Surprising Amends – It’s never too late to reconcile with people from your past

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I had another post almost ready to go out for tomorrow – part 2 in my new brain health series. However, something surprisingly lovely happened to me tonight. An amends was made to me and I’m inspired to write out it.

It’s Never Too Late

This is basically the slogan of my life, right? I got sober when I was 37 years old and turned my life around. Then I was on the precipe of turning 45 when I became debt free for the first time in 23 years. Yeah, I’m the walking poster child for it never being too late.

I share my story with you to know, it’s truly never too late to turn anything around.

Nine years ago, I was completed addicted to substances and stuck in an abusive relationship. I saw no way out and I was in the lowest, darkest point of my life.

By the grace of God, I did get out, got sober, and found a life of recovery.

The Beauty of Recovery

I’ve walked this road of recovery which has included but is not limited to:

  • The 12 steps
  • Trusting something bigger than me, God
  • Soul searching
  • Identifying my bend & character defects
  • Uncovering wounds of my past
  • Unearthing lies I believed
  • Seeing how I hurt myself and others
  • Making amends
  • Forgiving
  • Receiving forgiveness
  • Rinse
  • Repeat

It’s a beautiful life and I’d have it no other way. I’ve heard so many people say that they’d love to go through such a self-discovery process, but don’t qualify to attend one of the anonymous meetings. Well, I have thoughts of creating an e-book which will walk anyone and everyone through a self-discovery process. Stay tuned.

Full Circle

On Wednesdays, I attend a Celebrate Recovery meeting. Tonight something took me by surprise. A friend asked me to stay after to talk. I wasn’t quite sure where this was headed when they lead me into a private room.

As we sat down to talk and he started to open up, it became clear to me what was occurring. He was making amends to me and I was stunned.

You see, this was one of the first men I dated in sobriety. He was really the first real Christian boyfriend I had. I liked him. However, he abruptly broke my heart. I was hurt and it set me down a road of deeper self-discovery. That was 5 years ago.

About one and half years ago we reconnected as friends. At this point, all wounds had been healed and resentments were gone. Furthermore, I had the recognition that we were better friends than romantic partners.

The Power of Amends

When I realized he was making an amends to me for his behavior when we dated, I let him talk. I had so much to say, but I decided to just hear him out. It was important to him and his recovery to say some things to me. The least I could do was listen.

It was beautiful.

He expressed some concern with dredging up old hurts but felt a great conviction to make this amends to me.

I received graciously.

And then something surprising happened…I felt a sense of completeness in our relationship. I didn’t think anything was missing but somehow when he apologized I felt a release. It’s crazy. It’s really healthy.

I thanked him. Moreover, I let him know how glad I was that he decided to make this amends. I didn’t need it but I also loved it. I’m a fan of going deep and getting to the root of things.

Furthermore, I say dredge up old hurts if it means healing! It’s always a good time to heal and be healthy.

We chatted for a bit more about our lives, hopes, and dreams.

Insanely Healthy

That heading is basically an oxymoron.

ox·y·mo·ron
äksəˈmôrˌän
noun
  1. a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g., faith unfaithful kept him falsely true ).

I don’t care, I’m calling my life today insanely healthy. In the past, I used to do the same thing over and over and expected different results. It was the textbook definition of insane.

Today, I’m intentional with my relationships. I choose my words carefully. I care to grow and get better. Apparently, I attract the same. That is insane! Not in the true definition of the word, but in the context of, “holy cow, that’s a transformation!”

It’s healthy to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation with someone and just be real. And to be honest about the past. And to own up to our part in it.

That’s why this recovery process is a lifestyle for me. I see and experience miracles every day. My life is a gift.

Takeaways

As a result of tonight, I have some advice for all of you. Do you have people from your past that you have unfinished business with? How about unreconciled hurts – do you have any of those? Is there someone you owe an amends to?

Whether it be on the receiving or giving end, I encourage you to go deep with yourself.

Letting Go of Resentments

First, if you have resentments with people or things try identifying the following things:

  1. Who or what hurt you?
  2. How were you hurt (be specific)?
  3. How did this affect you?
  4. What role did you play (be specific)? Even when we are hurt and/or don’t deserve specific treatment, we play some type of reactionary role. Identify what that was.
  5. What were your character defects?
  6. Why lies did you believe about yourself if any?
  7. What is the truth?

I’ve done pages and pages of journals on every resentment I’ve ever had with anyone in my past. You know what occurred? A pattern emerged and I recognized some glaring character defects which had been steering the ship of my life for years. My greatest defects were self-pity, anger, and rage.

Once I saw them in black and white, I couldn’t operate from them anymore.

Identifying my resentments and everything surrounding them allowed me to forgive those who hurt me.

Apologizing

Have you hurt others? We all have. I encourage you to take the time to think about the following:

  1. Who have you hurt?
  2. How have you hurt them?
  3. What role did you play?
  4. What could you have done differently?

If it’s safe and will not cause harm to you or others, find those people and make some heartfelt amends.

Why? Because you could change their lives. You could find healing. It’s the healthy thing to do. It’s the right thing to do.

Don’t you want to sit face-to-face with someone and be real? Yeah, me too.

Lastly, if you owe an amends to someone who has passed, you can still make it. Just say it out loud as if they are here. It’s more about your healing at this point.

I crave real and healthy relationships. Actually, I now know no other way. So let this be a warning to you – if you meet me, we’ll probably go deep.

Alright, now I’d love to hear from you. How do you maintain healthy relationships? How have you reconciled with people of your past? Do you have a need to partake in the processes I outlined? Please let me know!!

6 thoughts on “Surprising Amends – It’s never too late to reconcile with people from your past”

  1. Deanna I needed to read this right now. Thank you for sharing. I am struggling as my father is lying in the hospital possibly dying and I am so afraid to even attempt to go see him. I believe that God used your post to encourage me to make amends with him. I know that the abuse I experienced from him is very real but I also realize that God is equipping me to move past that into forgiveness.

    1. Andrea, I have tears reading this comment. I knew I had to write this post last minute and now I know why. If you are feeling a strong conviction to go, listen to that. My advice is don’t go alone. Let me know when you go as I will be praying intensely for you.

  2. Thank you, Deanna for such a great article. There is a great difference between apologizing and making amends to someone, it’s more like a true repentance with the person. A lot of times relationships fail because we spend too much time pointing out each others mistakes and not enjoying time in each others company. I like what Freya North says, “It’s not a persons mistakes which define them – it’s the way they make amends.” Cathy

    1. Ooh, I love that quote. I’m going to use that! Yeah, we all make mistakes. It’s what we do with them afterwards that separates the women from the girls and the boys from the men.

      I agree that an amends is different than an apology. When we make amends we are agreeing to turn from old behavior:)

  3. Another great one. Thank you for sharing this. I was unable to make face to face amends with my dad. I did however totally forgive him prior to his passing. You’re right it is never too late!

    1. Absolutely! Amen on forgiving Dad prior to his passing. I imagine it’s hard to not be able to make the amends face-to-face but I believe the important thing is to still make it. Peace 🙂

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