my basic tenets or truths by my past experience and start changing my behaviour and my relationship with my spiritual core, or continue to feel lost and ungrounded.
Thus began the hard work. What are my core beliefs? Where do they come from? How did I come by them? Do they still apply? Why or why not? What changed? Who supports these as I change and grow?
Recovery helped, but that wasn’t all that I needed. In fact these questions didn’t come up for me until I had been in recovery for a few years. I was sick when I got here and it took a long time for me to recalibrate my mind, integrate my mind and heart and get in touch with my emotions. In fact- looking back to my journal notes from my third year of clean and sober time I read:
“My habits operate as emotional glasses interpreting reality, viewing reality, evaluation reality even when new data conflicts with old habits.” and “How do I feel when I plan and begin to act against long-practices, firmly established habits? Unsure, queasy, lost.” 1988
I write about re-assessing the habits which were based on old “truths”, allegiance to old patterns that are harmful and no longer apply. There is a time of great unknown and discomfort. But I realized I had to face them, to face the feelings in order to grow “along new lines”. I go on to write:
“ An unexamined, unrecognized unacceptable feeling is a madman in the driver’s seat. If I don’t take a long hard look at them I have no chance of changing.” -1988
As to truth: I am learning to be cautious and considerate before I state to myself: “this is an immutable truth”. Continuously I evolve, and am now curious as to the true nature of my being, deep in my heart. I just have to become more comfortable with discomfort to get there.