Everybody knows that to move forward in life you must let go of your past. In the twelve steps, we do what is called making amends. It is actually quite different than what you may think, and it is one of the most difficult and rewarding things I have ever done. Making amends isn’t only about saying I’m sorry, it’s about saying I have changed. It is about taking responsibility for my actions, not blaming anyone else, asking forgiveness, and making a committment to be different in the future. The beautiful thing that happens through this process, is that you learn to forgive yourself.
I had a pretty big day yesterday. I met with two ex-boyfriends, and I made amends. Both were difficult, but for totally different reasons. The first one, I have been hanging on to for a couple of years. There was so much hurt, dishonesty, and drama that I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to look him in the face and honestly apologize for my part. But I know that in order for me to move forward in my future, I have to let go of the past. So we met for coffee. In the moment it was kind of hard to find the words. I knew what I needed to say and what I wanted to say, but I wanted him to really understand. Luckily, we ended up sitting at the coffee shop for two hours. It was amazing! We talked about so many things and I got the opportunity to say more than I thought I would. I did apologize, I did accept my part, and I got to talk about the changes I have made in my life and what a different person I am from when he and I were together. I also got to tell him the parts of our relationship that I really enjoyed, because it wasn’t all bad. I never thought I would feel happy to have seen him, but I definitely was.
Next, I went to eat with the most recent ex. I almost hate to even call him my ex because we were actually together so briefly that it almost seems like it didn’t happen. Unfortunately, in that short span of time that we spent together there was drama, hurt feelings, betrayal, and plenty of anger. I was very honest with him, even when it wasn’t pleasant for him to hear. But I was kind, not rude or mean, and I was calm. The fact is, there were plenty of signs in that situation that told me to go. I chose to ignore those signs and I chose to move forward with him. That, is my fault. My sponsor always tells me to look at the evidence. When I am trying to figure out a situation, just look at the evidence. Is the person honest and respectful? Trustworthy? Dependable? There are always signs and there is always plenty of evidence.
In all of my past relationships I have made a handful of the exact same mistakes, over and over again. For me to heal, for me to learn to trust again, and for me to be fair I have to let all of the past go. I have to be stripped down to the core, the honest core of who I am and the mistakes that I have made, so that I can rebuild the person I want to be from an honest foundation. It is pretty easy to sit back and point a finger at someone and feel how they wronged you, it is another thing entirely to point the finger back at myself and admit that I played a part in my own demise. So I did my amends, I am different now, I will continue to be different, and I have some peace to move forward without having to look back.