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i am beginning  my fourth step using the original AA format, trying to discover who and what i am and how i came to be what i am.  I start with my conception:

He was the youngest in a family of at least eleven sons and two daughters.  There was a 22 year span between his sister and himself and he was just three or four years older than his sister's younger daughter.  He was a normal kid, a  good  kid, except the way he treated the chickens on his father's farm suggests he might have had a mean streak.  Then when he was 18 he raped his 15 year old niece.  So, i would have been my mother's nephew, my father's grandnephew and ny grandparents' greatgrandson.  Connections to other family members would have been similarly distorted.

It would not have been good for either of us if my mother had tried to keep me.   So the neighbor boy allowed his name to go on my birth certificate; i was whisked away from the home birth; and relatives and community were told that i was still born.

Ten years later i was told that i was adopted but given no further information.  At age 20, i needed a copy of my birth certificate.  The DVS sent the original by mistake which showed the names, ages, and occupations of my mother and the  boy next door (who i assumed was my father).  I thought about trying to contact her, but never got around to it.

At age 64, i received a birthday card from an aunt which included the name, address, and phone number of my "real parents."  I wrote my mother a  letter including my date and place of birth and a few facts about my life and said i would like to meet her if she were so inclined.  Her reply was matter-of-fact but very welcoming.  In one of several subsequent letters she mentioned that neighbor boy now husband (M.) was not my father and she described briefly but substantially (and matter-of-factly) the circumstances of my conception.  There was no indiication, then nor subsequently, any resentment or bitterness.

When i visited them the  following spring, M was still wary of me; but apparently one look at my nose convinced me that i was indeed my father's child.  The visit lasted three days and was very enjoyable for me, and i think for them.  I wished they could have raised me.

M asked if i wished to meet my father; he would take me to where he was and introduce us.  I thought about it few seconds, then declined.  My father was deceased within two years and  i was able to  find his obituary on the internet.  There i learned the very few facts i know about him.

Evidently he was a loving husband and kind  father whose two daughters (my half-sisters, etc.) considered him their role model.  He nursed his wife through her declining years -- as i did.  There was no evidence that he ever apologized to my mother or made any direct amends to her.  ff she was ever on his conscience he never seemed to have given any indication of that.

I am aware of no feelings toward him, positive or negative.  But can  a child -even an autistic one- have NO feelings toward his father --even one he never met?  I don't think so!  What resents lie deep within me?  What unacknowledged forces molded the creature i appear to be?


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 21st, 2017 12:13 pm (UTC)
I am uncomfortable with your sponsor's insistence that you stick with resentment as a starting point. Resentment isn't one of my big weaknesses, either, so this resonates with me. You're liable not to uncover buried resentments, but to manufacture them, looking so hard for them.

I don't know, maybe I'm wrong ...

But yeah, I think you can certainly feel nothing at all about your biological father. You didn't even know he existed until you were 64. Why should you feel anything about him? It is your mother he wronged, and if she forgives, why should you resent? On the contrary, I think you were blessed by discovering and loving your mother and M, and even by what you learned about your father: that he wasn't a complete monster, although he did something very bad and did not overtly repent of it. If he never treated another woman like that, in my eyes it's substantial repentance. Amends would have been nice, but evidently your mother did not require it. Nothing here for you to resent.

Jun. 21st, 2017 09:24 pm (UTC)
Hi Regina. It is so good to hear from you. I much regret that i have been so distant from my friends during the past six months.

I appreciate your comments; they are useful and comforting.

Yes, you could be wrong, but more likely you are right.

I am already seeing some results from starting the 4th Step "Bill's way." I have plenty of time and i will try other approaches concurrently or consecutively.
Jun. 21st, 2017 06:16 pm (UTC)
There's no evidence he didn't make amends; and i would find it evidence from the serenity with which you were contacted, told your history, and offered an introduction your birth father that amends may have been made.

If we were involved in a Quaker Clearness Committee, i would listen to your story, and your self questions, and i would ask, "Do you resent or regret not contacting your birth mother earlier?"
Jun. 21st, 2017 09:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your comment.

I am very interested in the concept of "Clearness" which i intend to explore.

My answer to your question would have been yes. I do wish that i would have contacted my mother much earlier. I was just getting to know her when she began to slip into dementia. I wanted more time. But "regret" is, perhaps, too strong a word. I am starting to learn from the First Peoples of the U.S.Southwest, from Al-Anon and from all the wisdom traditions that all of our circumstances are gifts from the Divine and are exactly the way they are supposed to be.
Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:39 am (UTC)
Quakers find discernment an important part of spiritual practice and clarity the state when discernment is complete. The most formal clearness committees are on membership and being married under the care of the meeting, where both the community and the individual(s) need clarity about the commitments. When someone carries a concern or is in distress, a clearness committee can be formed to support them in their discernment.

Parker Palmer is taking Quaker practice out to the world through his work. It seems he uses clearness committees, too: http://www.couragerenewal.org/clearnesscommittee/ #6 is about the questions.

How does the wisdom you are learning about circumstances being exactly the way they should be interact with this process of examining resentments?
Jun. 23rd, 2017 02:39 am (UTC)
I thank you much for the references.

I am somewhat acquainted with Parker Palmer; his To Know As One is Known has guided me through at least the past 30 years as a teacher and human being.

I think the 4th step is al anon's version of discernment.

Total acceptance would make resentment (or any other negative emotion) impossible. But until i have achieved that, it is important to know what and who i appear to be and how i came to be that way.
Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:22 pm (UTC)
I think it is possible to carry a sort of bubble of strangeness, around a past experience. Sometimes for years or decades and then there is clearness and one knows how one feels. Sometimes, I suspect, one carries the bubble forever.
Jun. 23rd, 2017 02:44 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Yes. Well i wouldn't want to do that, and i don't think that the 12 Steps require, or even allow, it.
Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:17 pm (UTC)
For myself, it's something that just happens. Maybe it wouldn't if I were in a Twelve-Step programme, of course.
Jun. 23rd, 2017 12:35 am (UTC)
Thank you for these stories of your journey, sir. I look forward to your working through the clarity of the step you're embarking upon, and appreciate your sharing it so openly. Namaste.
Jun. 23rd, 2017 02:47 am (UTC)

Well then, i hope it is a valuable experience for both of us.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )



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