To Amend or Not to Amend, That is the Question
Quick Monday Meeting Recap:
Of course I am biased, but today was a spectacular meeting! We had 11 people, which is a fine number of attendees: everyone gets to share, but no one feels pressured to speak. We had a perfect blend of sobriety (again, I am biased!)… one person had 12 days, one person had 25 years, and lots of time in between. I like having the mix because it provides such a broad spectrum in terms of perspective.
Today was a Step 8 meeting (made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all). If you are unfamiliar with the 12 steps of recovery and are interested in a little more background with regard to Step 8, I wrote a post about it earlier this year, check it out!
In my experience, the main topic of conversation at a Step 8 meeting is how detailed one needs to be in terms of making the list of people one has harmed. Do you need to make amends to the playground buddy you pushed off the swing when you were six years old?
The sub-topic is just how detailed one needs to be while actually making an amends with respect to past misdeeds. Usually a lively discussion follows, because there are people who will take the amends process to great lengths, while there are others who believe strongly that the intent of steps 8 and 9 (step 9 is actually making the amends) is to clean up your side of the street, but not at the expense of another’s peace of mind.
And then there are the murkier ethical dilemmas, such as: what if your mistake has legal implications, but many years have gone by? Do you risk legal consequences in order clear your conscience? There are diverse opinions on all of these subjects, which is why step 8 is a fascinating topic to explore.
At less than two years of sobriety, all I know for sure is that I have a lot to learn about sobriety, so I don’t feel like I need to rush the amends process. A friend of mine who happened to attend today’s meeting, a woman with nine years of sobriety, says the longer she stays sober the more she understands all the amends she needs to make. That makes sense to me, and so I have faith that when the time is right, I will know it, and I will have the serenity, courage and wisdom with which to make amends.
As always, I welcome feedback from my friends in recovery… what are your thoughts on the amends process?
I have stayed true to the individuals to whom I’ve made amends in the last 18 months, and I have not had to add to my list since becoming sober!
Posted on August 19, 2013, in Monday Meeting Miracles and tagged Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, Alcoholism, Amends, Miracle, Recovery, Sobriety, Substance Abuse, Support group, Twelve Step, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.