Wear Courage Proudly

by Dee Harris

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   It has taken me many years to wear my courage proudly.  Yes, I finally have courage and, yes, I am finally proud of who and what I am.

   It’s pretty hard to have courage when you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, when you question your existence and purpose.  It wasn’t until I got sober in my 40’s and worked the 12 Steps in recovery with a trusted sponsor that I realized that most of my life had been lived fear-based; my 4th Step tells me so.  Geez, how and why did that happen and why did I allow that to happen?

   Through some pretty heavy-duty soul-searching and research did I learn that this wasn’t my doing.  I was born a helpless but courageous baby girl living in the moment and my emotions consisted of love, anger and pain, just like yours.  As we grow and explore and learn and gain independence, our parents and family teach us right and wrong, safe and dangerous, reward and punishment, for our own good in the way they were taught and to the best of their abilities.

   But because most of us strive for the rewards and opt to avoid punishment, we tend to live our lives in fear.  No courage there.  No courage in living a life that is not true to who we really are but instead a life that fits us into that stereotypical box society, our teachers, and, unfortunately, our families think best for us.

   So on the outside for four decades I looked like the poster child for happiness while I was lost and dying inside.  I went out of my way to look good for you because that made me feel a little better about myself when all the while I hated and loathed the person I had become.

   OK.  That’s how I felt about myself at the end of my active alcoholism.  I had no purpose, no excitement, no hope or optimism.  I was a waste of space on the planet.

   So in the 4th Step I took my own inventory, as rigorously honest and thoroughly as I could.  And from this oftentimes painstaking task was when I realized how fear-based I was and how hard on myself I was…all for the sake of impressing you because I had no self-worth, self-respect, nor self-love.

   So already I don’t feel good about myself.  Add onto that a topping of pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization that came along with my addiction to alcohol.  How in the world shall I ever feel good about myself, let alone be courageous?

   Working Step 4 and having my fears start to surface and become plain as sight, sharing all of this in Step 5 with someone I thoroughly respected and trusted, was the seed that is growing into a whole new life for me.  My life today is full of forgiveness for the way I thought and felt about myself.  Many moments of clarity have helped me to understand my journey.  And having a Higher Power of My Own Understanding in my life today lets me know I do not have to understand…live from my heart and have faith that everything that has happened occurred with purpose and intention.  I am who I am today because of my journey.

   It has taken many years for me to peel the layers off the onion which is me and this task will be ongoing.  But what I see and feel within me today is a valuable human being.  A person who has been chosen to rise up from her addiction and thrive and be grateful and humble…and to share her journey with others so that they shall rise up from their addictions or troubles, thrive, be grateful and humble…and share their journeys.  The ripple effect.

   Thank you for being here for me to share my story.  Have a mighty fine day!

Aloha, Dee Harris

For those interested in seeing this blog as a video blog, please visit YouTube Vlog “Wear Courage Proudly”.  And for those who would like to check out my Art to Inspire You, please visit my shop at www.DeesignsByHarris.Etsy.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!