I often get wrong-sized with Step Eight. I’m either too big or too small in my roles and the assessments.
Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
I need to understand that, even though I might have been an ass to a number of people, some of them might not have spent the next two weeks weeping under their mattresses. Many just marked it up as me being a jerk and let it go, went on with their life unaffected, making a note to be a little more on guard the next time we interact. That doesn’t excuse my behavior; because no good comes from me overselling my shortcomings. That’s indulging in self-pity and pride.
By the same token, I’ve said things in tossed-off manners that I don’t give a second thought to. Until I see that look that all my unintended victims share; then I know hit an artery. Some of their out-of-nowhere, where-did-that-come-from, hurtful reactions pop up and haunt me to this day. Shame, like a pressurized steam laser, skims my top vertebrae, and I feel my lower face tighten in a grimace.
And to top it off, I also get caught up in another measurement conundrum: the value of harm; the degree to which someone was hurt, the running total through the summation of various incidents. Where’s my Excel spreadsheet? Should I be buying a ledger? Red and black pens?
Alcoholism likes me confused. It keeps me in neutral, stops me from doing the next right thing, or remembering to think about doing the next right thing. We’re at the fifteen minute mark here at the kitchen table and nothing’s hit my pad of paper yet, because I’ve sidelined the important info in favor of reconciling unattainable details. I’m questioning myself, after all.
So, just for today: Just the facts. Who. What. When. Where. Even Why can be accomplished, when I’m staring at it with complete honesty. Leave out the rationalizations and justifications. Cutting corners and blurring lines to keep a secret resentment will no longer do.
Joe Friday never had it so good.