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ACOA Red Book Step 8

Old 07-12-2014, 08:55 AM
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ACOA Red Book Step 8

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

For me, I can honestly say that I have always been a very apologetic person. I sometimes apologize for things that weren't really my fault. I have become more discerning in my relationships since starting on recovery road. (for my problem with alcohol, and for my codependent tendencies) So for me, this is more like a "going forward" step. I want to be more conscious of my side of the street and apologize for things that really are my fault, not just for any bad event or circumstance that occurs. I also have come to understand that just because someone feels hurt because I don't want to do something with them, or spend more time with them, or even want them in my life anymore, that doesn't mean I have done something wrong. Boundaries aren't bad, even if others' feelings get hurt.

I know this doesn't seem in the spirit of the step, but I think if I start apologizing for only the things I am truly responsible for, it actually makes my "sorries" more sincere.
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Old 07-12-2014, 01:39 PM
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I do agree with your sentiment that if you only apologize for things you did then that makes it more sincere. However, it was taught to me that amends werent merely apologies but a willingness to make the person you harmed whole again. For me that is a much deeper action than an apology. I think that is where the idea of ' living amends' comes from.

As an example I am a recovering alcoholic and codependent like you and I am also married and a mom. So, for me I didnt just say I am sorry for making life hell. I told them each individually and when we were alone that I was sorry for causing so much pain, chaos, and uncertainity in their lives because they not only couldnt depend on me they didnt know how nuts I would be on any given day. I said it was my intention to earnn back their trust and be the parent/spouse they needed. I also told them I would always listen to them if they wanted to talk about things no matter how bad or uncomfortable it made me. And I still apologize for things as I remember them and I havent had a drink in 37 months
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Old 07-12-2014, 06:41 PM
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Happy, no you are right, amends are much more than apologies.

Luckily, I was a rather high bottom drunk so my children were usually out of sight or asleep when I was my drunkest. I never drank during the day as part of our routine and I never drove them drunk or anything like that. I was always terribly sorry and regretful when I drank too much at a party, but since my husband and I spent a lot of time in the "party scene" in our 20s and 30s, my drinking didn't look so out of place in our crowd, although admittedly, I was often one of the drunkest. I asked my husband one time why he didn't get more angry with me about my drinking or why he never asked me to quit drinking alcohol and he said it was because I was always so sorry. I was so "high functioning" in other areas of my life that my drinking hadn't "stood out", yet . . . . When I realized drinking was really taking a toll on my body and mind and becoming a big part of my thoughts is when I started being more secretive and private about drinking, but that is also the time when my mother became an obvious alcoholic. That was my call to get off the elevator and so I started my sobriety. So, honestly, I don't feel like I need to make amends to my family about my drinking. The person I hurt the most was usually, if not always, me. I guess in some ways I am making amends to myself for all of the years of abuse I put myself through or let myself be subject to in relationships. I don't mean to come across as perfect and flawless (I am far from that, obviously), but it has always been in my character to own up to my faults, wrongdoings, mistakes, etc and try to make them better. I guess I am having a hard time communicating what I want to say.
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Old 07-13-2014, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by DoubleDragons View Post
... I was so "high functioning" in other areas of my life that my drinking hadn't "stood out", yet ...
That was my story too. I also quit early, when I realized that if I did not I would end up just like my father.

Originally Posted by DoubleDragons View Post
... I guess I am having a hard time communicating what I want to say.
No worries, I "get it" I think most of us ACoA's "get you" just fine, that's why we all hang out here, where we all understand each other. It's not like with "normies" where I have to go thru the whole deal of explaining my childhood, explaining alcoholism, explaining PTSD, etc. etc.

Mike
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:43 PM
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DD thank you for sharing more of yourself with me.
I have to admit and make amends for behaviors I realize would be considered co-narcissistic. Which makes my stomach ache. To realize,admit, and own the fact that some of the behaviors I hate and find so destructive in my mom are also behaviors I have. Gawd I hate writing that
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:43 PM
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I too have always been a chronic apologizer, taking on responsibility for things that weren't even remotely my fault. As I make my step 8 amends list, which I was actually afraid to start doing, I have found that more often than not, I have already apologized for many of my wrongs. As I have worked my Alanon program, I have grown enough that I was also living my amends in many cases without realizing it. Of course I will still have amends to make for my step 9, but not the telephone directory-sized list I was imagining when I started.
I was scared to start this one, more scared than I was of step 4, but as I actually do it, I am realizing (once again) that I am really not a horrible person, or unworthy or any of those old ideas that still stick around in my head like cobwebs.
I truly understand now what it means to have the program build your self esteem. I can feel it. Like I am finally laying a foundation for my life and the person I really want to be.
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Old 07-19-2014, 04:22 PM
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Glad to see I'm not the only one apologizing for the weather!

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