A Program of Miracles is a spiritual program and this step is the
beginning of spiritual healing.
In this step we prepare to share our story with another person.
Honestly revealing ourselves to another human being changes our
relationship with the whole world. It’s the beginning of discovering
our true selves. By telling another person our story we are choosing to go down the road of honesty and self-revelation.
Many of us have been brought up without any concept of being honest about our thoughts and feelings. Indeed, many of us lived by these ‘rules’:
Don’t say anything – stay silent
Don’t challenge anything – deny everything
Don’t feel anything – numb out
Don’t be different – become rigid
Don’t trust anyone – become isolated
Although our parents displayed dysfunctional behavior, they made it clear that their behavior was NOT the cause of the family problems. It was insinuated, by the adults, that another person/s was the cause of the family problems (and this includes their own children). In fact, it’s anyone else’s problem except the adults including the state system, health system, wider family members, the boss, employees, religious leaders, media stations, newspapers, transport workers, politicians, airlines and anyone else they could think of.
This belief created an unbalanced view of the world for us as children. We tried to make sense of what we heard but we were living in an environment which was chaotic, unpredictable, inconsistent and angry. We began to develop our own ‘inner rules’ which were things like ‘If I stay quiet, I won’t get hit. If I don’t ask for anything, I won’t be rejected. If I don’t feeling anything I can’t be hurt.’
The first rule that the family’s problems must never be discussed left us with the underlying threat was that breaking this rule invited punishment. We were told nothing was wrong yet we instinctively felt that something was wrong. As we’d been told that it’s not the adults who are wrong, we concluded that we must be wrong. We learn not to trust ourselves, or anyone for that matter.
We also experienced emotional abandonment which happens when the parent maybe physically in the room but is not emotionally present. Although our physical needs were met e. g. food on the table, a bed to sleep in, clothes to wear etc., there was little in the way of nurturing, emotional bonding, hugging, being cherished and feeling supported.
On this basis we learned to build a wall of denial, disassociate from our feelings and kept the pain hidden from others AND ourselves; it wasn’t safe to trust what we saw or heard. We learned at a young age to blame ourselves when things went wrong.
This step challenges those old rules by suggesting we reveal to another person exactly what happened to us as children and how we survived it. This may come as a crazy suggestion! However, many of us seem to have a good life yet we feel empty and unhappy. This is because we have severed the connection between the dysfunction in our original families and the pain we have now. Just because we moved away from the family town and set up house far away, this doesn’t erase the rules we learned as children and that still exist in us in an adult form.
We talk about what happened, and we learn to trust another person to hear our story without judging us. We finally get to talk about what matters to us rather than denying what happened to us. This is where we begin to identify ourselves as the child of a dysfunctional family and the ensuing process becomes an unfolding awakening.
An unfolding awakening is when we begin to understand that we can no longer deny the impact our childhood has had on our whole life. This is like a new dawning. We become aware that something was wrong in our childhood – but – we no longer need to deny it. We become aware of its psychological impact and we begin to make the connection between our current pain and childhood.
We begin to understand why we need to talk to others about our experiences. We know that it will bring us freedom and clarity. We do not wish to be trapped in the denial any longer.
To begin this process, we let go of our shame, fear, guilt and family secrets. We want to rid ourselves of things that weighed us down or held us back. The most effective way of doing this is simply by telling the truth about our lives, and us, to another person and to our Higher Power. For some of us this will be the first time we have told anyone about some of our most painful experiences.
What we are looking for is a spiritual meaning that can manifest in our lives and our relationships, including a relationship with our self. Developing a spiritual meaning is what takes us to far beyond the world of physical form. Spirituality connects us with the profoundly powerful and divine force that’s present in this universe. Spiritual knowledge connects us to out sense of self to something we may not have even ever imagined was within us. This is how the healing begins.
We are more powerful than we have ever imagined. As we realign ourselves with the spirit within us, our need to defend and react to others - or control how others see us - gradually leaves us. This universal force is the answer to our search for inner peace, worldy success and true enlightenment.
We all seek peace and serenity and these gifts are waiting for us. We embrace this step without huge expectations, but with a sincerity and grace. We leave the results to our Higher Power. We simply reclaim our humanity and our place in the world by coming out of hiding and sharing with another human being the exact nature of our story.
We started to shake things up with the personal evaluation steps (Steps 14, 17, 23, 24 and 25).
We can begin to clean out the inner debris that’s been blocking our personal fulfillment. We’ve begun to chip away at small amount of debris with the personal evaluation steps and the process of inner healing began at that point. Even so, we are instinctively aware there is more baggage weighing us down. Now is the opportunity to shed all the loose matter by sharing it with another person.
This step must be done soon after completing our personal evaluation. It is suggested that we undertake this step within two weeks.
Some of us make the appointment for sharing our story two weeks away and then start the personal evaluation. This is the only time in A Program of Miracles when we need to move quickly through a step. It's the one exception to the rest of the program.
As we now prepare to release stored grief and anger along with our family secrets and personal shame, it is imperative that we choose the right person to hear our story. Some of us choose a counselor to hear our story, but for many others this is not possible. However, there are many others out there working this program who would be available to listen to our story. We can find them through the forums and groups available to us.
We must be cautious about who we choose to hear our story. It won’t serve us well if we choose someone who chooses to judge us or shame us. Finding the right person isn’t as difficult as our inherent mistrust leads us to think. However, we must resist making a quick decision. What works well is if we reciprocate a step by listening to someone else's story because the other person will fully understand this process and this will open the door to acceptance. This is not possible to do on the same day, but can be arranged for on different days.
The Program of Miracles advises against asking a family member or friend to listen to our story. In learning to be honest about our past, we may censor ourselves if we share with someone who knows us. We don’t want to place ourselves in a position of vulnerability because we experienced that as children. We also need to protect ourselves with solid boundaries. If we can’t find a Miracle Worker to share our story on a reciprocal basis, there are many professionals who would be willing to hear our story. We may seek a registered therapist, a healer, a priest, or someone with whom we’ve built some trust.
Ideally, our listener will hear us in confidence, be compassionate, forgiving, nurturing and is someone who can help us get into the details, guiding us to see that what happened to us led us to this place. We pray for guidance from our Higher Power and the right people come into our lives.
Begin to think about someone with whom we could be willing to share our story. Make some notes about the people who would feel safe.
Then approach them and suggest a time to talk this through.
When you are satisfied this is the best choice, make a date to meet with them to undertake the next step.