Hello, my name is Cindy Charles Ouellette. And I’m an Addiction Recovery Coach in Texas and West Virginia. I have certificates in both states. And today I would like to tell you about an adventure that I had with my 9th step which is: And let me read it to you:
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible accept when to do so would injure them or others.
And that’s what we do in recovery so that we can be good with our self, regain our self-worth, be proud of our self and walk tall.
Anyway, I got clean and sober in a third world country. And I had done my 4th and 5th Step using Joe and Charlie recordings. And I had done my 5th Step by taking a trip to the United States for a few days to give that 5th Step in English. I wasn’t really able to do that in Spanish. And then at that time when I was doing that process of my 5th Step, I was able to get strong enough to know that I could come back to my country without drinking; and it was going to be O.K.; that I would be able to make it alone in America at the age of 59 starting a new life.
So, I went back to Mexico and began making my amends. And that’s what we have to do so that we never pick up or relapse. That’s the major thing we have to do! And once we finish doing our 9th Step, that’s when the miracles begin. That’s when we start getting our promises from page 84.
And, so my son was at Great Lakes. He was at the Navy Boot Camp. It was during a blizzard time. Bless his heart! And so, Boot Camp Ceremony was coming up and I received a call from him. They actually let him call me and tell me that I really didn’t need to come to the ceremony, because it would only be an hour long and then I would not be allowed to see my son anymore, because he was going to get on a ship with 500 new Navy people – recruits, I guess, and he would be going away, shipping out for 7 months. And he was to be go to the Gulf Coast to Iran and that area.
And I said: “Well, Son, don’t you want me to be there with your graduation?” Because I knew that I had not been the mother that I needed to be. And part of staying clean and sober is being a living example that one day at a time: we do not need to pick up or use no matter what; we walk in tolerance and love and patience. And we make a living amends to the people that we have hurt and harmed. And so I said: “Are you sure that you do not want me to go to your ceremony? Tell me deep in your heart, would you want Momma to be there?” And he said: “Well yes, Mom. But you are going to spend a lot of money that we do not have. You will just see me an hour and it is just not going to be worth it for you to travel that far, so hard to get here.”
And I said:” I’ll be there.” And then, I got a phone call from Laredo, Texas speaking Spanish. And he was having a hard time with his Spanish and I said: “Do you speak English, Son?” He was calling from the Navy and he said: “Yes. They told me to call you, because you didn’t understand English, because you were coming to the ceremony for graduation and you really don’t need to come. It is going to be an hour and then you are not going to see your son. He is going to be shipped out for 7 months.” He said that you really do not have to go through that expense and time. And he said that is what he did. He called his mom and told her not to come. It was just too far.
And I said: “Son, when you were going through your ceremony, did you feel sad that she wasn’t there?” And he said: “Well, Yes.” And I said: “I will be there.”
And then I got another phone call and I told them the same thing.
Well, I like to say that I got on everything but a mule to get to that graduation! Because it was in the interior of Mexico that I lived and I had to travel taxis, buses, airplanes. But I got there. And I finally arrived to Chicago O’Hare Airport, I’d say, 12 o’clock at night.
Now there had been a blizzard and no planes got into Chicago that day from Houston. But I had worked for Continental airlines and I saw that they were having a hard time at the gate because all the planes had been cancelled. And I went up and said, you know I am going to my son’s graduation and I haven’t seen him in a long time. I live in Mexico. And if there is any way I can get on, fine. I am not stand by. I am paid. But if I can get on, I worked in Houston Intercontinental for many years. And she says; “If anyone gets on, you’ll get on!”
And so I didn’t worry. I trusted and relied on God all day. Everybody was panicked and I just read my recovery readings and my Big Big Book. And I waited my turn.
The same time that my plane landed at Chicago O’Hare that night, a Southwest airline plane landed in the other airport ( I think it is Midway ), and they crashed and ran into a mountain of snow that plows had put. But we made it safely. So anyway, I made it. I finally got to the hotel 2 in the morning, about 3:00. And I had to be up at 5:30 a.m. to get to the ceremony.
And I was there and it was wonderful. And right after the ceremony my son ran up to me, and he said: “Mom, Mom. You can’t believe what happened!” I said: “Oh, it was just beautiful, Son. I am just so proud of you.”
“No, no, no, Mom! Listen to me, Mom. There’s 500 of us. And they are all shipping out to go away and to go to their different ships. And of the 500, my papers got lost, Mom. And I’ve got to stay all weekend ‘til they can find my papers!”
Can you believe that? I had been praying: ‘God, I don’t know I am going to do. I haven’t been alone in the United States. I don’t want to drink. I don’t want to feel sad seeing my son one hour. Help me to have the strength. Help me to not want to pick up or use over disappointment.’ And that is what I prayed a couple weeks.
And even my on line sponsor had given me the phone number for AA and meetings and everything on line. I never met my sponsor. He was in California. Well now, I was going to be the whole weekend with my son. So I called the hotel while we were having lunch and I said: “Could I stay the next two days? Would that be possible?”
And they said; “Why? Why would you want to stay the next two days?” I said: “you know my son’s papers got lost and he is going to be here all weekend. I can have him during the day, but I have to take him back at night at 8:00 p.m.. “
And listen to this next miracle, please! The hotel gave us, gave me a loft suite. It was amazing! A loft suite free for the weekend to enjoy my son. Well, I couldn’t wait to take him there. Because I had been waiting and waiting and waiting to do my amends to my son. He was the only one left. And if anyone deserved amends, it was my son. And so that’s what I did. It is so funny. I fill him a hot bubble bath.
Because he had been in the snow, maneuvers and the freezing for weeks! And the last part was in water in the freezing. And so I filled him up with bubble bath and I went and sat in the bathroom and I said: “I can’t see you, Son. I just can’t wait any longer. I have got to do an amends. And I read to him: Make direct amends to such people whenever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.
And I did my amends. And he was so kind and he just listened. And he did not say a word. I couldn’t believe he was so mature. I really couldn’t believe it. But as much as I put him through, that probably matured him pretty fast having a drunken mother.
Well, he did go overseas and I was never worried. I truly trusted and relies in God. And we went through other adventures. But before he went overseas he was in Norfolk on the Harry Truman. And I was living in Pennsylvania when I came back, with a girlfriend I had known. We had a school together in Mexico. And she lived in Pennsylvania. And so it was all new to me. I had not been in America living in 21 years.
And every once in a while I would think of something that I had forgotten to tell my son in the amends. It had become winter and I wasn’t use to the snow or driving in it or the freeways. It was all very panicky for me.
It was most important to me that I made all the amends I could to my son. And I remember one morning, I was going at 7:00 in the morning to take the freeway in the snow to a job in another town where I worked. And I had the cell phone. He called me. I guess he had just arrived into America back from a maneuver.
And I said: “Son.” And I walked off so nobody would hear me. And I said: “Do you remember the time that I burnt your Big Bird, your Stuffed Big Bird? I just want to tell you how sorry I am. How stupid, how crazy!” And he said: “Mom, Mom! Mom will you please just listen to me!” He was on the cell phone. I said: “Yes, Son.” He said: “Mom, I’ve forgiven you for everything you have ever done. Listen to me, Mom. It’s time to forgive yourself.” That’s what he said.
And I said: “Oh! I can forgive myself?”
“Yes, Mom. You can forgive yourself.”
I went on to work and I was doing my gratitude list like I always do and I did my work. And a blizzard was coming in pretty bad. So I left and I got lost. I wasn’t used to finding my way around in the snow. I had been in the tropics of Mexico. And I turned off. And I was afraid. I was frightened. And I was praying. And I saw a sign to the right, in front of a church with a red arrow going to the right. And it said: AA Meeting. Well, I went in there and parked and got into that meeting, got some hot coffee. And the topic was ‘Forgiveness”!
And so I shared what had happened. I shared what had happened when my son had said you’ve got to forgive yourself. And it was amazing. A man shared and cried his eyes out; because he had never been able to forgive himself for he had done to his son. And then another lady shared and cried. Everybody got so healed because when you take a pain and share it to a loving and understanding group, you leave 50% of the pain there. So I wanted to share that with you.
One of the first persons you need to forgive, is yourself. We are supposed to have a loving higher power. I call my higher power…I know Him as the Lord Jesus Christ. And it’s a higher power of your own understanding, the way you can understand your higher power at this point in recovery. Because through life, one day at a time, your understanding of a loving higher power changes. But your higher power forgave you long time ago, too. So, this is Cindy Charles Ouellette and I just want to tell you: “Forgive yourself, too.”
Thanks for letting me share.
And my website is: CindyCharlesOuellette.com
And I am the author of Crying Hearts of the Loved Ones.
Now remember, just for today, only for today, we do not pick up or use no matter what!