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Post Info TOPIC: making amends


MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 1419
Date:
making amends
 
 


I was told early on when making amends, do it once and do it right. Now the but. After nearly 5 years, now the but.

It's been suggested that my amends to my adult children need a little bit of a coda.

The initial amends are ok. The ongoing amends are to stay out of their lives but apparently I should explain that part of the ongoing amends includes staying sober such that I don't repeat previous behavior.

Well I don't know. Do my adult children know I'm an alkie that doesn't drink no more? Do they need to know? Do they know or need to know tge level of financial support I've provided?

I'll discuss this further with my sponsor later but would like some feedback from you guys.





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It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you got.
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When all else fails - RTFM



Senior Member

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Posts: 230
Date:
 
 

They probably know. Hard to hide the elephant in the living room. I have made amends early on that later had to be adjusted cause quit frankly, they were lame.  Through the pealing of the onion God showed me where it was needed, and a deeper healing and freedom was experienced by all concerned. When God is at work, more then just me is affected in a positive way.

6a00d83451bae269e2011168861834970c-200wi

 



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                   Since it cost a lot to win, and even more to loose, you and me gotta spend some time just wondering what to choose. 



MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 3036
Date:
 
 

Thanks Bill...I'll be waiting on your BBack so that I can compare it to my own experiences.  My amends to my children...now adults in their 40's are on going and include my grand and great-grand children.  I don't drink therefore I am different. My children and grand-children know my story (short version) so they know "what it was like for me"; they know I am a lifetime member of the program of AA and therefore know what then happened and they get to have me in the now a full member of the family and different that how it use to be.  I don't force myself on them or my sobriety and I am always there for them and always with what I have learned from the fellowship without even having to mention it.  The relationships are what they are for today and not all of it is a result of my drinking addiction.  They also have their "programs" by habit and by choice and I've learned here and in the program that it's all acceptable to HP, to me and to my sobriety.

Standing by and listening.   smile



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MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 2131
Date:
 
 

Hey Bill! I remember when my 1st wife(married in '65) took our children out of state to Texas(78/79?). I was so buried in child support and really in bad shape. I actaully lived with the kids for a couple years(active) while my wife and her boyfriend got straightened out , they got married and decided to move away.They then had the kids names changed to her husbands name instead of my last name.I felt I had lost the last of them.Though I stayed in phone contact thru the years,sent $$$ on holidays etc ,I didnt get to make face to face amends until a year and a half ago when I flew out to Texas ,with my son from my 3rd marriage (25),who by grace of God is in recovery from heroin addiction after 7 long years of devastation. My children are 45 and 44 and I hadnt seen them since they were like 11 and 12. All those years of guilt,pain sorrow,self flagellation etc.When I finally approached both of them when I flew to Texas I was amazed at the interaction and cried like a baby. Both kids had said, "Dad,you were very sick,you tried your best ,we always loved you and we knew you loved us.The name change dont mean anything you are our father and we are your children always.We live in a prison of our own making in our minds and until we learn to release and communicate our feelings we create even more pain in our hearts.I try and stay closer now then ever,had to do heavy 9th step work  with 1st wife,her husband(that went over like lead ballon!!) but it made no difference it needed to be done.I didnt mean to write a diatribe here but I can identify with the pain and the situations,though not quite the same but still close to both our hearts..The God of each of our understandings(my children,their children etc) have allowed us all to heal.I have 4 beautiful grandchildren from those kids and though I am also more remote then I would like to be from them our hearts are joined even though we are miles apart.Get with your Higher Power,share with your sponsor and know in your heart that sometimes the only amends we can make is living our lives in a God centered,spiritual  manner working a day at a time,in the principles to move forward and like our primary purpose states"to be of maximum service to God and help others! Hopefully our pain shared ,is pain lessened! I truly wish you peace! 



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Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.


MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 1008
Date:
 
 

bikerbill wrote:

Do they know or need to know tge level of financial support I've provided?



 Bill,

My ESH is that I need to ask myself that who am I trying to help by informing them of the level of my financial aid??

Maybe I am just trying to make myself look good? (Pride)  I don't know your answer and I don't need to.  Give it some thought and answer it for yourself.

Larry,

"What other people think of you is none of your business."

 

 



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MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 1419
Date:
 
 

Larry. Good point and one to ponder. Maybe it is pride. Hurt pride at that. No body made me do that. I negotiated and agreed it. I hear my brothers and sister saying that the kids should know and it let's me Focus on me. Yeah that's right they should be told! They should see what a great guy I am! But then I hear the past is the past. AA isn't a time machine. Either they know or they don't. Not my job to tell them. So therefore none of my business. Let that one go.

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It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you got.
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When all else fails - RTFM



MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 805
Date:
 
 

Bill, I don't talk to my mother any more, last time I spoke to her I told her I would never speak to her again

If she wrote me a letter....apologizing for harms done, I know for me forgiveness would start settling in my heart, if she said "look at everything I have done for you", or "look at the money I gave you" I would view it as more manipulation, if she wrote how she did the best she could that would resonate with me, that information could even be included if it was pertinant

When I did my 9th step with my father I was about your kids age I started well but it devolved into "well if you would have been a competent father I would have never done those things, we argued back and forth until he finally told me the story of his life, complete and unabridged, how my mother got pregnant with my sister, how young they were, how they married and had me, and how proud he was of me and how much he loved me...he just plainly and honestly told me the story of his life...and there was nothing left to argue about...I might not agreed with his decisions but viewed in context they weren't personal wrongs done to me but the story of a man doing the best he could ...

my relationship with my father slowly got better over the years after that until we had a conversation where he was on his knees, crying, saying he never imagined he would ever be having this conversation with anyone ever, much less his own son, we were on the phone but he was literally on his knees and started crying, and he was saying "I'm so sorry, I wish I would have known then what I know know, I would have done it differently"

My father does NOT cry, I don't remember what the conversation was about even, it was just a deep one between friends that couldn't be closer, so he is apologizing to me, saying he wished he would have done it differently, and I WAS COMFORTING HIM, I was saying "aww dad, it COULDN"T have been different, this happened and that happened" ...when he was saying it I didn't even notice he was saying the things I had wanted him to say MY ENTIRE life...it took me 3 days to realize it, because I didn't need it any more, then of course I turned into a hot mess, but that's another story for another time

My point is, my experience with 9th steps is they work, maybe not how thought they would, or how we want them to, but they set up strange series of events that change our lives

If my mother wrote me a long letter, not just apologizing for wrongs done in a transparent effort to manipulate me for an emotional response, but telling me how much she loved me, and maybe almost in a "what it was like, what happened, and what it's like now" format with the same honesty we show at an AA meeting it would fracture the ice around my heart, now I don't know what I would do, as in I wouldn't run off and be friends with her in her little lala land, but at the very least she would get forgiveness from me for harms done



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it's not the change that's painful, it's the resistance to change that is painful



MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 3036
Date:
 
 

 

 

Aloha Bill...My kids know today and the information is on going as I remain in recovery. I don't apologize for stuff again that I did before the last apology.  I did the very best I could with what the program gave me and I trust that.  My amends is that I no longer live like I use to ...think, act, react, feel and the like as before.  I am different and who I have become in recovery is very acceptable to my value systems and to my higher power and so far my entire community.  The amends has been made and continues to be lived. 

Like Mike it is important that they get to do their part...whatever part that is.  They get (like me) to make choices about their actions and lives based upon their value systems, wants and needs.  With Dr. Paul's suggestion on page 449 of the 3rd edition of the Big Book I practice acceptance of it all and I am okay with the turn out for today.

My eldest son and I have a better relationship than in the past where he was telling himself to stay away from this scarey man and I later on was divorcing him out of my life because his drinking and using had reached near terminal stages as mine had.

Today he and the rest of the siblings and I have the same Father who we turn to for direction...We have different names for this Father...I often call mine HP or Akua and they more often call Him God of their religion and it all is acceptable.   One day at a time recovery progresses and we all get to cross over the bridge.  I no longer have the inclination to blow this bridge up.

Pain is a teacher...stay at your desk.   smile



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MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 755
Date:
 
 

Bill you said "Do my adult children know I'm an alkie that doesn't drink no more? Do they need to know? Do they know or need to know tge level of financial support I've provided?"


Pure opinion here: I think they need to know you don't drink anymore. You can't control the outcome, but if they don't even have the information they are stuck with nothing but old news, to fester and continue to taint their perceptions, which are now mis perceptions.

I also think they might appreciate knowing you have done right by them financially---what might they be thinking otherwise? It started a great healing process between my daughter and me when she began to get the correct info from me, rather than being stuck with her old bad memories continually reinforced by her dad, who just wanted to poison the well and keep her from me. She was hurt, thinking I did things or did not do things. It alleviated her pain to learn the truth. It was not at all about "me", it was about her. You may be in a position to remove or reduce some of their pain, as it is not about "you", either.

I rejected (hated, actually) my mother. Now I deeply regret that I was not told what she had been doing for me until after she died, and that I didn't know about changes for the good that she had made, while I was busy thinking the worst of her and keeping up a hurtful distance. I wish I had the chance while she was alive.

I think if your motive is to give your children the opportunity to hear the facts--which you cannot assume anyone else is going to provide them with--so they can at least make their own decisions about what to do with it, then you would be doing them and yourself a disservice to withhold it. Check you motive, and maybe don't jump to assuming the worst about yourself--I read care and concern, not self interest. And once you're gone, it's too late for them to even have a chance to make any different choices regarding how they relate (or don't) to you..

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Willingness is the key.


MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 1419
Date:
 
 

Ah now I'm confused. It's examine your motives time.Do I believe that my adult children know how I kept up my end of the financial bargain - no. Do I think they're interested - maybe, will it make any difference to how they feel about me - who knows. Why do I think they ought to know - I don't know. Their Mum has repeatedly said to me that she cannot afford to live without my fianncial contribution and her job - well she'll have to find out how she can manage soon. Also she may be concerned about the financial impact of the divorce, everything is joint property and this may be impacted by the fact that there are 3 wage earners in that house and one over here - fear of financial insecurity.

But putting the focus back on me (I've recently been told that I consider others to avoid looking at me - so true), for me I think they should have my side of the story, they've only had one side so far. Now when will be the best time? After the divorce? On their next birthday, at Christmas?

It's my daughter's 25th birthday on wednesday, I've sent a card with a small cash gift as I always have since the day she was born. This time I put a wee note in, just to explain that part of my amends is to stay sober and not repeat the actions of the past. (as well as to stay the F### out of her life) have I already mentioned this?

I must curb my impatience. Time takes Time doesn't it. Maybe I have too much on to deal with everything today?

__________________

It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you got.
BB

When all else fails - RTFM



MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 3210
Date:
 
 

bikerbill wrote:

I was told early on when making amends, do it once and do it right. Now the but. After nearly 5 years, now the but.

It's been suggested that my amends to my adult children need a little bit of a coda.

The initial amends are ok. The ongoing amends are to stay out of their lives but apparently I should explain that part of the ongoing amends includes staying sober such that I don't repeat previous behavior.

Well I don't know. Do my adult children know I'm an alkie that doesn't drink no more? Do they need to know? Do they know or need to know tge level of financial support I've provided?

I'll discuss this further with my sponsor later but would like some feedback from you guys.




I'd make the amends anyway, regardless of the outcome. The point here is to "make an amends" not to worry over how it's received. Some of my family members did not accept my amends for various "other" reasons - unbeknownst to myself. The reason I made the amends was to move on with my life not theirs. I need to feel forgiven for the mistakes I made while drinking and making an amends helped me do that. The only time I didn't make an amends was for various other reasons, some of which are included in step 9; like to those people who could be injured or others I lost contact with. Otherwise, I did and I suggest anyone who hasn't -just yet, would do the same.  

The main reason why we clean house is to begin the process of moving on with our lives, far beyond the pages of our active alcoholism and those we have hurt. Step 12 sums up the experience this way: "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps". The spiritual antidote they are referring to has the capacity to break the chains of hopelessness and despair and can enlighten us with God's purpose for our lives, as the prospect of lasting sobriety becomes more of a reality and not just an illusion.  This was my epiphany, as I reached that threshold to my newness of life. Making the amends is an integral part of the "recovery process" which was the springboard to my "spiritual awakening" and can be yours too -one step at a time. aww

~God bless~ 

















-- Edited by Mr_David on Monday 2nd of May 2011 02:05:47 AM

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Mr.David


MIP Old Timer

Status: Offline
Posts: 1419
Date:
 
 

OK to clarify, I made written amends in 07 to my son and daughter. My daughter rejected the amends in a particularly agressive way. and tore up the letter to my son. So i wrote to him again and have had no response. That's just how it is. However, been talking to my Mum and she has just told me that she's spoken to my daughter who told her that 'that shit of a son of yours hasn't paid a penny maintenance for the past 5 years'. Hmmm. Also remember Eileen telling me she was going to Alanon, but what does she tell my son and daughter (who live with her) about where she was going and why. I suggested telling them the truth and she said but then I'd have to tell them you're an alkie. So the indications are that they don't know.

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It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you got.
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When all else fails - RTFM

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