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Grapevine : August 2011
28 August 2011 hibited the same forgive- ness to a parent who did not treat her the way a par- ent should. Most recently, I listened to a man who made amends to his entire church, standing before them all and apologizing for his judgment and con- demnation of their faith. Every time I heard this message, my stepfather's face appeared and my heart felt heavy. For the first time in almost 20 years, I started feeling guilty for my actions, rather than anger at his actions toward me and my mother. In my heart, I felt the need to make this right. I had no idea where he was, but figured the Internet was a good place to start looking. I searched for his name and his social network page appeared immediately. It was set to private but I could see from his posts that he was somewhat the same, still joking around, a strong love of music, but he was also su ering from cancer. Fear of rejection crept in, fear of being laughed at, fear of everything else my mind wanted to make up ... I could no longer put this o and, a er talking to my husband and spon- sor about it, I emailed him. I explained briefly about my addiction and the recovery process in the Steps, apologizing for my actions during the years he was married to my mother. I wished him and his family well. I did not, hard as it was, cross from my side of the street over to his and point out any of his actions. I also had no expectations about what would happen. I received a reply email from him an hour later and practically 20 years of wreckage fell away instantly. Not only did he appreciate me contact- ing him but he made an amends for his actions as a father and husband to my mother. He didn't make any excuses, other than simply not being prepared or experienced enough. We have since started rebuilding our friendship. My stepfather has three di erent types of cancer and type II diabetes. He is undergoing intensive radiation and chemother- apy treatment at Johns Hopkins. One of the types of cancer is eerily similar to the same cancer my mother su ered from. He has a teenage daughter, who is very similar to me when I was her age, a lov- ing wife and step children. He also has a love for God, which I wasn't aware of. His life today is rich with family and friends. Today, I can be happy for him. I have experienced the promises of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anony- mous and I have seen this amends process work in others the same way it worked for me. I couldn't really understand the joy others spoke of when they told stories of amends toward people who had harmed them. I used to think it was backwards. Amends to those who harmed us? Over time, though, I knew it to be necessary, good and godly. e sunlight of the spirit is warm, bright and encom- passes all the promises we work so hard for. Yet we rarely stand in it for long periods of time. We should ask ourselves why. en we should take action. Barbara H. Rocky Face, Ga.