My previous entry spoke about my learning to not say those words and not taking ownership of all the bad things that happen around me. Well, there’s another side of this coin too where the phrase was overused in my life. For years I suffered at the hands of several addictions. No matter which one I was at the mercy of, there were many, many incidents where I created mishaps, pain, hardships, and wounds in others and felt the words “I’m sorry!” were enough. Sadly, they didn’t hold much weight when I continued to remain an active addict and live in toxic patterns over and over again.
Being at the mercy of any addiction, a person’s only focus is on getting a fix and staying “high”. All too often though, life comes in between them and their seeking of that fix and that’s when the addict will lash out most and create suffering for others. There were so many times that I had plans that I cancelled because it was more important for me to go get my fix. My only response in each of those times was to say “I’m sorry” to the people I was canceling out on. In my past, I stole, cheated, and lied to get my fix and if I was caught, the only thing I knew how to say was those words. They don’t hold much weight though when they’re said all the time.
If a drug addict steals from a friend or family repeatedly to get their drugs, is saying “I’m sorry” really going to hold any weight?
If an alcoholic has a terrible binge and is verbally or physically abusive to someone close to them one night, is saying “I’m sorry” the next morning when they are a little more sober enough?
If a gambler goes out and spends all their wife’s and his money that was set aside for a mortgage payment, is saying “I’m sorry” going to make her feel any better?
If a sex addict goes out and cheats for one night on their partner, is saying “I’m sorry” going to take the sting away from the infidelity?
All of those answers can be said with a resounding “No!”
Making amends to all the people that an addict has harmed isn’t as easy as saying “I’m sorry” and moving on. It begins first with recovery and becoming clean from the addiction. Then it involves prayer and finding a Higher Power who can help the person become less selfish and more selfless in their life. And finally, it leads that person through their new God centered life to making a true amends to the people they have harmed. To make an amends is not just to go to those that were harmed and say “I’m sorry.” It involves a lot more. It means being honest to those people the addict has harmed telling them where they were selfish, self-centered, dishonest, and afraid. Even more importantly, it involves asking those people that were harmed how they felt and what they need to truly heal from what happened.
I always thought that saying “I’m sorry” for all my bad behaviors would be enough. It wasn’t. Until I began living a life that was centered with God, I didn’t know that. Today I do my best to live my life with a Higher Power guiding it. I don’t just say those words anymore for something where I did cause suffering to someone else. I work on changing the behaviors that caused it in the first place, and I do everything I can to offer restitution to those that I’ve harmed. And even better, I’ve found that the more that I seek out God’s will in my life, the less I even have situations arise anymore where I might have once just said the words “I’m sorry!” to deal with it.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson