Things can change
February 2023 | Making Amends | Special Section

Things can change

I couldn’t believe it, but my mouth opened and these words came out: “Dad, I’m sorry I blamed you for everything wrong in my life.” Wow.

I came to AA mad and mean. I wasn’t this way as a young girl. In fact, I was just the opposite. My father was a very angry man who used verbal and physical violence to keep me and my three brothers—as well as my mother— “in line.” Emotional disturbance became my plight in life. Around the age of 18, I started to drink simply because everyone else did.

I never liked the taste of alcohol. But with enough practice, I found my way and a “new improved” me emerged. As the years passed, my daily drinking increased. I thought certainly I would mature along the way, but that didn’t happen. I’m now keenly aware of that fact. My anger about my father’s torture became my topic of conversation for years. I drank at that man right into AA—25 years’ worth of anger. One day, I finally hurt myself enough to cry out to God, “Help me!” Who knew I’d get exactly what I needed. I came into AA and got sober.

When it came time to make amends to my father, believe me, I had no willingness. But I did have the willingness to live right. My mother had passed away and that left me and my three brothers and our father as the so-called “family.” Five years into my recovery my father became ill, and I was still so angry that I actually had the thought that this was our chance to let him die. But of course, I couldn’t do that. Instead, I called 911. I made living amends. I took care of him the last three years of his life.

A year before he passed, I remember standing with my father in the kitchen one day. I couldn’t believe it, but my mouth opened, and these words came out: “Dad, I’m sorry I blamed you for everything wrong in my life.” Wow. God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. It was the greatest healing moment in my life. My father and I became best friends after that. When he died, I knew I loved him and vice versa.

I know AA works. My Higher Power works. It’s amazing. I just have to stay sober, show up and be present.


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