Friday, June 7, 2013

Let's Talk About Relapse - Day 5 - Digging Deep into the Core of Shame

Naming our pain, I believe, is a critical step in the process of recovering. We have been talking about relapse and the destructive accompanying role that shame plays as it takes residence within us.  Without recognizing shame's presence as well as its paralyzing hold on  us, we cannot effectively begin to practice its release.

Peeling Away The Bark (and the Shame)  - Chapter 7

The past couple of blogs have addressed the process of peeling away the shame - of releasing it and letting it go. We have talked about how this release needs to be a mindful and purposeful practice - letting go its invasion into your being as often as needed - whenever it is needed.  Continue with this throughout your recovering journey.

Today, we are going to tread into some tender territory. So, be prepared that what I say may feel  uncomfortable or unsettling.  You may find yourself feeling angry, or you may not understand your level of emotional reactivity.  Please do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself - except of course, do not return to an unhealthy behavior.

I believe that many of us have deeply embedded injuries or injustices within our inner being which have not been tended to and thus become triggers for relapse. We may have some level of awareness of them; we may have strong denial forces around them; or we may have no conscious memory of them at all.  However, if we have not worked through these injuries in healing ways, I believe we carry around with us an 'inner core of shame'. It might present itself in subtle ways such as being insecure, as having low self-esteem, or as being an introvert or shy; on the other  hand,  it may present itself more boldly. Such indications may be a history of unhealthy relationships,a pattern of irresponsible or abusive behaviors, or individuals may struggle inter personally and socially with narcissistic, borderline, or histrionic personalities. The range of personal struggle with its damaging consequences, all in an effort to mitigate the core of shame and lessen the pain within, is vast.

It is my personal as well as my professional belief that with professional counseling or therapy and if an individual is in a place of readiness, that it is imperative to root our the core of shame that dwells within. I believe that without doing so, we allow our betrayers (whoever and whatever they may be) to win out...and to continue to erode our spirit and soul. I believe we hold our healing hostage to them.

Bark Beetles  Digging Deep Within The Core of the Tree - Chapter 6
As I write in Mountain Air,  I compare the invasion of shame deep within us to a forest infested by bark beetles, and I describe the necessary removal of both for survival: 

"If a tree was suspect to infection, the surgeon would precisely and gingerly peel away the bark just enough to expose the larvae developing underneath. All bark that was concealing the betrayers must be removed; neglecting any hidden enemies would endanger the entire tree and its neighbors. By peeling away the bark, the larvae become exposed to unfavorable conditions which caused them to dehydrate, starve, and eventually die. With the enemy completely eradicated, the tree was freed from the strangulation  within and its nutrients once again flowed without interruption. Now there was hope for its renewal."

Continue releasing the layers of shame...  Gently ponder the idea of an inner core of shame. Consider seeking professional guidance... Gift yourself with the hope of renewal.

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