Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

Finding the Path from Justifying to Testifying

As an avid reader, writer, and speaker about life before and after recovery from life-threatening addiction, I appreciate the use of carefully placed words. The hope is that the tale takes anyone interested from point A to point B with little confusion and, with any success, a connection. I learned that when I testify, there is no need to justify.

On the other hand, as a woman in long-term recovery, I appreciate those private moments when I witness the use of messy, scattered, nonsensical words spoken by someone who reached a point when their need to justify and deny turns into a need to testify and accept the truth.

I know that need from the inside out. For a long time, I tossed the details of my actions after one too many drinks and not enough food into a justification blender. My hope was that what poured out would make sense to those I prayed would listen.

Before I uttered a word, I silently practiced those well-mixed stories to assure they validated my chaotic, self-focused, emotionally disruptive behavior. I thought, once said, they would protect me from the judgement of others and shame from myself.

I believed justification and fabricated rationalization were my strong suit. I believed my use of manipulative words would alleviate vulnerable moments and emotional pain. I believed all that until one day none worked. People didn’t stop to listen, they started to disregard my means of denial. Those woven pieces of untruths were finally only believed by me.

Couple Silhouette Breaking Up A Relation

This was my turning point. This was when my need to testify and accept the truth became stronger than my need to justify my behavior by denying them with lies. When I turned that corner, my whole outlook on life changed.

No one could take that alternative path for me. Yet everyone who led the kind of life I wanted, free from unhealthy actions and behaviors that required justification, showed me the way. I listened with rapt attention to their testimonials, each laced with a sense of peace that was magnetic.

Today, my intention for writing and speaking is to offer the same kind of testimony that promotes the possibility for overcoming whatever keeps someone from living an honest life.

What pains me most is when I see and hear nonstop justification from people who are clearly struggling. The ripple effect of their denial is heartbreaking mostly because they can’t, as I couldn’t, recognize how far and wide that goes. I don’t hear their fictional account of what happened. I hear their cries for help.

I can’t walk the path from justifying to testifying for them but, if they are willing, I can show them the way.

A Moment to Breathe

Do you ever find yourself creating rationale for actions taken or words spoken? Do you wake up in the morning with a sense of fear that what happened the night before requires some back peddling? I have too. When that happens, take a few slow deep breaths to settle down those racing thoughts of doom. Nothing said in desperation will unwind yourself from those fears. Take a few more deep breaths and then, slowly, consider your options. Sometimes that includes a call with a trusted friend to account for what happened and then, together, you can create that next right step. 


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7 thoughts on “Finding the Path from Justifying to Testifying

  1. Marlene on said:

    So good to know you are still out there sharing your thoughts…..Marlene g

    • Marlene! Your kind words are a wonderful surprise and I thank you for your continued support of my blog. I hope all is well at your end. Stay in touch!

      • Marlene on said:

        I’m hanging on with my fingernails…My husband has been extremely ill since October and we are both exhausted….I am practicing the program and taking care of us as best I can. We are living the moments and taking it a day at a time. Sorry to read the news about Mc but I can understand. I’m looking into some online meetings for support. Keep up the good work and I will look forward to your next share…Marlene from Nebraska..

  2. Steve Mandel on said:

    Thank you for your words of insight

  3. Steph on said:

    Wow! I do know this ALL the TIME! I am having a rough time right now. I closed a church and hoped to start a new one. I am being pushed to face my truth but it comes from manipulation. I have made mistakes and blamed other people.

    • Hi Steph, we all do.

      That “me too” connection is why I write. I need comments like yours to remind me that, regardless of circumstances, the feelings I experience during life’s ups/downs are not unique and, if shared, are sure to connect me with those feeling something similar.

      So thank you, Steph. I hope we will meet here again.

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