To all the GOOD Men
I don't know if it is age/wisdom, or facing the fact that life is so precious, but as of late, Step 4 and 5 of the 12 steps to "sobriety, strength, and serenity" have been haunting me.
I am fortunate that I have a low addiction risk considering the pretty serious issues that permeate my lineage, and I have spent many hours in the halls of Al Anon, ACOA, and in AA itself as support for those whom I love. I am grateful that I have only been brushed with some of these issues, and have had the wisdom and strength to stay relatively clean and sane.
Out of those hours I have come to see the wisdom of the 12 steps, and believe them to be a really good basis of living life. And, let's face it, most of us have some kind of problem in our families and lives, and can use some good guidance.
#4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
# Step 5 - Admitted to our higher being (if we have one), to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
At my niece's baby shower this weekend, I ran into the sister-in-law of one of the men I dated after leaving my husband. I had not seen her in some 20+ years, and re-introduced myself. I asked how J. was doing, and if he ever did get his pilot's license. He did, and he works for the UN flying between NY and Europe.
I was happy that he realized his dream of so many years ago. I also told her to send him my regards, and as a "side" I said to her: "he was so nice, but I was just out of a horrid relationship, in the middle of a divorce, and I was not able to have a relationship, nor did I know what to do with a nice man". It would be better to tell him that myself, but since that is unlikely, I hope that she carries that message to him. He was kind, he was gentle, he would have done anything for me---and I broke his heart.
The same with R., whom I was only friends with in college. Nice guy, taught me how to drive a standard on an old classic car (like a 60's Ford Fairlane or some similar car) that he had restored. He too was studying to be a pilot. I never got close enough to hurt him badly, but I am sure that he was quite disappointed when I put the kibosh on anything more than friendship. I had just moved out of my parents home from a bad situation, and what was I going to do with a nice guy who treated me with respect?
I was lucky the third time however. This nice guy I did not turn away, though I did put him through all kinds of tests. 15 years later, we are still together, and now, more than ever, I appreciate his kindness, his unconditional love, and his respect for me. I know I am not perfect and can even be an intensely strong and demanding woman, but he accepts me in spite of the few pieces of carry on baggage that I carry....
So...to all the good men I send my sincere apologies, and hope that they found wonderful women to share their lives with. I thank them for the kindnesses they showed me, and I will always be grateful for that, more than they will ever know.
And to my GREAT man, thank you for putting up with all the nonsense over the years.
I have worked hard to be the best mate I can be....and am thankful for the chance to have a solid and honorable relationship.
Patti O Step
Photo of my brother and me circa 1965