Before I went to treatment, I realised that how I felt, thought, and treated myself usually mirrored how I interacted with those around me. In other words, how I treated myself, was how I treated anyone who was in my life.
I had to forgive myself to complete this step.
My sponsor encouraged me to write this amends. I spent a couple of days coming up with excuses why I didn’t need to. Imagine that, me, thinking I was unique. I’m not an alcoholic, right? I still wanted to punish myself, as if somehow this would make up for all the pain I had created in the lives of those I loved.
I worked my way through my amends list starting with my family, children and close friends. As I repaired the wreckage in my past, I began to feel a sense of peace that I can’t explain. I had a glimpse of what serenity is. My family encouraged me to continue doing what I was doing. They just wanted to see me happy. To be a functioning member of society who could contribute to life and not take everything for granted. They all just wanted to see me reach the potential I had wasted for so long. As for my children, they just wanted to see me happy and present.
Their reactions helped me see my value as a person. If they could accept my apology, why couldn’t I accept one to myself? I began the process of forgiving myself. I say process because it is an ongoing thing. I have to learn a new way of thinking about myself on a daily basis.
Then it clicked!
I wrote my list and “painful” is putting it lightly. It hurt to see on paper the damage I had intentionally done to myself. No wonder I had hurt those around me. I had no idea how to love myself. I spent years doing things to make sure that I was unlovable and that I lived up to the lies I told myself. In the end, the list gave me an idea of what I needed to work on. I had to make a commitment to myself not to repeat them.
Tell us: Do you agree that the way you treat others is a reflection of the way you treat yourself?