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Old 03-19-2012, 10:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Making amends....I need to understand

I was married to an active alcoholic for 16 years. Unfortunately, he was never able to get better. When we divorced, I did not want him to make amends to me because I was so angry. I have been working with a therapist for almost two years and have made progress. It is slow, but I think I am doing well and am optimistic.
Here goes.....I am now re-married...oddly enough to an RA. He is deep in his program and doing very well. We have spoken at length about both our lives and we are deeply connected. I encourage his program, it is good for him and I both.
The thing is.....he wants to meet with an ex to make amends. This was his first love and he did some very terrible things to her and her family. He is making amends to all of them. I understand and support that.
I'm not sure I understand the process of making amends though. He wants to meet her face to face, can't do it over the phone and it seems very secretive, private. It gives the impression that the amends is coming from a place of love and endearment....like an intimate thing that lovers would share. Am I wrong? Is it private because it comes from a place of shame? Am I wrong about that too?
We talk about a lot of things...and we have talked about this and I really don't want to bring it up with him again. I just wanted an outside opinion from others in the community.........thanks everyone.....
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Your husband needs to work with his sponsor on this one.....not you. It's not your business. If he asks you I'd suggest you just simply say, "talk to your sponsor".
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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"...except when to do so would injure them or others"

I disagree with Music in regards to the fact that the amends process seems to be hurting you.... I'd talk to hubby about how you are feeling about his process.... are you in Al Anon? Two alkie husbands and just therapy.... Seems there's more to you that could be recovering, too. Al Anon might help you!
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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He needs to work with his sponsor and it iS your business as well.. you have to feel comfortable.
Good advice posted, stay open, stay truthful. Caring, communicating, compromising.
All will be well.

Wishing everyone the best.

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Old 03-19-2012, 03:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarbear1 View Post
"...except when to do so would injure them or others"

I disagree with Music in regards to the fact that the amends process seems to be hurting you.... I'd talk to hubby about how you are feeling about his process.... are you in Al Anon? Two alkie husbands and just therapy.... Seems there's more to you that could be recovering, too. Al Anon might help you!
Bingo.

I don't think making amends to an ex is a very good idea, especially if you are in a serious relationship. I would just be honest with him and tell him that it makes you uncomfortable. Explain that you want to be supportive but not at your own emotional expense.

Just my two cents.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What does RA stand for?
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sort of OT, but not really, I was wondering about the not causing injury part myself - I am only very early on in my steps (about to start writing my 4) and I know that there are things that I could make amends for but that would deeply hurt my husband - shameful secrets from the really crazy days... I realise that these could cost me my marriage, which I truly don't want to lose, which also makes me think I am being selfish in not confessing to them... argh... I guess I can work this out with my sponsor, but I was just hoping for more clarity on this part of the process.

Sorry for rambling and sorry for hijacking the thread a little...
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks. It's natural you should feel a little disconcerted, if not even somewhat jealous
Making amends is a vital step in recovery, and needs to be done for the alcoholic to move forward. However the relevant step does stipulate:made amends to such people unless to do so may cause harm. This seems to be harming you, so perhaps he could write his ex a letter?
Just a thought...
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks. It's natural you should feel a little disconcerted, if not even somewhat jealous
Making amends is a vital step in recovery, and needs to be done for the alcoholic to move forward. However the relevant step does stipulate:made amends to such people unless to do so may cause harm. This seems to be harming you, so perhaps he could write his ex a letter?
Just a thought...
I was going to say write a letter too, but she did say he did terrible things to not only her, but also her family. That is likely something that has been eating away at him for years and a letter won't let him see any forgiveness that would actually help him.

Thats a potential reason why he wants to do it in person. A letter or words over the phone may not help him move on, heck it could make it worse.
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Feeling Down...no worries.....this community is about everyone and I have found many many threads, comments and caring folks who help....
...Yes...I think he needs to make amends with the group to the ex and her family to move on. I think maybe I am seeing this through my ex and me instead of my current husband and this woman. What I didn't mention before is that my ex died of alcohol related disease recently adn there is no hope of amends now...I guess I wonder whether i would have receptive if he had lived and come to me and whether I would have taken him back. See what I mean by substituting the two couples?
Yes......i think you are right...more introspective and therapy is needed...not so sure about Al Anon but considering it.......still don't want to talk more to the husband....sometimes I think we are so raw ourselves from recent addictions / co-dependencies that we sometimes cannot see the forest for the trees......emotionally speaking......
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I suggested a letter, Muststop, because its possible this man may not even get the forgiveness he wants. It's not about that. We keep our side of the street clean. If the other person(s) cant or wont forgive it's sad, but the action of making amends has been done. I also suggested a letter because a face to face meeting may get messy, and even backfire, making things worse, plus there's the fact that aliveforme is very uncomfortable about her husband making this part of the step...0
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Just a couple of thoughts from my own experience: I also have to make amends to an ex-wife and am struggling with the way to do it. I do see your husband's point, that the amends need to be done in person. it sounds like he has a good sponsor.

As hard as it may be, I think you do need to make amends to your deceased ex-husband. I have no advice on how to do it, but my sponsor is working with me on this aspect. I need to make amends to deceased parents -- they died more than 30 years ago.

As hard as it is to be in recovery as a couple, there are things we just have to let go of. It's individual recovery, not couple or group recovery.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:52 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm married to an alcoholic and have been for almost 50 years. She has 36 years sober and I have 35 years. We stay out of each others programs. Unless I ask her a direct question and she asks me, neither of us has any business getting involved, unless of course, one of us should drink again and then the rules change.

Aliveforme, you've stated that you don't understand about the amends. You don't have to understand anything other than it has to be done in order for an alcoholic to stay sober. If you aren't in Al-anon and have a sponsor, I suggest you get counseling from a person who knows about the steps and can work with you. You may never understand. I've been told many times by non-alkies that they don't understand about alcoholism. A person cannot fully understand unless they've walked in the same shoes. I have people in my past I'd like to make amends to also, but I don't have the right to interupt their lives just to sooth my pain. That's why the Big Book talks about "indirect amends" that should be made with God and through a sponsor. To quote above: "except when to do so would injure them or others". If you're bothered by the process of amend making it could be because you've interjected yourself into an area where you don't belong. If you pressure your husband too much about this subject, he may do as I would and tell you to mind your own business. Where my wife is concerned, I trust God, her and the process of working the steps. The only deal breaker would be if either of us should drink again. If she drank again and decided she wanted to start sobriety again I'd support her. If she wanted to drink, I'd pack her stuff for her and I suspect the same would hold true if I drank. Bottom line is you have to decide which way to go. Like I've heard so many times: "Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has a couple and some stink."
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I can say from experience that making amends to ex's is just what it is talked up to be when its done with the true spirit of setting things right and not simply apologizing or otherwise being frothy about the past relationship.

I and my wife today are both into our 2nd marriage with each other. We'll have 3 yrs in October. We're both recovered alcoholics, her 11 yrs, me 30 yrs. My ex of 22 yrs marriage with me as well is a recovered alcoholic with 28 yrs. My wife's ex of 18 yrs marriage with her was never an alcoholic. Not all amends have to do with being previously drunk. Things can can broken up and shattered in a sober fashion too... and this can sometimes be even more hurtful since alcoholic drinking is not the "acceptable reason offered" when the transgressions occured. Sober consequences are often life changing events.

We all have made our amends to each of our respective ex's. Some of those amends were painful and some were healing. It was altogether a worthwhile effort from all of us and now the four of us enjoy a growing sense of closure.

Both our ex's are now remarried as well.

Amends -- both direct and indirect -- are an honorable effort to make right and do right and the sole purpose is to set right and restore what was wrecked, lost, broken, thrown away, kicked to the curb, cheated on, lied about, and bargained away into nothingness.

I made my amends. I'm glad I did. My wife and I chose to share most of our amends experiences as we made the efforts with our respective ex's. We did not share absolutely eveything though -- some efforts were naturally private and for the respective ex's experience only.

A word of caution: Amends are worse then nothing if nothing is made right...

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Old 03-20-2012, 04:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
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After reading all these posts..... I think that it helped with the clarity of what my true issue is.....I am not comfortable with the messages that were going back and forth - the amends really has nothing to do with that. I need to deal with what the issue is.
Thanks to everyone.......
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