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January 15

“We can also list the things we feel guilty about. We look at things we did that we knew were wrong and about which we feel remorse.”

Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 36

I used to confuse guilt and shame, but now I know that guilt, or recognizing a wrongdoing, can be a good thing. Shame, a feeling and belief of being defective or not good enough, is not healthy. Guilt is a sign that something needs to be addressed, like an indicator light in a car. Just as letting a problem persist for too long in a vehicle can cause expensive or even irreparable damage, putting off working a step can have undesirable consequences, too.

Working the Steps around guilty feelings keeps me from the hopelessness of shame, and moves me into the transformative light of grace and self-acceptance. Taking responsibility for my actions empowers me and everyone else. I cease being a victim as I promptly own my part and make amends. With help, I accept what I can’t change, and I’m given courage to let it go. I also ask God to heal the wounds in me that add to the problem, and to help me find strength and courage to do the right thing. Through this process, my guilt is removed and replaced with forgiveness.

God, help me not to fear guilt, but to recognize it as a signal to work the Steps.