Probably the hardest lesson during Recovery was forgiving my own transgressions towards myself.
I didn't realize at first, but while sitting in that tiny room with six grown men, contemplating the difficulty between accepting other's forgiveness or God's or our own, and discussing the merits of grace itself, I discovered the root of my disease. Not the starting point, mind you, but the area which has kept me stuck for more than ten years. When the conversation turned my way I was struck with silence. Typically I'm not known as a quiet one, but I was afraid of saying anything. Nerves were not the issue. It was the simplicity.
"It can't be this." I thought. "Because the sense it makes is way too much."
I have made a habit about overanalyzing all my problems. Overthinking every scenario. If I wasn't hitting a question from a new angle, a different perspective, then I felt like I was wasting my breath. Yet I had already inhaled a moment before, and all eyes were on me, so I let the words escape before the thoughts could hinder.
"I was told multiple times growing up, while exiting high school, and into my adulthood that I would 'make it.'" I began. "'That kid is going somewhere.' parents would tell my friends. I was meant to be something. People had such high expectations towards my success. They praised my passion. Exalted my talents. And yet..." This is where I couldn't believe what I was saying.
Looking around the room I saw men much older than I, who had more reasons to understand what I was experiencing than anyone else, but probably saw someone with the potential to turn their life around. A young kid with plenty of opportunity for change. I feared my next words would become an insult - even if they were true.
"I'm here...with you guys...and I can't forgive myself for that."
I feel like a failure.
This plagues my every thought.
The reason I continue to struggle.
I was raised in a world that told me to make something of myself. A broken home. Single mother. Oldest of three. The pressure was there to do everything on my own. Trust was an attribute rarely given. Being different was an exclamation of my independence. I expressed myself by being myself - and forcing others to accept it or move on. I couldn't help the fact that I couldn't be helped; though that didn't stop others from trying to tame my ego.
That would be reserved for Love.
For love is what made me face the truth - that I was desperate for someone standing beside me to encourage, accept, and tell me my worth.
I approached first love with the same passion of all my pursuits; which made that first failure even more difficult. Exclaiming I wasn't good enough: Failure. Reminding me relationships would never be my forte: Failure. Holding over me the sins of my ancestors: Failure. Taking advantage of my fear of abandonment: Failure. This I couldn't accept, so I plunged myself fully into relationship after relationship. Failure. Failure. Failure.
Tell me: where does one go from there?
In order to correct that first mistake I neglected all other pursuits which once defined me. Where once was a boy with the whole world ahead of him was a man who feared starting anything new. I had ideas - visions - but I could never materialize them into existance. Doubt began to creep in like a fog. I wondered: has my time already come and gone?
"I cannot forgive myself." I told them. Nothing. Silence. They listened. They understood. They replied, "Thank you." and we moved on.
If it's one thing Recovery has taught me it's that God doesn't define you by your failures. Trusting Him means you never truly miss your moment. Success also manifests itself in strange ways. I doubt that I'd be the man I am today, writing this, without the past ten years. Obviously.
There are goals that I still strive to achieve. I still have dreams. Ideas. Visions.
I may not be able to start over, or do things "right" the first time around. I'm definitely not the prodigy I once imagined. However it's never too late to become the man God created me to be.
I think - in this moment - I will begin some new things.
Mattias is an actor, writer, filmmaker, and editor currently living in Los Angeles, CA. He often writes about his observations about life, the human condition, spirituality, and relationships. He also enjoys writing about movies, pop culture, formula one, and current events. Often these writings are 'initial thoughts' and un-edited, as authentic as possible, and should be considered opinions. If you're interested in commenting on his work, or continuing the conversation, you should consider following him on Twitter or share an article on social media, where he would love to engage even further. Consider subscribing via RSS for more.