“All I can do is follow my instincts, because I’ll never please everyone.” – Emma Watson
This mudblood sorceress from Hogwarts is no stranger to instincts. But what does it mean to heed the guttural call of oneself? Does it mean something different to the alcoholic who has followed his fatal inclination to the bottom of a bottle? Warped by misguided instincts and a death wish, the alcoholic is often panicked by the thought of seeking direction from within. I know I was apprehensive to trust the idea of an inner truth. Recovery had presented the only suitable adversary to combat my destructive instincts, but it wasn’t the fight I anticipated. Rather than eradicate this unjust part of my makeup, sobriety taught me how to fight the good fight: the fight for self.
I used to routinely forfeit. A champion only to poison, distraction, and immediate gratification, I surrendered my God-given intuition. In recovery, we are liberated from the unquenchable thirst that bestializes us. Far from tamed, our senses spring to life as we find our place among men. Through freedom, we discover how to live, love, and let go of the things that block us from our treasured consciousness. A beautiful gift- no doubt; our growing perceptibility does not come without its challenges. My journey to self awareness has been wrought with misgivings from my own skepticism, to who I think I should be to you. In sobriety, we think the fight is over, but the real battle has just begun. Face to face with our fears, in no certain terms, opposite judgment, expectation, and the like- we learn to fight for our own integrity.
Our challenge as awakened individuals is to honor our truth. When judged or criticized, do we twist our truth, contort it, or dress it up so that it will make sense to someone else? Do we apologize for it? Can we resist the urge to make it digestible for someone else’s comfort and just let it be what it is? Can we learn to love that part of us that separates us from the detached people we used to be? No longer slaves to futility, we can become responsible inner truth seekers in ways that are grounding, meaningful, and affirming. As we grow in intimacy with God and ourselves, we become less concerned with how we think things should be, and more interested in the natural rhythm of life that comes from inner strength.
Every time my respect for self collapses in the face of impending doom- be it a “yes” when it should have been “no,” or going left when I should have gone right- a small part of me withers away, taking with it my self esteem, my sense of self worth, and my freedom. Gone are the days that I can slap on rosy colored glasses or convince myself I feel something different than what is unmistakably my truth. Today, I have to find the fortitude to claim my sometimes unpleasant intuition. Ever genuine, my instincts are the essence of me. And the essence of me- with its mistakes and unpleasantries, its ups and downs, and its inner voice, is a life worth fighting for. Is yours?