About seven years ago, I was having something of an identity crisis as near as I can describe it. I’d just finished an in-depth and intense workshop of sorts called a Step Study with four other women. It took almost four months to complete. At the end, it revealed just how insecure and needy I still was about myself. I had been so busy being a chameleon to fit in and be accepted that I felt like I had no clue who I was or what I was truly about AFTER 12 YEARS IN SOBRIETY! This was also distressing at the time because I had decided to work with a different spiritual advisor after 10 years with my current one. I was still getting to know this new spiritual advisor and one afternoon over coffee I ended up tearfully confessing my fear and anguish that I wasn’t sure who I was after all this time in recovery. I was afraid to lose friends and acquaintances. She reached across the table, put her hand over mine to speak quietly, earnestly and with confidence. She said we’d work together to discover who I was working from the AA Big Book and that she was taught to determine five qualities or principles about herself. Five things she brought to the table which represented who she was, and more importantly, informed others who she was. What principles she was about regardless of the situation or who she was dealing with. I felt a sense of calm and relief at her words, even though I had no clue what five qualities I wanted to represent myself. I just knew I trusted her experience, strength and hope to help me.
My first quality was chosen by her. She gifted me the word “consideration” when presenting me with a sobriety token because she observed I was thoughtful in my responses to situations. I carefully considered things and I was a very considerate person to boot. That started the ball rolling for me and as we read through the AA Big Book, working the steps I uncovered more. Allow me to introduce myself.
CONSIDERATION means I don’t leap when it comes to actions and drawing conclusions. I look before I leap, sometimes I take a while to look. And I am considerate and empathetic with others.
COURAGE means that even though I am afraid a lot of the time, especially with new things, I am still willing to walk through my fears to get to the other side. To learn, grow and evolve. courage means I can and will stand up for what I believe is right or what AA/NA has taught me is right for myself.
INTEGRITY means I am honest and straightforward about what’s right whether someone is around or not. I stand by my words and deeds. I show up for others and myself.
HUMOR is my deal breaker! It has saved my sanity, nourished my spirit and soothed my soul. I love laughter through tears. I love laughing at myself because I don’t take myself or life too seriously. I love laughing with others. I find the humor in situations to make them bearable, better or just to put things in perspective.
OPEN HEART/MIND means I meet you where you are with who and what I am. Humility in accepting people, places, and things. An open heart to be of service to my fellows, my community, and society. An open mind to expand who I am and what I know.
These qualities didn’t pop into my mind or life all at once. Some were already in place, it just took working steps to help me see them in myself. These five qualities are not all I am about, but that’s what I bring to the table no matter what. I don’t remember all of them as things come up, but I don’t always need all of them to respond, react or handle a situation or a person. It’s helped me continually grow and evolve with a sense of authenticity, grace and strength.