In recovery, changing the way we live is a lifetime process and is perhaps the most important amends we can make. Putting down the drugs and alcohol was not hard, it was living without them and dealing with feelings. If you are like this addict, I used because of feelings- to supress them and not feel them. One of the biggest feelings I used over, was the past. I practically resided in the past, wishing it was different and hoping I could change it. I cannot change something that already happened, but I can learn from it! Our past is just that: the past. We must put it behind us so that it no longer lingers on the edge of our thoughts, waiting for a chance to haunt our present.
In my steps 8 and 9, unfortunately there were parts I was NOT willing to look at and put on my list nor make the amend. My sponsor constantly reminds me to pray on it and ask for willingness. Over the years, it has only affected me and critically stunt my growth in this process. The avoidance of walking through the feelings was complete and total fear. How long can I stay afraid?
Today, I am choosing to address situations instead of ignoring them. Acceptance is not about ignoring – it’s about recognizing situations and people for what or who they are. That was the hardest part for me. It was not until recently did I truly understand that this lesson. This process teaches us about spiritual principles we deal with in life and to live by them. The spiritual principles I learn most about are the ones I feel and experience personally. I read so much in the literature about powerlessness but did not learn it fully until I was powerless! As I become more aware of this, I gain more acceptance to the process and my faith that I am right where I am supposed to be. Becoming a parent, I have learned how hard it can be and that my parents did the best they could for me. They love me, tried to always do what was best but are still human, we all make some mistakes along the way. If you asked me about my parents when I was at Genesis, they were the reason I used and why I was sitting in a white chair in rehab. Everything was everyone else’s fault but mine, I was the victim.
The other day, the avoidance to make an amends to my father was brought to my attention. The person saying it recently lost their father and express the regret they felt for not addressing certain issues. I hold on so tightly to the pain about my dad, it weighs me down in many areas of my life. Through step work I have worked on it but never fully healed due to my own lack of acceptance. I had become so comfortable with the pain, I have not wanted to let go. Later, I prayed about the amends and picked up the phone. I called my dad and addressed how I felt and apologized for my part. Guess what? It was not as bad as I had projected for all these years. I walked through my fears, let my feelings be heard and felt acceptance to the situation. It sounds so simple, but my own avoidance made it very complicated for years!
If you are struggling with a situation from your past, have hope you will get through it and pray for the faith to believe in the process. My God has a way about timing, he reveals what I need to see when he sees fit, not when I felt it was time. I have faith in your Higher Power to do the same for you!