Monday, September 7, 2015

Are You Waiting on Amends or Making Them? Dysfunctional R Us

Dysfunctional R Us/Don't want to be but it is what it is:) Maybe you are too.

Making amends  can be so many things and in so many ways. I'd always pictured it very complex which led to me putting them off. I went to seminars at a conference, took people aside, asked questions but still felt at a loss about how to proceed. Then one day recently, quite to my surprise, my oldest daughter said, "Come in with me," and in her bedroom sitting on a bed together, she said, “I'm making my amends. I'm sorry for all the things I've done to hurt you, I don't even know what all they are but I know I've hurt you. My sponsor said I don't have to be specific or make it complicated. I'm sorry. And I want you to have my seven year chip from NA.”

I looked into her beautiful eyes and saw sincerity. I saw happiness, acceptance, gratefulness and joy with her new life. I saw love. I hope she saw all those things reflected back from me.  I felt a bit overwhelmed and nearly felt  like this was unreal as it was something I had waited for, but it seemed to be some vague dream or hope. When she gave me the Narcotics Anonymous chip my tears streamed out of my eyes. She had done the hard work of staying sober for over seven years and that was priceless to me. That's something that a lot of people don't attain to.

When I first came into a recovery program I had no idea about the true work and time it takes to work the steps. I was pretty sure within the time it took for my daughter and her husband to finish at the treatment center this would happen.

I remember a day when I was visiting them that I got so frustrated that I, a person who rarely ever raises her voice, started hollering "Step eight, step eight, step  eight!" I was so clueless I even had the step wrong! Step 8 is making a list and being willing to make amends and step nine is making amends.

Then I started working the steps myself. I really wanted to just go fast and get to making amends and have it over with. But I went through some equally hard years as the reality of our life set in and life wasn’t always easy.

I’ve found out something about myself; I want to take the easy way out of so many things. As a sexual abuse overcomer sometimes I feel that life has been too hard already. Let me have some peace until it’s over and I can go be with my Lord. Just let me have a no-conflict zone, let me have serenity on earth and in my home. Let my boundaries be such that I don’t have to deal with those who might hurt me with their words. Let me love, let me laugh again, let me have happy family times and one day, please Lord, let me have that cherished family photo where we are all together and happy.

 I’m learning to take things one day at a time. Give us this day, our daily bread, our daily provision of grace. Give us peace, give us sanity, give us a caring heart, and help me not to live my life bleeding from the pain of life. Help me to not hurry the process as it is what it is until it isn't. Help me to have a grateful heart, thinking of all my blessings instead of all my fears.

Recovery from family dysfunction is a process; I'm learning that there is no one set way that these things have to be worked. I'm hoping that things can be flexible enough to take into account real life scenarios that need to happen sometimes before we thought they should happen. Does that make any sense?

Pray. Listen. Ask the Holy Spirit. Do the hard work of recovery. Be flexible and kind. Don't let anger stay with you. Forgive quickly and easily. Try not to dwell in or on the past. Pray some more and then when you feel the spirit's touch make your amends. It will make you happy and someone else happy too.

PS My daughter made amends after reading this text I think from NA book. I think it is very good:

 Basic Text, p. 41 ––––=–––– As long as we still owe amends, our spirits are cluttered with things we don’t need. We’re carrying the extra load of an apology owed, a resentment held, or unexpressed remorse. It’s like having a messy house. We could leave so we don’t have to see the mess, or maybe just step over the piles of debris and pretend they aren’t there. But ignoring the disorder won’t make it disappear. In the end, the dirty dishes, the crumb-filled carpet, and the overflowing wastebaskets are still there, waiting to be cleaned up. A cluttered spirit is just as hard to live with as a messy home. We always seem to be tripping over yesterday’s leavings. Every time we turn around and try to go somewhere, there is something blocking our path. The more we neglect our responsibility to make amends, the more cluttered our spirits become. And we can’t even hire someone to clean up. We have to do the work ourselves. We gain a deep sense of satisfaction from making our own amends. Just as we would feel after we’ve cleaned our homes and have time to enjoy a bit of sunshine through sparkling windows, so will our spirits rejoice at our freedom to truly enjoy our recovery. And once the big mess is cleaned up, all we have to do is pick up after ourselves as we go along. ––––=––––

Just for today: I will clear away what’s cluttering my spirit by making the amends I owe


  1. You write beautifully and I'm glad you knew my amends were sincere. Love you mama

    1. I love you, honey, always have and always will, my firstborn.

  2. You write beautifully and I'm thinking each persons process of pain and love is different, unique and their own. I'm so glad it was time for mine to you💜 love you mama💙

    1. You took me by surprise:) We were talking in group today about how there is not set rule; take what you like and leave the rest works for most of us. Have a great Recovery day!

  3. I like this post. I understand your desire for the "Norman Rockwell" photo. All families have problems, (including mine) and it can take years to repair the damage done in the past. I'm glad your daughter has seven years of recovery, and that she is beginning to make amends. Just remember -- real amends involve actions. I pray her actions prove her words.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, dear Gail-friend. May we have have recovery in our families and live to see it:)