In centering prayer we acknowledge a core of basic goodness, a "Great Reality deep down within us." This is our Higher Power, and us, together. Our True Self. For many in recovery—myself included—we find it hard to reconcile our generally low opinion of ourselves with the cornerstone idea that God is there, deep down in every one of us. But reconcile it we must if we are to live free and purposeful lives.
A friend of mine who had struggled for years with credit card debt made this insightful observation: As long as he had debt, not only was he living in the past, but he had a hard time living fully in the present, and found it nearly impossible to imagine a happy future.
In the throes of being human, we accumulate spiritual debt, in the form (mostly) of resentments, fears, and the guilt we carry for harms done others. Making matters worse, shame often keeps us from facing up to this debt. As defiant alcoholics, and as approval-seeking co-dependents, we resist even going to a trusted confidant with simple acknowledgement of wrongs done.
We know the promises of the program are right around the corner, but we need to finish clearing up those things that block us from right relationship with our fellows and with God. During my talk on the 8th Step, "Made a list of all people we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all," we'll perform a mini-inventory of a recent harm done, analyze which aspect of self was involved, and investigate what’s required to become willing to make amends. We'll get to do it ourselves, and bear witness to each other, and in so doing, take a step on the path of lasting forgiveness and healing.