“What if you aren’t a victim? What if it’s all part of His plan?”
I sat in silence, afraid of giving the wrong answer to this puzzling question posed by my counselor. But I have a disease, right? I thought there was no shame in admitting that. Something that I am learning about shame is that it wants me to take God out of the equation. Shame is selfish. Shame turns everything inward. It is damning.
Shame feeds my victim mentality.
Shame is so tricky and subtle that many times I never see it coming. “Don’t tell people about your apartment because it’s so small.” Then Shame will take it a step further: “You know why you have to live by yourself in this tiny apartment don’t you? Because you are a lowly lust addict who lost everything and had to start over. Pathetic.”
There is hardly anything that is safe from Shame’s venom. He looks for any angle possible and if I am not working my program he succeeds in convincing me that I am not worth it. The program tells me there is no place for shame and that I am not a victim. Everyone is not out to get me. The stars are not aligned so that I will fail. I am not the most unlucky, unlovable or unsuccessful person to ever walk the face of the earth. But Shame says that to me almost every day. I mean not in those exact words but when I decode the message it becomes pretty clear.
Shame will even do things like prevent me from truly appreciating the best compliment I could ever receive.
“You’re the best Daddy in the world!”
I have twin daughters. They could not be more different in their personalities. One daughter heaps praises on those she loves like it’s her job. She literally compliments buildings that she likes in Nashville. True story. The other daughter is way more reserved with her compliments and affection. If she gives you a hug you know it really means something. A face to face compliment from her is a huge deal. Earlier tonight it was the second daughter who randomly told me I was the best Daddy in the world as we were getting ready for bed.
At first I froze. Partly because I was shocked that she was the one saying this and not her sister. But I also froze because Shame told me that this was a lie. How could I be a good Dad when I live half a world apart? Oh and why do I live half a world apart again? See where this is going? I seriously almost played it off. How could I of all people accept such a compliment? But eventually I coughed out a “Thank You” and told her that she was the best daughter in the world (tied for first of course).
Honestly I don’t know if it’s God’s plan for me to be an addict. I hope it is because I happen to be one. I do know that I am where I need to be right now. I have a few days left with those buggers and I won’t let shame rob my joy. I am in recovery and I am working my program. I choose to listen to the voice of Love and surrender to God’s will.
Shame be damned.