Chris R. “The Recovered Way of Life” – AA Speaker – 12-Step Alcoholism Recovery
Incredible share by Alcoholics Anonymous speaker, Chris R. He addresses the issues he had with relapse and why he was lagging behind in the steps process. Sometimes it is the littlest thing, that can make the biggest impact.
Amends are life changing
It’s our secrets that kill us. So being able to get that stuff off our chest is a good thing. But the process doesn’t stop there. We have a tendency to want to compartmentalize everything. When we do the first step we put it in to a box, then the second, and third etc. All the steps flow together though; they aren’t as compartmental as we like to think sometimes. When I did my inventories, they showed me the character defects for me to get rid of. I’m going to take care of that in a prayer an hour after I do this work, and then I’m going to make an eight step list. After that, I need to start making amends to somebody. My problem with doing a fifth step with a priest, who is not in AA, is that they will probably just say, “Go and sin no more.” They don’t say anything about cleaning up your crap from the past. That’s the stuff that’s holding us back. I don’t know who said this, but it was a great quote. It says, “It’s not making the mistake that kills me, it’s defending it that does the damage.” Boy, can I relate to that. We are all human and we’re all going to make mistakes rather than say something stupid. It’s defending it and not cleaning it up that causes the entire problem.
This reminds me of when I learned to water ski on a little lake out in front of where I currently live. There was a guy that was teaching us how to do that and he said, “Chris, keep you balance, but if you start to fall, let go of course.” Well when it actually happened, I would lose my balance and I would hang on. I would not do what he told me. I would hang on so hard, and go underwater; I would come back up with vines and stuff hanging from my ear! He said, “What part of letting go aren’t you getting?” That’s what I did with my life for twenty years of drinking and drugging. That’s what I did with my life. I hung on to everything; the damage that I did, and the mistakes I made. Going in and out of AA, I just wound not let go completely, I would not go make amends. What we have in this program, is we have too many people that have these little things called unsigned sickness pacts, and some of you have heard me talk about and I’m going to go to an AA group and I’m going to make a deal with you. You’re not going to hold me accountable.
I’m not going to hold you accountable and we’re going to be the best friends; that’s going to be awesome. You don’t make amends and I’m not going to say anything to you about it and you’re not you with us. We’re just let bygones be bygones. The problem is that we do. Everybody around us a disservice when we allow this to happen. What I didn’t understand when I got to this fellowship, and for those seven years I was in and out, is how important making amends is to the program. The Big Book speeds nine pages explaining how to do just about every amends possible. For people like me, skipping amends is not an option. We sit down with our sponsor we’ve got a set list and we go over this with this. Then we go in to action and do it. It is one of the most powerful and vital experiences in recovery.