Originally published August 2014
Some of us are working 12 steps in relationships, away from relationships, or getting into relationships with other people. Life is relationships. None of us live solely on our own, well maybe some of us would like to at times, but we don’t.
A big gift that the 12 steps gives us when we work the steps is finding out who we are as individuals. Many people, some for the very first time, get the great joy of discovering who they are. For me, I get to remember who I am. Some of you may be discovering and some of you like myself may be remembering and “recovering” who we are.
Like a ship that has sunk I can be recovered from the depths. And though scarred I am still there. How strong those parts must be to come back from those depths.
Though I can’t speak to what the discovery of a self never known is like, I can speak to the recovering of someone I really like. I am one that grew up with 12 steps and have always known my higher power. I look back on the major relationships I’ve had in my life and I know why I had them. I know that my Higher Power guided me in the direction of where I could find me and be that person I am.
I kept thinking that the one thing I have a problem doing is trusting people again. Not in general, I still give people a chance (some more than I should) but trusting someone who has broken my trust. For quite a while I thought I’m missing something here. I should be able to do that. But then I realized, not all people can be trusted at a given point. Some of those people may understand, other’s may not. The biggest gift I have discovered, is that I can love that person and still not trust them. I can love them through my Higher Power. I can do that as long as I don’t put myself in the position of using rose coloured glasses and putting all I hold dear at risk. I can still cherish what is good.
Having grown up in this, I know that there are always opportunities for slips. In all people. And therein lies the ability to forgive. To forgive is not to forget and lose the lesson, it is simply to continue to love in the highest form. In the presence of or outside the presence of that person.
Trust and forgiveness are not linked. Though many I would guess see it that way. We are not required to trust again in order to forgive. We can love the person and hate the “sin” so to speak. The person is not defined by sin, or illness, or addiction. Our relationship may have boundaries associated with these things but it need not mean we discontinue to love. To love does not require anything but ourselves