View all:  Voices of Recovery

November 12

“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.