Step 8: Make a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible except when doing so would injure them or others.
Jimmy, I am one of those spineless, no will of my own, addicts who goes to a 12-step fellowship, NA (Narcotics Anonymous.)
As we study the steps and share with each other there is one theme that comes up again and again. Honesty. Honesty with ourselves, honesty with others. As addicts we all acknowledge we were pathetic liars. We lied without even thinking about it. It became a way of life for us. So Jimmy, we KNOW who you are.
But Jimmy, something happens to us as we work though the steps. For us it seems almost to be a miracle. We learn how NOT to lie. We discover how lying has hurt the people around us. And we find that lying to ourselves has devalued us. We find that we feel a lot better if we just keep it real.
Beyond that Jimmy, we make amends. We reach out. We try and find those we have hurt. The people we have stolen from, people we lied to. And we "make it right" the very best way that we can. It is amazing the weight this process lifts from us Jimmy.
If we stole money from them, we pay it back, even if it takes years. If we lied to them, we say "I'm sorry I lied" without all the BS reasons why. And we try to repair the damage that lie caused. And you know Jimmy, I'm thinking that if we sold a book that was filled with lies and BS. We would find a way to make that right too. We would get the money back to those we defrauded. Or at least give the ill gotten profits to an addiction charity.
But you see Jimmy, we're just pussies when compared to you. We asked a higher power (of our own understanding) for help. We worked the steps. We made our amends. And the weight was lifted from us.
However Jimmy, you, the "tough guy" worked your recovery "your way." No steps, no meetings, no "Big Book", no higher power, no amends. Just balls to the walls John Wayne-ism "I'm not gonna use." You're not "using" now (if we can believe you) but you are carrying that weight. That weight can be very humbling, it can bring you to your knees just when you think you're at the top of your game. It's called "relapse" Jimmy. Keep carrying that weight brother. We'll probably see you in a "step meeting" sometime years from now. Then you will be willing to make YOUR amends. And maybe THEN you'll offer to give my money back for your fictional book.
How do I know this? Because I was a "Jimmy." A tough guy. I knew I could "do it myself." There are lots of us "Jimmys" in NA, CA and AA. We're waiting for you Jimmy. You'll be here someday. And you'll tell us how you weren't the "tough guy" you presented in the book. But the "weak guy" who could only get by in life by lying. We'll listen, as you tell us how your "deal with the devil" was the money from that book for your integrity and piece of mind.
Perhaps then your amends will be an honest book, with an honest title. "How I Really Fucked Up My First Recovery And Damaged Addicts Who Trusted My BS"
Or are you just going to get that "check in the mail" to me?
Ed in Florida
* Send letters for James to firstname.lastname@example.org