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From the March 2013 magazine.

March 2013: If It Ain't Nailed Down

She cleaned out the treatment center, now it was time to clean up her past

While my drinking career only spanned five years, my alcoholic behavior had been such that I had a really long list of people to whom I owed amends. At first I felt really hopeless about it. I thought I’d made such a mess of my life that it couldn’t possibly be fixed. Still, I began the process of making those amends, starting with my family first and then working through my list. Each amend I made gave me a little more hope that perhaps my life could change.

My sponsor helped me sort through which of the amends I needed to make directly, and which ones would be harmful to others. She also steered me away from making amends for things when she didn’t think I’d done anything wrong. One that she claimed I didn’t need to make was to the adolescent treatment center in which I’d found sobriety. I felt horribly guilty because when I left, I took a lot of things from the facility. I stole small things, like books, but bigger things too, like a lamp and a comforter, and pretty much anything that I liked that wasn’t nailed down. Besides, the facility was closing, and I thought it was better to take the stuff for someone who could use it (me!) than to leave it for the parent corporation to reallocate to other facilities. A disgruntled employee had actually helped me load the goods into my car.

-- Karen P.

Franklin, New Hampshire

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