Today is May 1st, the day of my former partner’s birthday that I spent seven years of my life with. He was also the one I owned the bed and breakfast with that eventually had its ill-fated demise at the beginning of 2010. The last time I had any contact with him was when I made an in-person amends with him back in August of 2011 for all my selfishness and self-centeredness that had affected our relationship, as well as our former business. While he seemed to receive the amends quite well back then and even said he’d keep in contact, I haven’t heard from him since. Unfortunately, this is definitely a harsh reality of the amends process I’ve come to learn over the years in recovery from addiction.
I used to think that making an amends would somehow completely gloss over any of the damage I had caused the other person. In many cases, it actually did, but sometimes that damage was so great that the person receiving the amends wanted nothing more than to keep the door permanently closed with me once the amends process was complete. In the case of this former partner, that’s the path our connection took, which I can totally understand now.
Other than financially supporting much of our business, I was rarely there mentally, emotionally, or even physically. I complained all the time with just about everything and was severely controlling in far too many ways. In fact, I tried to sabotage the business more than not as time went on, mostly because I was miserable inside and never felt it was my dream. The worst pain though that I know I caused him was how I allowed my sex and love addiction to lead me astray while we were still together.
When our business went under in January of 2011 due to financial failure, I initially pointed my finger at him saying it was totally his fault. I’m sure that only compounded the animosity he had already felt towards me at that point in time. It took awhile longer for me to take a hard look at myself and realize that I held an equal piece of responsibility to its downfall, hence the reason why I ended up making an amends with him late in the summer of that same year.
While I felt much better after making the amends, his lack of any contact after that has given me a strong reminder to an important note in the amends process itself. Making an amends is never about rekindling a connection. It’s also not about making someone else forget all the pain I caused them. And it’s definitely never about getting them to own their part either.
Making an amends is about one thing and one thing only. It’s about owning where I was selfish, self-seeking, dishonest, and afraid and how those things ended up causing harm to the other person. Thankfully, I was able to do that with this former partner and since then have had to accept that I may never hear from him again.
So as I sit here and reflect on one of the harsh realities of the amends process, my only hope for his birthday is that he no longer feels burdened by any of the damage I once caused him. Nevertheless, I’m just grateful I was able to make my amends with him all those years ago and clear away my side of the street because the only thing that has remained in my heart since then when I think of him is love and compassion. I only pray that one day he be filled with the same anytime he should think of me…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson