Is it all about personal accountability?

Old 01-03-2017, 09:02 AM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by BrendaChenowyth View Post
Amends aren't always possible...
Taking whatever the word is supposed to mean in AA out of it, "amends" means compensations for loss or injury. In my experience, I cannot compensate for injuries I caused as a drunk (for me, mostly hurt feelings and disappointment, to varying degrees with different people) except by not doing them any more, and continuing to not do them in the future. So, amends follow from not drinking any more, and trying to live an honest and honorable life consistent with who I am, not who the alcoholic me was.

That doesn't mean I didn't feel bad about some of the things I did, but that was true even for people who seemed to really forgive me, and so it was really my own internal issue, "grandiose thinking" as Fly N Buy phrased it. My own ego. It faded for me over time, but a big part of helping it fade was staying involved in recovery world and trying to help other folks who were in the same place I had been. And, of course, continuing to not drink.
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:10 AM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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This is an awesome discussion.

Hang in there and don't forget it takes time. You will get there.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:43 PM
  # 43 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by BrendaChenowyth View Post
Is there ever a point where an addict can say, I never would have done those things, it was my addiction controlling me? Is that a cop out? Or am I supposed to accept that I am just that terrible of a person?
It is not a cop out, just a fact. If you could say I would have willingly done those things drink or sober, there would be no reason to feel bad. The fact is that chronic alcoholism leads us into some dark places, we do things that we would never ordinarily do, and that is what brings the remorse and shame. We go against our own nature and values and that is what makes us feel bad.

You are not a terrible person, you were a sick person. And now you are getting well.

Some say you can't change the past so why even go there? IME it is not about changing the past, it is about healing, restorative justice of you like. In fact, restorative justice is a good way to look at things.

I couldn't just forgive myself and never look back. Instead I took a number of steps. I realised I was sick, I sought help and undertook to change for the better. I looked at all my faults, and my wrongs and faced the truth. I went to the people I had hurt, explained what my problem had been, what my solution was, showed genuine contrition, asked them what I could do to make things right again, and did whatever they asked.

In such circumstances the miracle of reconciliation and /or restoration of trust can happen, and happens more often than not. That doesn't mean old relationships are salvaged necessarily, but old hurts are healed, old resentments are gone, along with all the associated fear. We can look the world in the eye.

Having done all this, and done my very best to clean up past mistakes, and having adopted a new manner of living in which I do not repeat those mistakes, well... what's left to forgive?
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:24 PM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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Is there ever a point where an addict can say, I never would have done those things, it was my addiction controlling me? Is that a cop out?
Early recovery came with a great deal of shame which lessened when I realized what's important is what I do TODAY. I think the first few years are difficult because all those feelings we drank to escape now must be faced sans anesthesia. I wouldn't have gotten or stayed sober without the support of AA and a terrific shrink.
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:29 AM
  # 45 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by freshstart57 View Post
I dealt with my own shame and remorse by accepting that I had done some pretty reprehensible things. I accepted the past events. Yep, that happened. All of it. And I made peace within myself by vowing, along with never drinking again, to never again act in that way. I gave myself a fresh start. I conflated my sobriety vow with my forgiveness, which strengthened it in a very important way. Never again would I be a person who acted in that way because I will never again drink.

Give yourself permission to move forward, BrendaC, or you will get stuck. And you do that by forgiving yourself. You can be the person you really are, the authentic you. Don't let your past mistakes mess your future.

This is what we do for others whom we love. We accept, we forgive, we allow them to live in this moment while doing their best. Now do it for you.
This is beautifully said and so true.
Do this and the rest will follow--
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