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- December 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm #4192120
Writing a letter.
“An ounce of blood is worth more than a pound of friendship.” Spanish proverb
Step Eight tells us we must become willing to make amends to the people on our list, and Step Nine brings us out of the passive and into the active phase of our recovery process. But, for the moment, what we really need to do is some soul-searching about why we need to make these amends, and the possible benefits we may derive from doing so.
Yesterday, we suggested parents as probable candidates to head our list. However, many of us no loner have a living father or mother, although we still carry an enormous amount of guilt over how we behaved toward them.
A wonderful solution was shared by a member of a self-help group who said: “The only way I could get rid of all that residual guilt and anguish was to write a letter to my dad, seal it and toss it into the fireplace. In it, I told him how much I truly loved him. I also told him how sorry I was for having lied to him, stolen from him and disparaged him in front of my friends because he was not successful enough to satisfy my ego needs.”
“Then I promised him that I’d do some nice, helpful things for older people whenever I could. I also promised to do those things silently and in his name. Then I felt better.”
Today’s Step: Even if it is no longer possible to be in touch, I find a way to express my amends to those I have harmed.
Step by Step. Muriel ZInkDecember 16, 2013 at 9:35 pm #4192121
How we’ve harmed others.
“We act as though comfort and luxery were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiatic about.” Anonymous.
Some of us had startling revelations when we did the exercise in which we evaluated the payoffs we experienced from our character defects. Now, if we look at those defects—this time to assess how they affected others—-we’ll find that our list of amends will start to grow.
For instance: How did our depressions affect our family, business associates, friends and neighbors? What impact did our lying have on them?
What about unfaithfulness, reckless handling of money, excesses of food and drink, being judgemental, unreasonable expecatation, sexual demands? Indifference? Dependency? Secrecy? Procrastination? Neglecting health problems? Selfishness?
We’ve tried to convience ourselves that our attitudes and behavior really harmed no one but ourselves. But as we really begin to dig, we find that we’ve only looked at the tip of the iceberg. The more we probe, the more we realize we have to probe. Since no human being exists in a vacuum, it would be an impossiblity not to affect others by our deeds, our moods and our demands.
Today’s Step: In honesty reviewing my character defects, I add to my list of amends.
Step by Step. Muriel ZinkDecember 17, 2013 at 6:59 pm #4192122
Matters of Property
“Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today.” Herman Wouk
Once we’ve covered all the financial areas where amends are called for, we need to see where matters of property have been affected. These can include places of employment, business and social activities, as well as the manner in which we treat both public and private facilities.
Have our actions caused damage or property loss to others when we have carelessly (or sometimes willfully) defaced or vandalized public buildings or real estate belonging to private parties?
Have we been responsible for automobile or recreational vehicle accidents in which others have been injured?
Whether we owned our home of rented from others, have we allowed the place where we live to have become so unkempt or seedy that it reduced property values or became a health hazard to others?
Have we been careless with cigarettes and burned holes in furnishings or clothes? Have we failed to do an honest day’s work, or have we collected sick-time pay when we were simply goofing off? Have we failed to follow through on a committment that caused our company and/or others to suffer financial losses? Have we made promises to help or support a cause and then failed to fulfull our obligation to do so?
As we search our conscience, we will certainly find many more instances where we need to set the situation right: where we must do whatever is possible to make restitution.
Today’s Step: I honestly examine the ways I have caused material loss and/or harm to others.
Step by Step. Muriel Zink
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