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March 22 • A Mend in Time

Day 622

My first official amend was written about four months ago. From the first day I stepped into the 12 Step program, I was working on my list of people to whom I would have to tell my story, and essentially apologize for how my choices impacted their lives.

For months, it was a short list; my wife, maybe my kids, and that was about it. As I worked through my 8th Step, it became clear that my circle of damage was much more extensive than I had admitted to myself. For one thing, it didn't dawn on me that part of my recovery was making amends to people with whom I could not — or should not — talk. The women of my affairs were off-limits. The massage parlor workers were not a practical audience (even if they did speak English or still work in the same places). And the people that I worked with that were harmed by my lower productivity or the cast of suspicion that would fall on innocent co-workers if my actions became known; I could not do an amend to them without causing more harm. Some of that may be BS, but it is true for me.

I did write a letter amend to the 'ladies of the tables' expressing my sorry and shame for what I did and may have done to them (An Amend to Sex Workers). It was a painful and cleansing experience to write that. It is uncomfortable to share it here.

And there was another letter, one that I wrote as a counseling assignment early in my recovery. It was a pivotal point for me as I began the process of connecting some of the events of childhood with the pattern of my addiction. I did not write A Letter to the Little Girl as an amend; I didn't even know what an amend was at the time. But as I worked Steps Eight and Nine, this letter kept coming to mind as an example of how admitting your bad acts to a harmed person, even in a letter that will never be read by them, moves the brain and the heart toward healing.

This act of writing a letter in no way justifies or rationalizes what I did. It neither excuses me nor functions as forgiveness. But it can be part of the process, even if a small part. A little healing today is better than more injury and gives hope for more healing tomorrow.

Tomorrow will get here soon enough; today, I will celebrate the progress that comes from reliving and sharing this moment in my recovery.



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