September 30

FREEDOM MONTH: DAY 30: “Freedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves.”― Friedrich Nietzsche

When I consider this in conjunction with Step 9, the spiritual principle of freedom permeates this quote.

Making amends is never about apologizing. It is about making those changes WE need to make in our relationships with others, even when we no longer have ongoing relationships with them, to clean up what we did in that relationship that we know is wrong.

I have heard, literally, thousands of addicts tell me that they did not believe they did anything wrong. That they only “harmed themselves.” Which is pure bullshit.

We tore apart the lives of everyone in our wake as we rolled over and through the world, with absolutely no thought of anyone other than Me!, Me!, Me!

In and of itself tells me that I need to change my behavior to be mindful of what I do and how I do it. I must go out into the world and participate with others as we do life in the world today. Whether or not I like the rules of the world, I obey them because they exist. My opinion about them means nothing. This means I don’t do things that are wrong by social standards. My one offense, and most of you know it, is that I love to drive faster than I am supposed to. I sometimes am more mindful of this, but love to drive fast. Not a saint yet, but I will always claim what I do if I know it is wrong.

So not preaching, but speaking honestly about what the principle of this is. I take responsibility for my behaviors. I don’t go out of my way to be an asshole who is entitled and taking over more than my share of life or destroying others’ ability to live theirs. I did that. A lot! I don’t any more.

Step 9 gives me the format for ongoing relationships with others and how to move through them without violating their lives any further. I have a contract with each person or organization. Some of you also know that I spent 19 years making amends of a financial nature with the IRS. Not a fan, but too bad. I owed the money, and so I did it. I also had to risk spending a long time in prison to clean up all the wreckage of my felony warrants. That turned out okay in the long run, but the risk was there until I completed the amends. All of this gave me freedom. I don’t ever have to look over my shoulder and see who or what may be coming up behind me. There is no longer anyone I screwed over looking for me. It is an amazing feeling! The best step of all, for me.

I am so grateful for my freedom! It is like the forefathers of our country felt when they fought hard for their beliefs in forming their own nation and formulating its new laws. When we lay our guns down, we walk away with our heads up and can look the rest of the world in the eye. Nothing like that!

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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