When I was new in the Nar-Anon program, I thought that taking a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself, making a list of all the people I have harmed, and being willing to make amends would be intimidating. I had been attending meetings and working with my sponsor for several months when she suggested that I write a list of all the people I had harmed and those people who had harmed me. She suggested that I start with my earliest childhood memories and stop at today. The list was very long. Next, she encouraged me to make a list of my fears, starting again at childhood.

When I looked at these two lists, I was able to see how my fears, shortcomings and character defects were related to my relationships. Once I saw this connection, I knew the value of making amends and letting go of the past. I had been playing perceived wrongs repeatedly in my head for years, staying stuck in the past. As I forgave those who had harmed me and made amends to those I had harmed, I was letting go of not only the past but also the pain that was associated with those resentments. I felt better as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

Many of my fears began as a child, fear of the dark, fear of being alone and fear of failing. Once I wrote them down, they were less scary. As I let go of the past, I no longer needed to be stuck in relationships that were not meeting my needs. I saw why I kept reliving bad experiences, trying to make them right instead of letting them go and moving forward to a new life. Taking Steps Four and Eight allowed me to see my weaknesses and to discover my strengths.

Thought for Today: Recognizing my fears and shortcomings, forgiving others and myself with the help of my Higher Power, has given me hope and the ability to recognize my strengths.

“To have your attention in the Now is not a denial of what is needed in your life. It is recognition of what is primary.” ~ Eckhart Tolle