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Amends letter

Old 02-17-2014, 07:11 AM
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Amends letter

EXABF is in jail, for multiple DUI's and probation violations. I now have not spoken to him in over a year, when he was harassing me and I got a restraining order against him.

From what I gathered from friends, he spiraled downward from even there and landed in jail after a fight with his current (?) girlfriend.

His mother called me this weekend. She explained that he has been doing well in his AA program and has written an apology letter to me. She wanted to know if it would be ok if he sent it and what address it should go to.

I gave her my PO box. To my knowledge he does not know my actual address and I would like for it to remain that way.

I have been a little bit nervous ever since I said I would accept it. During the years we were together, he would not even talk about AA. He left rehab to start drinking again on the bus ride home. My life was in pieces because of his problems. I left when I ran out of options.

So many emotions, and the first thought is that this will be full of manipulation and not anything that he actually would mean. I have heard it before. Then I feel bad for being so jaded and hope that when he isn't locked up anymore he can maintain his sobriety and put his life back together. And then I think it would be healing for me to get a real apology.

Part of me wonders if I should even open it, and if I do, I dare not write back for fear that the communication would continue.

I have worked hard to put my life back together, without him. Why am I so anxious about this?
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:23 AM
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As I understand it, amends are made for the growth of the person who is making them--your XABF, in this case. If he has done the work he should have done, it will make no difference whether or not you actually ever receive or read his letter. HIS recovery is in no way dependent upon YOUR reaction to his intent to make amends.

You would certainly not be the first or only person to refuse to hear amends from someone who has hurt them in the past, and you certainly have every right to refuse any contact w/him. Just as writing the letter is for HIS personal growth, the choice to receive it or not is totally YOURS. You have no obligation to do so whatsoever.

Also, in regards to his apologies being something that might aid in your healing, be prepared for the fact that what he feels he needs to make amends for, what amends he chooses to make, and how he wishes to make those amends, may be far, far different from what you feel you deserve or need to hear. If it would cause a setback or resentment in you to receive the letter and then not find it adequate, you might be smarter to simply refuse it.

This isn't really answering your question about why you feel anxious, but it seems to me that if you are feeling enough anxiety to post here about it, you maybe should consider whether you're still feeling that pressure of somehow being responsible for someone else's happiness/recovery/life that so many of us with A partners do feel. If that is indeed the case, you might want to reconsider your decision to receive the letter. He will recover (or not) regardless of your decision. The person whose recovery you need to be most concerned with is your own--take care of yourself.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:26 AM
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I would probably be anxious about it, too. I was thinking that you don't have to open it. Then at the bottom of your post, I saw that you were thinking that, too. I don't think I would open it. I'd just put it away somewhere.

If you do decide to read it, I really hope you do not respond.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:29 AM
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Maybe let's start with the ONLY part you can work with?

You.

Originally Posted by XXXXXXXXXX View Post
Why am I so anxious about this?
Dunno. Maybe because you are doing this WITHOUT first -- getting prayed up, talking with your sponsor, and . . . you know . . . all the rest?

I have no idea, I am just guessing -- but, for me -- generally Anxious seems to indicate:

Not starting with God,
Not talking to my sponsor.
Not following my program.

But when doing all that -- the Path seems to get noon daylight bright clear.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:37 AM
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Are you violating the Restraining Order by accepting correspondence from him?
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Fandy View Post
Are you violating the Restraining Order by accepting correspondence from him?
the restraining order died months ago. It's one of the things making me anxious. At one point, he followed me. Taking my daughter to dance class or eating at Applebees with a friend could always turn into disaster. I guess I fear accepting communication because I don't want to go through that again.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:55 AM
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His amends letter is about him, it's not about you. You don't have to "receive" the letter for him to benefit from the exercise. If this exercise harms you, however, you can and should opt out.
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:33 AM
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XXXs,

Well the letter may never arrive. At this moment you are future tripping over a letter not in your possession. This does give you time to leave it in your HP's pocket.

That sounds good above, but honestly I'd be totally future tripping too.

The letter basically has 3 possible messages:

honest amends worth reading for your own recovery
an honest amends that you should not read
an attempt to pull you back into the addict's world.

IF you receive this letter, you could decide to entrust it to someone helping you in your recovery. That way you would not be tempted to open it and could deal with it when you feel more at peace about it. Personally curiousity would get me and I would open it even if I knew it could hurt me. One approach could be to ask this person to read the letter on your behalf. Let them determine the nature of the letter. If it is a worthwhile amends, entrusted person asks you if you want to a) read the letter, b) further delay until you are ready or c) burn the letter but know it was positive in its nature. If it is not worthwhile, it is burnt by entrusted person and the amends is given over to the universe.

I am so glad to hear you are doing well. We so want to help the A that even now you probably want to do the 'right' thing. My first therapist told me she liked working with Codies because we were such nice people. Peace in your HEART and resolve to let your HP guide you in the right response IF you have to deal with this letter.
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:02 AM
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It's my understanding that restraining orders stay in place forever, least in my state it does unless it's only a temporary order.

The reality is, he's in jail being mandated to participate in AA, he didn't chose recovery it was forced on him, don't forget that.

His letter is all about him and what he has to do to work the steps. Your anxiety is all about you and your expectations.

Are YOU in a strong enough place to read it and not allow your emotions to take you down a road already traveled?
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by atalose View Post
Are YOU in a strong enough place to read it and not allow your emotions to take you down a road already traveled?
I thought I was, and now I doubt myself.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:13 AM
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Then don't read it. Remember curiosity killed the cat.

Either throw it out, write on it return to sender or hold on to it and let it eat you alive until you can't stand the obsession any longer and open it.

Personally I would write on it, return to sender. He'll get it back and know you didn't read it.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:25 AM
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Maybe your anxiety is a sign that you're just not ready to hear his amends?

If it were me, I'd accept the letter if it even arrives, and tuck it away somewhere until/if the day arrives when you feel no anxiety about it at all. I think it's at that point that you will be healthy enough and far enough along in your recovery to accept whatever is in the letter without it doing you any actual harm.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:35 AM
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I don't like to give advice but...

If it was me I think I would take the letter home without reading in and burn it or run it through a shredder. I think I would get some sort of emotional release from whatever bonds that held me by doing this. The strength to get the letter, the courage to not read it and then destroying it because it's not something I need for my recovery. My recovery comes from within, not from the letter's of alcoholic ex's.

Your friend,
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by atalose View Post

Personally I would write on it, return to sender. He'll get it back and know you didn't read it.
What's the point of that though? She provided the address, therefore accepting that it would be mailed to her. Shred it, read it, or whatever but mailing it back is passive aggressive imo.
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Old 02-17-2014, 01:51 PM
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XXXX-

I tend to get anxious when I have an expectation about something, especially and expectation involving another person.

I think the fact that you are getting support about how you are feeling is amazing, even if it has you tied in knots how you are feeling.

I just hope you can appreciate that.
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:08 PM
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Why is his MOM telling you about this?
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:11 PM
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Personally, if was me I would read it. I think you want to already because you agreed to accept it from his Mom. The wondering would make me nuts. But I wouldn't follow up on it with a response.
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:17 PM
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It is up to you to read it or not. However, if you respond you would be opening up a can of worms you may wish you did not.

Keep working on YOU, that is the most important thing!
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by XXXXXXXXXX View Post
the restraining order died months ago. It's one of the things making me anxious. At one point, he followed me. Taking my daughter to dance class or eating at Applebees with a friend could always turn into disaster. I guess I fear accepting communication because I don't want to go through that again.
Speaking as an alcoholic our amends are only to be made if they won't hurt someone else. In my opinion amends are to bring some kind of comfort to the hurt person or right a wrong, not cause them more distress or made just to make ourselves feel better.

Quite frankly I think he should know better than to communicate with you because of your history. He must know that is going to cause you some distress. This is just my opinion though and I could be totally off base.
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:19 PM
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I'm surprised that his mom would want to get in the middle of this.
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