We were discussing Step 8 on Thursday night and I've been mulling this post ever since. As I have written here recently, I am currently writing my fourth step. This is not my first one. I began writing my original fourth step in my 3rd month of recovery. Taking the fifth step with my sponser around the 8th month. I remember discussing the rest of the steps with my sponser, moving on to 6 & 7, was I ready for 8 & 9, etc. She kept asking if I'd made my list. I thought I had (even though it was not in black and white) and I had begun making amends. I made an amends to my best friend and former roommate from high school, to my husband, to my daughter and then I stopped. I stopped because I began the process again. At some point, after attempting to sponser a couple of women and realizing that I wasn't confident in doing so (at least to my liking), I began the steps again, conceivably to get a better grasp. I understood that I had done a thorough and honest inventory but it was the best of my ability at 3 months sober and as I progressed through recovery I felt I could do a better job. And in doing so could perhaps do a better job at helping other alcoholics achieve sobriety.
As we discussed Step 8 Thursday it occurred to me that when my sponser and I had talked about making this list she kept suggesting I write it down. Made a list of all people I had harmed. I didn't do it. Me, who follows all suggestions! I had it in my head. I figured at some point I'd write it down but I didn't and I begain my amends without doing so. And then I stopped making my amends from my air brushed list because I was starting over. I now had a step study sponser with the blessing of my first sponser. We began at the beginning of the book reading it together, taking the third step together and now I'm writing my fourth step. It seemed reasonable to not continue with amends.
But I've been thinking. Is it possible that I started over, not necessarily for the supposedly altruistic motive of better carrying the message and becoming a good sponser, but more because I didn't want to make that list in the first place and continue on with the amends? The next person on the list in my head is my son. A tough cookie to talk to. One who doesn't necessarily want to hear it. One whose sole means of communication is one word responses and one word texts. Am I really simply trying to avoid that? And isn't it better to make that amends to the best of my ability whether or not I am there in the process? My son has a lot of pent up anger and resentment towards me. I am not doing him any favors by not addressing it. Some of it for sure is simply developmental, he's a teenager, just graduated, moving on and separating. Some of it has nothing to do with my alcoholism but simply Life 101 that kids tend to blame their parents for, we had to move out of town, financial matters. But some of it is a direct result of my alcoholism. Can't be easy coming home to your mother who's slurring and swaying or worse, snoring in complete pass out mode. Anyway, I talked about it at the meeting and I'll talk about it with my sponser. It's true what they say, more will be revealed. I had really convinced myself that becoming a better sponser was my motivation to going through the steps again.....and yes, that's part of it.....of course...but I cannot deny anymore that perhaps a bigger part of my motivation was FEAR...fear of making amends....and what they may or may not bring.
Pretty amazing how when your eyes are open to the presence of God, you can suddenly see. Sometimes it takes a hit over the head....it did in this instance. I had to be embarrassed by some woman making a public comment about my son's attitude towards me and my husband. My first reaction was anger and self pity. But thankfully, because I am in recovery, that didn't really even last the car ride home. I took an honest look at myself. The Step 8 meeting came right on the coattails and it became evident to me what was happening. Godsmack.
For him who flew the nest
6 hours ago