My sobriety date is December 4, 1986 and I was introduced to AA through the rooms of Al-anon; for the very first time in my life people listened to me and wanted to know my story. I was HOME for sure; then when I went to my first AA meeting and saw the steps on the wall I was in shock! They certainly did not apply to ME! not ME! the perfect one; I soon learned that those 12 steps would be a map through my life, those 12 steps were the key that unlocked the prison I had been living in for many years. I really thought that “doing” the steps was the easiest thing to do…well… until I started getting serious about the steps.
The 12 steps of AA are very much like a “rotorooter” service guy (sponsor) who continually says “Hey there is more ‘crap’ over here.” My first 4th step was a “piece of work” because there were so many people who had “used and abused” me and of course they were all at fault. When my sponsor said, “what was YOUR part in all of this?” I was so stubborn about looking at my part; until she pointed out that I was the common thread in all my affairs; especially after creating a list of my character “barriers” that kept me from the sunlight of the spirit and my own peace of mind.
After many hours of back and forth conversations with my sponsor I made that list! Then she dropped the bomb on me! “Let’s create a list of the people that were damaged by your drinking, because we are going to start looking at the process of “making amends.” Oh I was hating this very much but KNEW it was the only way. Step eight states ” Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” All this step asks of us is to become willing and make a list! Nothing more, nothing less! But as a newcomer I made a mountain out of a mole hill.
The process wasn’t that hard since I only had a few names on that list … you know the big ones… Mother, Father, ex’s, etc. but when my sponsor said “what about putting YOU on the list” it got immediately hard! Oh I could put my name there on the list… but become willing to make amends to ME!!! That wasn’t going to be easy. Getting willing was a roller coaster ride; some days I was very willing.. next day not so much and other days … NOT at all. So I just kept praying for the willingness to be willing! Every day, over and over, I prayed for willingness to be willing… and then one morning out of no where came the surprise visit from….WILLINGNESS! I was there, I could feel it, taste it, and I knew I was ready. I was “movin’ on down the road.” Next stop … STEP NINE!