The hardest amends I had to make in recovery was to my mother. She had passed away from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer a couple years prior to my finding the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Before I could even think about attempting an amends I had to properly mourn her death. When she passed away I was drinking daily and did not have a chance to process my emotions of grief. I just bottled them up, ignored them and like any good alcoholic/addict hoped they would go away on their own.
After dealing with my grief I took the advice of those that went before me. I was told to go to my mom’s grave and speak to her. The first time I went I felt extremely silly and left unsatisfied. It would take two more attempts until I felt the amends complete. As I stood by her grave I made my amends and told her the action I would take to make up for what I had put her through. I promised I would do my best to be there for my father and the rest of my family. Amends made, I felt at peace. Being Jewish it is traditional to leave a rock on top of the grave stone as a symbol that one has visited. I left the silver AA chip I picked up at my first 12 Step meeting.
I was able to complete the promise to my mother regarding my family, most notably my dad. I lived with him until he passed away. At one point I wanted to move out on my own but my partner told me that she would never forgive me if I did that. As I worked and practiced the Steps my relationship with my dad improved greatly. He became one of my best friends. My relationship with my dad was not the only thing that improved. I began to work again making a contribution to society. I had a job that required me to work form 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Every day I would say goodbye to my dad, go to a morning meeting then head off to my girlfriend’s house until I had to leave for work. This routine went on for months. One day my girlfriend had an early appointment to attend so I went home rather than going right to work. I walked into the house to hear my dad shouting for help. It turned out that he had just experienced a stroke and had collapsed in the bathroom. I was able to call 911 and get him to the hospital. If that day had been like any other day my dad would have sat there for hours, he may have even died. Coincidence or Godincidence? I’ll let you decide.
This all occurred when the housing bust of 2008 hit the world. For most people that was a terrible time but for me it worked out. My hours got cut by around 95 per cent so and a result I was able to see my dad in the hospital and later in the long-term care facility every day (but one), until his death about four or five months later.
As my dad’s casket was lowered into the ground at his funeral I glanced at the double gravestone he shared with mother. I saw something silver on it and realized that my silver chip was still there. It was a reminder that recovery had helped me through this emotional time and that I didn’t have to drink over my father’s death. I was once again shown that Alcoholics Anonymous would always be there for me if I chose to let it.