Healing Forgiveness ~ Coaching 4 Health & Wellness

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Healing Forgiveness

I have a scar on the thumb of my left hand. It is a small triangular white patch of scar tissue just at the beginning of my knuckle. I can still remember getting how I got the wound. I was probably 5 or 6 and I had gotten up one night for midnight snack. My snacks were usually carrots. So there I was, late at night, peeling a carrot over the trash can. I sliced into my thumb fairly deep, such that it took quite some time for most of the bleeding to stop, then, since it was near the knuckle, kept getting opened up again. Every once in awhile the scar hurts and it reminds me of the wound.

I've been a big fan of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) for many years. I've never attended an AA meeting, but having worked with people with serious addictions (to many different things, not just alcohol), I've picked up some of the wisdom the Twelve Steps offer.

One of the most powerful and often most difficult is Step 9, known as making amends. This step is often implemented after a long process of healing self, self-awareness, and understanding of the wrongs the have occurred due to the addictions. Making amends is more than saying "I'm sorry". Anyone can say that. Most people say it as an automatic reaction, but do they feel sorrowful for their actions? In most cases not, it is a polite statement given in such situations.

Amending means changing. Think of the great efforts we must take to amend the Constitution of the United States. Think of what that means to amend the Constitution. We are literally changing the way we govern our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Thus, the framers of the Constitution made it very difficult, considered it such a serious task, that it requires two-thirds approval of either the Senate or House just to propose an amendment, and the 75% of the States (legislatures) have approve it. Amending is a huge task.

Such is the same with Step 9. By following through with this step, you are actually changing a relationship. In most, but not all, you are repairing the brokenness that the addiction caused. The pain of the brokenness is replaced by the pain of healing. It does not have to be the other person, the person you hurt, who changes. The act of amending changes you. Thus, since you are no longer the same person you were at the beginning of the relationship, the relationship must change. How it changes depends on you and the other person. There are times where all you can do is amend and move on, mourning the loss of that relationship; other times you dance with joy in healing tunes.

My scar on my left thumb is a bold reminder of the wound. It is not the same wound I had when I was young. My skin amended and changed...but left me wiser for the relationship.

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