12 STEPS to Recovery — STEP #8

Focus on the Recovery Process

Willingness to make amends sometimes takes many weeks, months, and even years. The following is an example from my life.

Memories from the distant past are usually forgotten. However, one memory of a disagreement with my father continued to impact my present thirty-five years after its occurrence. At the time what started as a disagreement, turned into an explosive fit of rage on my dad’s part. I was twenty and my dad was in his fifties. He was considerably smaller and not as strong as I was at that time. My strength came from construction work to pay for college tuition and other related expenses.

The disagreement led to my father’s beating me with his belt. By the grace of God and His unrecognized restraint on my anger at the time, I did not retaliate. However, I did tell my dad: “If you ever lay a hand on me again, I will kill you.” I later came to realize that what I said was as much out of fear of what could happen as it was out of anger.

Thirty-five years later when my dad was 88 and I was 55, the time had come to make amends. It was after spending a half month at The Bridge to Recovery in Bowling Green, Kentucky and a year and a half working through the 12 Steps of Recovery with a sponsor, I was more than willing to make amends for my un-Christlike behavior at the time of the explosive argument we had so many years previous.

At that time, my father and I were separated by 1,500 miles. I was willing to go to any lengths to make amends with him. So I decided that since we were both celebrating birthdays that October, it would be a good time to purchase plane tickets and join him for our birthdays and make amends at that time!

Ray N.