In Recovery, Are You Being Transformed?

“Your life will be transformed when you make peace with your shadow. The caterpillar will become a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly. You will no longer have to pretend to be someone you’re not. You will no longer have to prove you’re good enough. When you embrace your shadow you will no longer have to life in fear. Find the gifts of your shadow and you will finally revel in all the glory of your true self. Then you will have the freedom to create the life you have always desired.”           Debbie Ford

Accepting that your fears will lead you to becoming who you really are is mind-blowing. Fears seem to be locked gates that we dare not open. Some of my fears have been removed by hard experiences in life. My ex-husband left me and forbade his family to communicate with me. In one night, I lost a support system of 40-50 people. I loved them. My love wasn’t strong enough to overcome their fear of being different or brave. BUT–and this is the important lesson–I completely overcame my fear of abandonment. When most of your support system walks out, what do you have to fear about being abandoned? I was abandoned and I thrived. Not immediately. At first, I walked around in shock.

How do you make peace with your shadow? Although I use the 12 steps as the foundation for my life, I had to learn that identifying all my fears as character defects only added to my low self worth. I have character defects. But they are the defenses I learned as a child to defend myself. They are my life issues and only a part of me. With growth, they disappear except under extreme duress. I live in peace and rarely am upset by life because I accept life as it comes.

Carl Jung, one of Bill Wilson’s spiritual advisors and the father of Jungian psychology, believed that confronting and accepting our shadow self was the first step toward becoming integrated.

“This confrontation is the first test of courage on the inner way, a test sufficient to frighten off most people, for the meeting with ourselves belongs to the more unpleasant things that can be avoided so long as we can project everything negative into the environment. But if we are able to see our own shadow and can bear knowing about it, then a small part of the problem has already been solved: we have at least brought up the personal unconscious. The shadow is a living part of the personality and therefore wants to live with it in some form. It cannot be argued out of existence or rationalized into harmlessness. This problem is exceedingly difficult, because it not only challenges the whole man, but reminds him at the same time of his helplessness and ineffectuality.”   Carl Jung