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I Couldn't Stop Writing

I Couldn't Stop Writing

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Step Eight: "Made a list of all persons we had harmed,and became willing to make amends to them all."

When I came to this Step, I just didn't know quite where to start and I was very scared of where it would end. At first, I tried to sit in front of a big pad of paper, amidst the hustle and bustle of my kitchen. Not surprisingly, I found that my thinking channels were frozen and I could not put one single word down on paper. The following week, my husband, our three dogs and I were booked to go on holiday in Devon, where we stayed for one week in a lovely caravan high on a hill and overlooking the sea. On the first day, I got out my writing pad, and whilst sitting at a little table in the garden outside our caravan, the words began to flow. It was as if a dam in my head had burst open, and I couldn't stop the waters flowing over. One thought led to another, and memories flooded into the present, of the times I had caused havoc in my life and the lives of those who cared about me. All of these situations had originated from my selfishness and neglect of other peoples' feelings.

I was permanently frightened of losing control, and therefore went to extraordinary lengths to control and manipulate others in order to get whatever I wanted and felt entitled to. The irony was, however, that my best friend had become alcohol, and this same friend eventually became my enemy. It took control of me and my life. I became the tiny little person trapped inside a bottle, often depicted on warning posters in Doctors' surgery waiting rooms about the dangers of excessive drinking.

After a few days, I began to feel a huge burden being lifted, and a freedom taking its place. It is very hard to explain just how I felt in those days of letting go of years of guilt and damaging behaviour. Every time I thought that I had cleared my head of past regrets, another would pop up until there were dozens of accounts, illustrating, just how many people I wanted, and needed, to make amends to. When I had stopped writing, the most wonderful feeling of peace washed over me, and I will never forget that feeling.

I cannot pretend that I was floating on a fluffy cloud after those days away, because I most certainly wasn't. After the initial relief of unburdening myself, I was left feeling very empty. Not long afterwards, I was put back together by working on Step Nine and actually making amends to those that I had harmed. Today I feel healed, and I thank God for the chance that I was offered to explore and confront my past wrongs, and to show a willingness to say that I am genuinely sorry.

ADELE, Sandhurst Newcomers