The Living Amends. Sounds like a cut-rate superhero. Once the big amends are out of the way, I need to be out on my sidewalk with a broom, sweeping away the little things that tend to accumulate. The only way I can truly show that I am working the program and the program is working is by not doing things that lead to big amends.
It means I’m simply living differently. It’s achieving and maintaining a genuine change in my behavior. Look ma, no drama!
It reminds me of a Conway Twitty song called Happy Birthday, Darlin’. The man in the song celebrates his wife’s birthday by not giving her anything, but rather taking things away; mainly all the things that he’s done wrong over the years. I remember being fascinated by that song when I was seven.
Here’s the refrain:
Happy birthday darlin’ I’ve no presents no fancy cake.
But I hope I’ll make you happy with everything I take.
Showing I’ve changed by not doing. And I think that’s the most frustrating part of understanding alcoholism. The idea that there wouldn’t be a problem if I just stopped. That’s the shame and guilt that can sometimes attach itself to my living amends, the idea of, “why didn’t you do this in the first place?”
The short answer is I didn’t know how. The long answer can be disseminated across the 12 Steps.