“We also list people we harmed by our neglect, by not ‘showing up’ for our lives.”
Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 47
My character defects had led me to behaviors I never would have thought possible on a sane level. Many of those behaviors involved a victim, either directly or indirectly. The Eighth Step asked me to create a list of those I had harmed. In Step Nine, with the guidance of my sponsor, I would someday make amends from my heart, either face-to-face, in a letter, or indirectly without the injured party knowing.
My son was among those in my direct amends list. I recall my hand shaking with shame as I wrote his full name. While I had not missed his entire childhood, I clearly recall the many disappointments caused by my absences—absences when I was acting out. With encouragement from my sponsor and fellow recovering addicts, and the heart-felt presence of a loving God, I completed a list that was honest despite the pain of creating it.
Later, I stood across from a strapping young man who was two inches taller than me. I imagined that the shadow he cast was not of a man, but of the little boy whose father was absent too many days. I acknowledged my part, and expressed my regret and my sincere desire to make it right. I couldn’t hold back the tears as we hugged and I told him how important our relationship was.
In showing others that I am not my old behaviors, I can heal old wounds and regain the greatest part of living—my relationships with others.