Al-Anon Lifer

Anonymous sharings from a long-time member of Al-Anon, which is a safe place to recover from the effects of alcoholism in a friend or relative...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Amends are for Yourself

I goofed last night. Before we went out to dinner and shopping, I put the dog in the backyard. Usually she does her thing and then lets herself in via the dog door.

But yesterday afternoon, I had closed the gates on the deck when my granddaughter was visiting, so the dog had spent the evening waiting for us to open a gate for her.

To make it worse, it was pouring rain! Talk about needing to make amends, or at least a 10th step!

In this case, however, I hadn't intentionally hurt my dog. It was by sheer forgetfulness. Yet, I felt guilty and went from giving her extra snacks and chicken soup to wrapping her in towels and then blankets. I expected her to snuggle up on the couch; instead, she lay at my feet and went to sleep, as if nothing had happened.

When we went to bed, I let her lie on my throw, which I never do, and she let me scratch her until I realized that she probably had no concept of my guilt or why I was spoiling her. She was just enjoying the extra attention. She had forgiven me the moment we'd opened the gate for her.

When I realized this, I knew that I had made amends to her, but what I had really done was alleviate my own guilt. That is what amends are for, first and foremost. We have no control over the reaction or response of the "amendee." Some are forgiving, others are not. It should not matter.

What does matter is that we make things right to the best of our ability, even when we did not intentionally hurt someone, and in so doing find serenity and grow in our relationship with God as we understand him/her. Thank you, God, for my sweet little dog...

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