August 30

COURAGE MONTH: DAY 30: “Courage to me is doing something daring, no matter how afraid, insecure, intimidated, alone, unworthy, incapable, ridiculed or whatever other paralyzing emotion you might feel. Courage is taking action….no matter what.  So you’re afraid? Be afraid.  Be scared silly to the point you’re trembling and nauseous but do it anyway!” ― Richelle E. Goodrich

I know that everyone who embarks on this journey into 12-step recovery is reluctant, to say the least, to make the list as described in Step 8 and become willing to make amends to them all.

We all think we can get away from others whom we have harmed by hook or by crook, which is the thinking that keeps us drunk and/or loaded.

I get that. Doing it no matter what we think is the secret code of these steps. We do it, period. Even when we know it will harm them or us. We do it because we have people who will testify in meetings about what happened to their lives when they did it.

There are very few situations where we truly endanger someone else. We will have stories around how that is, but we can always change (amend) our behavior for the better without anyone having to know why.

I had a penchant for dating only married men most of my years before recovery. I did not see this as a problem, and certainly had no idea of making amends for it at any future date. As I viewed it, through the lens of Kelly-thinking, was I was the understanding other woman who would ALWAYS send those men back home to the wife  and kids when they got to be too much for me to handle. This meant that I did not want any kind of permanent relationship with any of these men, they were merely a convenient way for me to enjoy life without commitment. I am THAT girl…the party girl, the girl you take on vacations and out to nice restaurants, etc.

When you need stuff done for you, go home. When you need to be in a long-term relationship, go home! Buy me presents and ply me with a good time, but don’t expect to move in with me. I am not here for that.

So, when I was working on Step 6, I was stuck on what some of my defects truly were. A situation revealed to me as I was planning to go down to Mexico with a man I really wanted to go with. He met all my standards in early recovery, based on them not having changed much since my party days. And I said “NO” to him without knowing that was coming out of my mouth. What got revealed to me 3 painful and tearful days later was that God had removed a defect that was NOT on my list…sleeping with married men! Holy shit!

So, I did not go to any of the women whose husbands I had slept with in the past to make an amends. It was made for me! I have not slept with another woman’s husband since that day. Sadly, that man who I wanted to go to Mexico with never got more than the 2 years of recovery he had when I told him No. He died loaded several years later, having lost his wife and baby, all his money in the divorce (there was a LOT!), and everything that had ever mattered to him.

So, we do these things, without always knowing the outcomes, because we are not fortune tellers with  an accurate record. The only way I can predict my future is if I do not change my present. And change I must, because life is going to slap me again and  again until I do. I love what I am getting, so I am going to keep on doing what I am doing…it is all very, very good stuff!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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