“The response of any particular person, positive or negative, is not a measure of how well we make our amends. The success of our amends depends only on how honestly and thoroughly we make them.”
Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 49
I received a letter from my folks today. It’s a miracle that my folks and I communicate at all, as my childhood was filled with rampant sexual, spiritual, and physical abuse. I went a decade without speaking to them. Needless to say, I had to face and let go of my resentments and fears. Even now I am still blamed for breaking the family secret, for shaming the family. I am pigeonholed as the proverbial black sheep.
As I actively work the Twelve Steps, I continually make living amends. As a boy I watched men build a bridge spanning the Ohio River. Over a six-month period I watched in wonder as two crews on opposite sides built up dirt ramps, poured the pylons, and ever so skillfully met in the middle to complete the bridge.
Amends are like that for me. I am only responsible for building my half of the bridge. Then I continually maintain my half whether the other person ever builds their half or not. I think it’s my responsibility to keep my half of the bridge sparkling, so that, if they ever consider starting their half, they will know it wasn’t just words from me. They’ll know I meant it because I am living it.
Am I building my side of the bridge or waiting for others to pour the first pylon?