My Shadows and Me

My shadow self, as I’ve come to know, is dominated by regret turned to shame. Shame that bound me in chains and a prison I alone made. Few people in my life have directly shamed me. A former spouse and a dead father are the only people that come to mind. But even in those cases, I fully accepted their shaming as my own.

Prior to recovery, I wasn’t even consciously aware of how deep was my shame. I hid my shame of who I had been, who I had become, and fear of never being enough. For me to let myself be loved by those around me and to learn to love myself, I’ve needed to love me and my ‘shadows’. Sitting with my shadows rather than hiding them away and by default hiding the best of me, I’ve begun to emerge from the shadows and free myself from the insidious grip of shame.

“The term ‘the shadow’ was made popular by Carl Jung. He saw it as the uncivilized, even primitive side of our nature. He believed that we needed to fully see this dark side of ourselves if we were to be a fully integrated human.” (Harley Therapy Counselling Blog)

I

Some times I cling to the shadows

Though I long to walk in sunlight

I pine for all that could be

Knowing well that fear holds me back

For you see I am acquainted with shadows

II

A shadow dweller

I am

Lurking

Hiding

Just out of view

Near the edge

Of life

Living

In the dark

Dying to be seen

Yet afraid

Of what you

Might see

Should you look

Too close

A glimpse

Of me

As I am

III

I hid the worst of me beyond a veil

But alas the best of me was hidden too

Now I see that the worst of me

Wasn’t always so bad

And the best of me sometimes

Even better than I thought

It’s all the stuff between

The worst and the best of me

That makes me who I am


About the Author

Robert B. is a sober alcoholic in Madison, WI participating in AA and AlAnon at Fitchburg Serenity Club. He has been sober since April 21, 2007. He also began writing and sharing poetry on Facebook during his first year sober as part of his recovery from alcohol dependency, acute anxiety and chronic depression. He has found that creativity expressed primarily through writing poetry and playing various stringed instruments helped him heal and thrive.

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