by Natasha B. (Munro 2012)
My name is Natasha and I’m an alcoholic and an addict. When I came into the program I was willing to do anything my sponsor told me. Until I got to Step 9. Make amends to people? Seriously!???!!!
My sponsor must have been crazy if she thought I was going to make amends to my father!!! I was never going to make amends to that jerk! He abused my mom and ruined our family.
But I knew amends would be necessary, so I focused on all the recent ones.
I had done some pretty terrible things in my first 90 days. Yup, sober. I stole from my employer. I knew I had to make amends.
People warned me that I would go to jail, lose my job, and never be trusted again. I remembered that I was willing to go to any lengths to recover, so I did what I thought was best.
I replaced the money and made amends to my boss, and I didn’t get fired. I was shocked.
The one amend I knew was going to be hard was my mother. I had lied, stolen, cheated and the like to her for years. How could I make this up to her? But I made amends to my mother and we had a beautiful cry session. Today I do a living amend to her. I show up and participate in life – and, of course, I don’t pick up.
When I was in treatment in July 2012 I started having vivid dreams about sexual abuse and my father was very present in the dreams.
I spoke to the counsellors and they told me I had to do an inventory on this with my sponsor and learn to forgive and let go. I realized that I totally had stuffed this traumatic event for 25 years. I never remembered it. Looking back, I now see where my behaviours and impulsivity around men came from.
So I did what my sponsor told me to do. I prayed. I prayed for the willingness to make amends.
Seriously, though, what part did I even have? I was a victim of child abuse and dammit he should say sorry to me.
I was reading the Big Book and on page 66/67 I found:
This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.”
Then it hit me and my heart became awakened and boom I realized my father was sick. How could I be angry at someone who is sick?
I went to church that Sunday, even though it had been years since I went to church, and the pastor said, “If anyone needs a healing, please come to the front.” So I went to the front of the altar and cried my eyes out (people who know me, know that I cry a lot – imagine that times 1,000).
Even though my father is not part of my life today I am totally 100% okay with that, because my side of the street is clean!!!
Making amends doesn’t mean everything will be all cheerio and roses, it’s making sure that if I die tomorrow I know that I did the best to right my wrongs.
I now make amends quickly if I have harmed someone, and it’s way easier than holding on to anger and resentment. I try to always do the next right thing, but I have to remember, I am a work in progress and for that I’m grateful.
One response to “Alumni Perspective: Righting My Wrongs”
As it turns out, I believe that essentially everyone is “sick” – it’s really just a matter of the nature and degree.
An analogy: in times past, people would take an IQ test to determine IF they were “smart” or a “genius,” or not. But now, it is correctly said that it’s not a matter of IF a person is smart, but, rather, HOW a person is smart.
So, in that same manner with regard to emotional and spiritual fortitude, for any one of us it’s not a matter of IF we’re “sick,” but HOW much so and in exactly WHAT kind of manner. Thus, in this respect, we’re all really on the exact same emotional playing field – it’s merely a matter of which position on the field we happen to be playing. This perspective, I believe, is both humbling and empowering for us all.