Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
From the AA Big Book:
How It Works
We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory. We subjected ourselves to a drastic self- appraisal. Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves. If we haven't the will to do this, we ask until it comes. Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over alcohol.
-A.A. Big Book p.76
This is the Step I take next. Me and my HP are still sitting on Step 7. Well, I am sitting and HP is smiling at me indulgently, much as one would at the child I am.
The deal is, most of the people I listed in my Step 4 are no longer in my life. Through death or being in distant geographic places. Those that are still in my life, well, amends are going to be difficult.
But that's okay. No one said these Steps would be a painless process. I can be rather dense, so sometimes I need to be reminded of my life lessons in a painful or difficult manner. That's okay.
Maybe I will wise up SOON so things won't have to hurt so badly?
(An aside: I was at a meeting on Monday and fighting the beginnings of a heavy depression. I commented that I was tired of people telling me what a strong person I am for having put with my alcoholic, or having lived through suicides of friends, or attempted suicides of friends or whatever, and I wanted the opportunity to NOT be strong. ???What was that??? When I look back on this comment, I think it is just me wanting to escape, and the only thing I keep trying to escape is myself, being me.)
Yesterday my boss took me and the other half of the management team out to lunch at a nice restaurant to thank us for all our hard work. We had some great conversation, and he said some pretty insightful stuff. One thing he said struck me and has stayed with me. He said that people should be able to deal with anything as long as people (others as well as ourselves!) are honest. And yet sometimes that is the hardest part.
This Step, Step 8, is about honesty as well as willingness. I have to look at who I owe amends to, and I have to be willing to make them. The Program is kind to us though, and saves the actual amends making until the next Step. In this, as in Step Six, I am being asked to be willing.
And how can I not be willing when I have already been literally saved by working these Steps up to this point?
As I mentioned in an early post, I was able to make amends for my immaturity and dependency to my grandmother on Sunday, June 7, 2009. In the early Monday morning of the 8th of June, she died. I was standing in my kitchen at my house, which I have now lost, when my mother called to tell me the news. A piece of my heart was ripped away when I heard her cries, and it is still gone and hurts still. But I have this program to thank because REGRET is not poisoning my grief. She knew I love her. She told me she loved me too.
There are others I was not able to make amends to. From the experience, strength and hope I have gotten from others in Al-Anon meetings with me, I know that is NOT too late to make amends to the people who have died. More than one person had told me about graveside amends, and about writing a letter, reading it aloud and watching it go up to heaven in smoke. Those people have passed on to another realm, and they know when we are sorry and when we have made our amends. Everyone does the best they can until they learn better, and I completely believe that people who have died know this truth better because they have passed on. (I have no idea if this makes sense, but I feel this strongly.)
Finally there will be those who I have to face and fess up to. I don't relish that, but I look forward to knowing that they will know I have done my best until I knew better, and now know better. I will look forward to the removal of regret.
Thanks for listening...
May all your dealings be honest, and not create an amends for later!