We were reading the first few pages of Step 8 from the Twelve and Twelve last Monday evening. When it was time to share, I was amazed at the number of women who had not quite gotten to this Step. It may have been that they were new to sobriety or that they had relapsed a few times and so were rather stuck in the same place. There was one woman, I believe she was new to the meeting, that when called to share said that she had been sober for something like 15 years but didn’t work Step 8 or any of the steps and might be looking for a sponsor.
I have to admit I didn’t want to judge but I didn’t quite get that one. We would call that being a “dry drunk”. I know without the steps I sure would be one of these because I know for sure my behavior would never have changed. As a matter of fact, I believe I would be extremely angry and miserable.
Being a “dry drunk” is not the topic of my article this week. It is about making amends but not necessarily the first time you make them via Steps 8 and 9. Keep in mind that Step 8 is only making the list and being willing but it is so difficult to separate 8 from 9 especially after you have done both.
The past week I received a phone call from my sister. She left a message and her tone insinuated that there was something important she needed to tell me. Our dad had not been well for quite a while and so I was fairly sure her call had something to do with him. I was correct. When I called her, she said he was taken to the hospital. He was having difficulty breathing but after some tests, they couldn’t figure out why. He would have to stay in the hospital for as long as it took for him to be safe going home.
Within the week so much happened and thank God for email. The time difference between me and my family is presently three hours which doesn’t sound like much until you look at your watch and realize there’s no way you can call. My dad went from difficulty breathing to a spot on his lung, to a bowel blockage, to borderline kidney failure. I am fortunate to come from a family that has always prayed and had faith in God (they did even when I didn’t). I also have four of my six siblings living close to my parents so that none of us has to take total responsibility.
So as I was sitting at this meeting and everyone was sharing Step 8, I was thinking of my dad. I was thinking of him and amends. I wasn’t thinking of his situation as doom and gloom or feeling hysterical or terribly emotional at the prospect of him leaving us. I tried to reflect on my life with my dad. I had made amends to him a while ago but as time goes by, there are things that crop up that were forgotten. Maybe they were not terribly important but do all amends have to be major? I only wanted to make sure that there was nothing I had left unsaid. The “leave no stone unturned” was in my mind. I did not want to be one of those people who say, “If only I had said this or that. I thought there was time.”
One week later my dad is still in the hospital but the improvement in his health has been somewhat of a miracle. The power of prayer and the fact that God must not want him right now has been of comfort to all of us. I’m still thinking if there is anything I need to say to him. While I’m at it, perhaps I should be thinking of amends to other people I love. Maybe it is not even amends that I would make. Maybe it is just saying, “I love you”. We can never say that enough.
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.