Step 8: Amends and Amen

Corners and light

I’m not going to write about this. Am I? I’ve tried for two hours to not write. It didn’t work.

The thing about a compulsive writer is that everything is material. The good things and the terrible things all eventually get hammered out on a keyboard. Maybe I think better with my fingers moving.

This morning I was glibly working on a Step 8 and 9 post and listening to Joe and Charlie when reality tapped me on the shoulder. They were just saying that it’s a good idea to make a list of people you need to make an amends to and divide the page into 4 columns.

  1. Those you still love and want to apologize to right now.
  2. Those who maybe you will make an amends with at some point in the future
  3. Those select few whom you never will ask for their forgiveness

My heart started racing. Not a good sign. That, and the buddy-burner fire in the gut which signals anger, are two things I’ve learned to pay attention to and consequently dread. Regret dead-ahead is what those signals can mean.

But since AA, I’ve come to know I’m at a crossroads when my heart starts pounding. I have a chance to choose how to act on my intense emotional reactions once again. O….K.

First, I start to make excuses. I don’t have to deal with the Never guys because they surely hurt me more than I ever hurt them. As soon as I thought it, I knew that didn’t matter.

Why would I want to anyway…? I don’t want to. And it’s too late to make any difference. And I can’t possibly find their phone or email addresses. And it will just stir up things that don’t need to be. And right now what I really need is potato chips or ice cream.

Heart still pounding, I called my sponsor. I started out, You know, my first sponsor didn’t really... but I stopped myself. Cut!

Take two: he kind of laughed at my explanation that I’d never made an amends to the two people with whom I had the darkest problems of my life because it just never occurred to me. (Well…it was pretty much tit for tat. I didn’t make their life very easy either.) How could it not occur to me? Maybe I put them on the ‘never’ list and just refused to let it enter my mind?

There’s some disagreement about whether an amends involves an apology and request for forgiveness or is just an admission of wrong doing. If I’m going to contact someone who I never wanted to talk to again, then I’m going to go for the gold. I don’t want to have to do this again because later I decide I only half-way did what’s required.

2 Buck Chuck. Where did that come from? I haven’t had a wine craving in forever. Well, wouldn’t you know? More choices.

Not really. I have no choice about whether to drink or not, unless I’m going to self-destruct. I’m not even going to think about whether I have to do these amends. If the mere topic is making me want to drink, then I guess it’s clear what I need to do. Amends? Amen.

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