The next few columns will be about speaking my truth and what that means to me in my life.
Until I started speaking my truth I never understood what people meant when they said “the truth will set you free”. Now I understand that speaking the truth means that I remain present to “the exact nature of my wrongs”. (That’s from step 5 of the 12 steps: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.) I interpret this to mean that I never let myself forget where I’ve come from and what I’ve done. This does NOT mean that I spend all my time beating myself up over the mistakes I’ve made. Instead, I use my mistakes to empower myself and those I admit them to.
Here’s how that works. Now, understand that this isn’t a conversation I have with a bank teller or the checkout girl at the grocery store. It is how I meet people I expect to have a relationship with, say a new coworker.
Here’s how it goes:
New coworker: “So, where are you from?”
Me: “I’m originally from Kansas City, but I’ve been in Arizona for a long time.”
New coworker: “What brought you here?”
Me: “Well, before I moved to up to the Phoenix area, my ex-husband and I were in Tucson at Amity, a rehab program. I’m a recovering addict.”
This really comes in handy when someone offers me a drink.
It may surprise you to learn that very rarely does anyone gasp and reject me because I’ve admitted I was once an addict. Instead, almost everyone identifies with me. So many people know someone struggling with addiction these days, maybe even themselves. In fact, more often than not my revelation creates an opportunity for my new friend to ask me for some insight into their own struggles.
It’s amazing how wonderful it feels when I can use my past mistakes to make the world a better place for someone else.