"The Wondering Jew"
Apr. 17, 2005 - 20:18 MDT
I guess the hardest part of the Twelve Steps in AA were the two that hurt the most.
Step Eight -- "Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."
That list, it was heartbreaking to me to make it. To make an actual record of the people I had harmed in one way or another. I didn't have an extreme number of years of alcoholism, but many people had been hurt by me. It was daunting to sit down and write it out.
Step Nine -- Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."
Another heartbreaker, noting the number of folks that were not here anymore -- or had left the state without a forwarding address. No way to say, "I'm sorry, what can I do to make it up to you ?" Just grieve that it was too late to do so.
Thoroughly chastened and sorrowful, I started on my list of people I could contact. Fortunately for me there were none who had been in financial trouble because of me. There would have been no way for me to make something like that up, at sixty seven years old I didn't really have that much life span left if it had been so.
Some folks would not accept an apology or an offer to make amends, telling me, "I have lost faith in you and probably will never get it back." All I could do was apologize for taking up their time and sorrow that we no longer had any kind of friendship.
Others more broadminded and possibly had a close friend or relative who had been in similar circumstances were kind, diplomatic and accepted with good will my effort to make amends."
Then the most difficult part of all for me was going to my family and try to make amends. Our kids were kind and loving and the gist of the whole thing was, "Don't screw up old man." But the one who was hurt the most by me was my wife Heather, one who had put up with my squirrley ways and weird habits the longest. A person who felt I loved her no more. To complicate matters was the fact that one of her brothers was an alcoholic to the end of his days (not sure that he was sober before he died in a wreck.)However he had no life to speak of for all the time I knew her.
All I could do was work the program, go to meetings and attend family gatherings. I would see her there, we would converse politely but the feeling was there that I was not wanted in her life anymore.
For about a year I lived in an apartment, worked my job and did it "one day at a time."
Finally Heather decided I was for real and invited me back home. But with a proviso, I would sleep in another room. Otherwise things would be as normal. I could see her trying to make up her mind if she believed in me enough to be sure that I wouldn't go the way her brother had, relapse after relapse. After several months passed she wholeheartedly accepted me for what I had become, once again a sober citizen.
Much water has passed under the bridge, many events have taken place and I am still here with Heather. At peace and not in a hangdog manner but still trying to MAKE AMENDS . . . . . . . . .0 comments so far