Everyone’s different, so every step [of Alcoholics Anonymous] might hit somebody a bit differently. That first step really hit me, but that ninth step was a big one — that’s making amends.
We’ve all told our family and friends and loved ones I’m sorry, you know, this won’t happen again. But these particular amends are scripted and worded differently, in a way that I’ve never apologized before. The way my sponsor broke it down was this: express where you were selfish, express where you were self-seeking, express where you were inconsiderate, express where you were dishonest — and especially where you were afraid.
I’ve done probably about 12 or 13 amends. The dad one was really good. That one kind of went as expected. My ex-girlfriend, she started crying at the end of it. She was bawling, which made me bawl. She was like, no one’s ever done that for me, and I just really appreciate it.
The one with my cousin didn’t go as well because he was drinking. So, I learned a valuable lesson: maybe it’s not a good idea to make an amends to somebody who’s loaded — it goes in one ear and out the other.
Another time I did one with a former employer. And his response to me was, Christopher, I’m glad that you’re doing good, and I want to tell you that I’ve been struggling with alcohol myself lately — I’ve been going to AA meetings. That blew my mind. I never would have realized that he had the same struggles that I did.
I’m going to see my mother in a few weeks, and I have to script out an amends for her. I’m really nervous about it. I love her to death. We talk on the phone probably like once a week, but I haven’t seen her in over 10 years. It’s going to be nerve wracking. It’s going to be a lot of emotions involved.
You know, I used to hear in AA that these steps aren’t just for alcoholics. These steps could help any normal human being. Don’t quote me on this, but I believe that in the 12 steps, the word “alcohol” is only mentioned one time, and I think that’s in the first step.* So really, it could be helpful to anyone. It’s basically just stop being selfish — just be a decent human being. That’s all it is.
*Sorry, Chris — we had to quote you, and you were right! The word “alcohol” is only mentioned once in the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Chris began working at St. Anthony’s as Guest Services relief staff two years ago and recently got a big promotion to Assistant Manager of Guest Engagement. He is 2 years and 11 months sober.