Step 9: Thunder

Yesterday was odd, like an out-of-season thunderstorm. When I lived on the West coast for three years, I discovered that they infrequently had thunder. After a while, I became used to the frequent winter wind force of 40 mph and the horizontal rain and the gusts of 80 mph. While living there, only a couple of times did I hear thunder and it felt odd. I’d become unaccustomed to thunder. It felt wrong… even though I’d spent 57 years hearing thunder in Iowa and Minnesota without giving it a thought.

It was like that for me yesterday when I realized I had an un-righted wrong hanging over my head. In the past, I had a lot of unrighted wrongs but it’s been 4 years since I lived like that. Yesterday I realized I had not made an amends to two of the people whom I should have contacted years and years ago, when I first got sober, if not before. The wrongs I’d committed were over 20 years old by the time I got to AA, the amends were way overdue.

Or…not. Maybe this was God’s timing, said a friend. Could it be that either you or one of them just wasn’t ready for it until now? I don’t know and don’t need to.

But clearly, I am not the self-aware person I thought I was. I’m still reeling from not knowing that I had these amends to make. Add to that, until I listened to Joe and Charlie I wasn’t aware of the idea that we should use the people from our Step 4 to make the list of Step 8. I just went to people who came to mind and never really had an organized list. Obviously, I regret not knowing how to pick a sponsor. The way the program should work means having valuable guidance in the first Steps. Now I find I have several other people I will be contacting.

As you know if you’ve read a number of my posts, I used to be highly reactionary. That comes with a whole set of problems but it also means that I’ve had a fair amount of practice making apologies! I know how to do it. Also, one of the advantages that go along with being reactive is this: as soon as I feel in my gut that I should be doing something, I go for it.

I’m so surprised that I’ve already been able to reach the people that I needed to apologize to. They were both gracious and gave me their forgiveness. I feel relieved, encouraged and softer, somehow. I know God is at work. He will keep refining my edges, smoothing down my rough points, even the ones I don’t know I have.

I’m so thankful for the support of my good Al-anon friend. The program works. It really does. It works even when I’m not doing it perfectly. I love AA. Thank you, God! Just like the thunder, He keeps surprising me.