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Old 05-16-2014, 06:36 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 115

It has been stated that we can't live in the past, nor the future, for that
matter. But in going through some of the past during the course of
the last week in thinking about these amends, I've found myself actually
doing just that. That's not to say that it has neccessarily been such a
bad thing either. Actually, the whole process of putting pen to paper with
the names of the people themselves, was the exact experience that allowed
me to take even more ownership of certain past events, especially when
juxtaposed with not only the facts, but also the perception of what the other
person may or may not have went through. Very liberating. Extremely

Let me put to you this way. If I were to now come in contact with any or
all of these people, both dead or alive, I would like to think that, given
the present circumstances, I'd be much more approachable, much more
capable of handling the potential one on one conversation that may or may
not evolve, than say, I would have been, had I not been obedient enough to
sit down with a handful of index cards, and write down the names of the people
that I'd done harm to, and really thought long and hard about what I hade done
to them, and what I'd do in order to offer an amends.

A lot of the names were of people who'd suffer the blunt end of the self-absorbed,
misanthropic type of behavior, long before I got heavily involved in drugs and
alcohol. Does it mean that I'm any less responsible for it? Of course not. Does
it mean that I felt any less guilty about what I'd done to them, having done an
eighth? Of course not. No, what it did was allow me the latitude, to take the
addiction, and the fact of my selfishness, completely out of the picture long enough
for me to see the harm itself. No longer was I thinking, well gee you were
drinking, or worst yet, well gee she did in fact do this and that, and you
reacted in this way, and if that hadn't happened, then you might not have done what
you did.

The hypothetical was removed, along with any excuse that was previously embedded.
Now, what was happening WAS the complete, and utter ownership of what had
transpired. I did do this. I did do that. My harm to you was...(fill in the blank).
And there was absolutely no excuse whatever. This had to be paramount with the
whole process. Otherwise, I was turning into this little sniffling pity pot of why,
why, why, thus searching for some sort of alibi riddled fantasy of crawling on my
hands and knees to these people, and in some kind of humiliated act of unworthiness,
begging and pleading for their forgiveness. If their forgiveness comes, fine. But it
shouldn't be a prerequisite for an amends. What it comes down to plain and simple,
is my categorical, and face to face acknowledgement of every harm I've done to them.
I own up to it, and I own what I did. No ifs, ands, or buts in the matter.

Where my ego starts coming into play is in what I plan on doing to offer an amends.
Actually in a sarcastic tone I thought something along the lines of, well maybe I
could mow the yard a few times, or babysit their kids. You see, all I want to do is
sit on the sidelines, wandering in the grace of the whole affair. Rectifying the
situation puts me back where I'm uncomfortable and ego-driven, and that's that
place in which I immediately begin to define what's in it for me, and defy the
gracious gift of grace by wallowing in it. This is where I need work. This is
where I need to desperately put the needs of others ahead of myself. I admit that.
Not only do I think I have a real problem offering an amends, I also think I have
a problem, accepting the amends of others. I just want them to go in peace, and
leave me alone. It's like, okay you've done what you've done, now go away. It
only reminds me of how insane I still am, and how much I really do need help,
in working with other individuals.

I'm also having difficulty in the acceptance of the whole premise of making an
indirect amends for something that I did to someone directly. Maybe it is because
I've never tried it, and therefore through a crash course in deductive theory, I
can speculate that I haven't done it, and it doesn't work. Take for example, a
guy who slapped a woman, and gets to the 8th and 9th step, and can't find her,
or when he does, he realizes that if he gets anywhere near her, her jealous
husband will break his jaw, and decides instead, to volunteer at a homeless
shelter for unwed mothers or something. Granted, he may attain some nobility
in a good cause, and go on to become a pillar of the community. During the
meantime, she could go through life still thinking that he was the sonofagun
who slapped me that time. She may be willing to accept his amends, and he
may be more than willing to give them, but there's no disputing that they are
two parties separated by a gulf that doesn't ever provide any real closure to
the original harm. Or does it? Maybe he lives the amends, and that's as
best as he can do.

Which is another topic I've heard inside the rooms from opposite sides
of the spectrum. I see nothing detrimental about living my life with an
attitude that my life is, or should be lived, as an example of a living amends.
It's been said that the life of an alcoholic affects the lives of at least a hundred
other people, and if that is in fact the case, then I am willing to make living
amends for all the people who've been on the receiving end of the living
wrath that I heaped upon people that I probably don't even remember.

This came up in an open meeting one time, and since I hadn't worked
an eighth or ninth step, I proceeded to share how I'd been downright ugly
to a clerk at a 7/11 when I mistakenly had counted the change that he
had given me. I was rude. And after going back to the hotel, I felt horrible
that I'd been such a jerk to this guy. Since I'm a recovering alcoholic,
and now have a conscience, I decided to drive back down to the convenience
store and apologize for my behavior. Nothing unusual. In some form,
that's a living amends. If it wasn't, I wouldda just said screw it, that guy
will forget eventually, and I will too, given enough time. As a matter of
fact, I don't think he remembered, or if he did, he didn't make much of
deal out of my going back to apologize. It sure made me feel a lot better
though. I do know that.

On another occassion, I'd stolen very large spoonfulls of coffee from an employer
years ago. And since my caffeine addiction never got in the way of my cocaine
addiction, I helped myself to the coffee storage under the counter. They later
went out of business, and the owner's deceased. Subsequently, since getting
sober it's hard to tell how much coffee I've made, bought, and given away to people
who didn't even ask for it. I enjoy doing it, but I'll never be able to repay the
coffee that I stole from someone. That, I also think, is a living amends.

See, I've already contradicted myself. I don't have difficulty with me doing it, I just
don't understand why anyone else would want to. That's it, there's the ego again.
In and out. Up and down.

"Any fool can try to defend his mistakes--and most fools do--but it gives one a feeling of nobility to admit one's mistakes. By fighting, you never get enough, but by yielding, you get more than you expected." --Lawrence G. Lovasik
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