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Old 04-24-2017, 07:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Dealing with credibility issues


So I wanted to post about this because it's still something I deal with even though people close to me know I'm in recovery and doing everything I can to get well.

I've had many a ridiculous scenario arise as a result of my drinking. Unfortunately many of them were public and although most people are supportive and forgiving, sometimes I feel like that's the one cheap shot that can always be thrown at me and it completely silences and shames me. I take responsibility for my bad behavior and don't expect 100% patience from everyone; I was a nightmare drinker, blacking out all the time and ruining people's nights, making friends and family worry constantly etc.

How do you all deal with things following you around that you feel are impossible to atone for? Some things I don't even remember... Nor do I want to.
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Old 04-24-2017, 07:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Can't tell from own experiences cause most of my drinking was hidden from the outside world and after my early twenties I'd never get drunk to the point where I couldn't act decent anymore or blacked out.

But I think time will help. Most people might still remember the 'old you' but once you've been sober for a while they will probably start to accept the 'new, sober you', take you more seriously and trust you again
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Old 04-24-2017, 08:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi, Vigilance. I was an at home drinker as well, so can't really speak to public stuff.
I guess I would say that some people will hold on to the memories of your shenanigans and judge. Some people feel better about themselves by judging others.
But....there are others who don't judge, who accept that the past is another country, and look at you as you now are.
I would seek out the latter group as much as possible.
It's good for your sobriety.
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Old 04-24-2017, 08:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thankfully, I mostly kept my drinking to myself, so I didn't have many embarrassing moments. But there were some. What I did was adopt this mantra: My addiction led to some bad acts, and I take full responsibility for the consequences of those acts, no matter how difficult those consequences are; but, while taking full responsibility for my actions, I will not allow myself to live in shame of acts committed under the influence of my addiction. In other words, take responsibility but let go of the guilt and shame. You don't need to advertise this approach to others, but if you spend your life feeling shameful for things you did in the past, it is really difficult to move forward. You have to take responsibility - and that is what you are doing - but you can do that without feeling shame and guilt.
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Old 04-24-2017, 08:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I just say 'yep I did that'. Mind- my ddestruction was so severe, so complete there was NO point in denying it. Your feelings say what you feel about yourself. Cheap remarks from others? Words only hurt if you let them. Easier said than done- but if such people want to be that petty when you are sincerely trying- they are not worth the effort of your reactions. Empathy and support to you. PJ
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I just say 'yep I did that'. Mind- my ddestruction was so severe, so complete there was NO point in denying it.
here, too. and usually add

my behavior was unacceptable back then and im very glad that im not that man any more.
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I used the 12-step program to work through that stuff with an AA sponsor who'd walked that path before me, both herself and to accompany lots of other alcoholics in recovery. AA is not for stopping drinking, it's for learning how to Live Sober, and deal with all that kind of stuff. Why not take a look into the program if you haven't had a chance to investigate it yet?

It takes a while for people to start to want to put their trust in us again though. And rightly so to be honest. They have every right to protect themselves from becoming collateral damage again. And plenty of them would have heard our 'I'm cleaning my act up' stories before. Once we accept our part in things it becomes easier not to feel so affronted or heart broken by their lack of trust in us.

Give it time, eh.

Wishing you all the best for your sobriety and recovery. BB
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Old 04-24-2017, 03:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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here, too. and usually add

my behavior was unacceptable back then and im very glad that im not that man any more.
I'm very much the same.

I'm a dedicated AA-er so I believe in making amends (for the past, and per the Big Book's directives/suggestions as to how) and in Step 10, which is living in a state where ongoing amends are made quickly and as needed. I try my best to live on my side of the street, which is honest, upstanding, giving and credible now. There's a phrase in the BB I really like - "we should not regret the past nor shut the door on it" (paraphrase 4th ed) - it also talks about how we are not meant to ceaselessly apologize or be demoralized (by our self talk or what others do or say) by our mistakes and past behavior.

My life is completely different than it was during my active and SEVERE alcoholism. Some people are lost to me permanently, and I know I will come across some who have whatever opinions about me they have, good or very bad - I can't control that, just my (non) reaction to it.

Honestly, by living my program, I really don't care what people think or say - that's their business. Mine is living a great sober life.
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Old 04-24-2017, 08:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
 

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Originally Posted by VigilanceNow
How do you all deal with things following you around that you feel are impossible to atone for?
I do it by remaining abstinent. As was already mentioned, people forget after awhile. I also do what tomsteve and Phoenix said. I acknowledge it as truth. I mean there's no denying I did some pretty sh*tty stuff. You can't unring a bell, but you can live differently. You can't right drunken wrongs already committed, but you can stop further drunken wrongs by remaining abstinent. That's the only way I know how to atone.
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Old 04-24-2017, 08:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think that owning up to mistakes goes a long way to regaining respect. We may never earn back the trust of those we've hurt, but we may not deserve it (and we may not actually benefit from getting it back). I have taught people what to expect from me. They would be wise to remember.
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Old 04-24-2017, 09:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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How do you all deal with things following you around that you feel are impossible to atone for? Some things I don't even remember... Nor do I want to.
Other than not drinking, you do the only thing that is available to you and that is to learn and to practise* great compassion and forgiveness toward yourself.

In other words, you learn to love yourself. You are worth it, you're definitely worth it.

*It won't come naturally, that's why you have to practise. :-)
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:03 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I was mostly a home drinker as well (kids and so I was stuck at home with the bottle). I managed to make them hate me, so I am still dealing with that. I wish friends hated me instead.

When I did go out, I did manage to make a fool of myself. No big fights or anything (except with the husband) more of nonsense and since I was sipping out of my purse on the sly, I'd managed to appear wasted off of a few bottle of beer. That was eyebrow raising for a few, but what did I care.

My husband, a very down to earth and lowkey man, was embarrassed and his friends began to distance themselves from couple activities.

One of the worst things I ever did, and I think about it every day, was tell some mutual friends things my husband had said about them and their looks. Of all immature things. yes, he did say those things, but that hurt them more than him. These were the people who helped me through this awful time. I was wasted, my husband had tried to appeal to them to counsel me into some sense while I was wasted, and I was so mad at him that I wanted to show them how awful he was. In the process, I showed how immature and awful I was. I don't even remember doing it, just reading the message when I awoke from a drunk stupor. A few days later, I was in intensive care, but no excuses.

I cannot forget this or forgive myself. I can forget and forgive other things, even what I did to my own family. I can forget the dumb acts, the drunk appearance, or even the fact that people distanced themselves. Don't really care. But, my big, drunk mouth, and saying that to them is one of the lowest things I've ever done. When I think about it, I want to die. So, yeah, the misery, embarrassment, and utter shame sucks.
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:06 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I do it by remaining abstinent. As was already mentioned, people forget after awhile. I also do what tomsteve and Phoenix said. I acknowledge it as truth. I mean there's no denying I did some pretty sh*tty stuff. You can't unring a bell, but you can live differently. You can't right drunken wrongs already committed, but you can stop further drunken wrongs by remaining abstinent. That's the only way I know how to atone.
In my situation, I've thought about writing a heartfelt note. But every time I go over it in my mind, it comes down to me making excuses for the most awful, immoral behavior, so I don't write the note because I know in the first line, I would be making excuses as to why. I guess there was an excuse, but who cares. I messed up.
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
 

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Originally Posted by notgonnastoptry
In my situation, I've thought about writing a heartfelt note. But every time I go over it in my mind, it comes down to me making excuses for the most awful, immoral behavior, so I don't write the note because I know in the first line, I would be making excuses as to why. I guess there was an excuse, but who cares. I messed up.
I hear ya! I have felt the same way. I actually didn't know what I did much of the time because I blacked out a lot, but I was responsible for it nonetheless because I know that drinking causes it. I couldn't control my actions under the influence, but it was getting under the influence that was completely my doing. So, yeah.
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I made amends for everything I could - when the time was right.

Sometimes that, and a little time, and an obvious real change in me, resulted in reconciliation and sometimes not, but thats not really the point of amends anyway.

For those things I couldn't make amends for I made a kind of luivung amends - being here is part of that.

For those few who couldn't or wouldn't stop the cheap shots - it's your call as to when thats warranted or not.

Eventually I had to lose some people from my life because they were stuck with who I had been, and not with who I was trying to become.,

D
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Old 04-25-2017, 04:35 AM   #16 (permalink)
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In my situation, I've thought about writing a heartfelt note. But every time I go over it in my mind, it comes down to me making excuses for the most awful, immoral behavior, so I don't write the note because I know in the first line, I would be making excuses as to why. I guess there was an excuse, but who cares. I messed up.
This is something that AA's step 4 then step 9 are invaluable for IME. Getting me to focus ONLY on my part of it as I made my inventories then amends was sometimes tough- still is- and as the book says there are some amends better not made. Getting away from the "I"/ego - ie, what was done TO me, what I DIDN'T get, etc- and focusing only on my side of the street is something I work on in every amends/apology situation. And....I cannot control anything but that part, or worry about someone's reaction or receptivity to my efforts. It is very freeing to take my responsibility and let the rest go.
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Old 04-25-2017, 01:26 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I hear ya! I have felt the same way. I actually didn't know what I did much of the time because I blacked out a lot, but I was responsible for it nonetheless because I know that drinking causes it. I couldn't control my actions under the influence, but it was getting under the influence that was completely my doing. So, yeah.
I think I was "browned out" when I wrote them the message through FB. These are superb folks and some of the few people who didn't take sides, counseled us wisely, and are generally upstanding people. I sort of remember thinking about doing it, telling myself it was way too low because it would insult them, and then passing out. I remember so little about those last days before getting put in the hospital. When I read it the next morning (I was drinking around the clock, so I guess I was partially sober and just not as wasted as usual) and even then, in my drunkeness (hang overs? that didn't happen at the end stage), I was mortified. I quickly apologized. They ignored me.

We've been back in contact on very formal, polite terms. I know they hate me. I didn't even mention I'd gone into the hospital because I don't think I deserve to make an excuse, even to myself. It was so very low of me. I can't apologize because it would involve saying why I did this, and I don't need to make excuses. It was just wrong and that needs to go done in history as egregious and what it was.

Besides all the physical b.s., I have very deep personal scars from all of this and some of it will never be repaired.
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Old 04-25-2017, 01:32 PM   #18 (permalink)
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This is something that AA's step 4 then step 9 are invaluable for IME. Getting me to focus ONLY on my part of it as I made my inventories then amends was sometimes tough- still is- and as the book says there are some amends better not made. Getting away from the "I"/ego - ie, what was done TO me, what I DIDN'T get, etc- and focusing only on my side of the street is something I work on in every amends/apology situation. And....I cannot control anything but that part, or worry about someone's reaction or receptivity to my efforts. It is very freeing to take my responsibility and let the rest go.

Yes, I've claimed my responsibility for this. Even in the end stages of my disease (right before the hospital), I knew I had been deadly mistaken and I really regret it. See above post.

I won't write an apology, because as you've said, it would be focusing on what happened to me. No matter how eloquence and subtle it was, it would ultimately read as, "Hey, I'm sorry I did that. I was drunk off my a, and please forgive me".

No, thanks. They do deserve an apology, but I'm more comfortable with them disliking me and thinking lowly of me. Those actions were the lowest of the low, I kicked them in a after all they've done, and the last thing I want to feel is forgiven. No, I have to live with what I've done.

I did apologize once or twice after I'd written and after the hospital, but I never attribute it to alcohol. They knew I'd been in the hospital because they dropped a line, saying they hoped all was going well (I disappeared for a few months). I can't bring myself to connect the drunkenness and doing that. It's not fair. I made those bad choices. End of story.
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Old 04-25-2017, 01:45 PM   #19 (permalink)
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So I wanted to post about this because it's still something I deal with even though people close to me know I'm in recovery and doing everything I can to get well.

I've had many a ridiculous scenario arise as a result of my drinking. Unfortunately many of them were public and although most people are supportive and forgiving, sometimes I feel like that's the one cheap shot that can always be thrown at me and it completely silences and shames me. I take responsibility for my bad behavior and don't expect 100% patience from everyone; I was a nightmare drinker, blacking out all the time and ruining people's nights, making friends and family worry constantly etc.

How do you all deal with things following you around that you feel are impossible to atone for? Some things I don't even remember... Nor do I want to.
I felt a LOT of guilt when I first got sober because of things like this. Things I put other people and myself through I thought were unforgivable. I lived in a world of depression and the primary feeling was guilt for who I was and what I had done.
Time in the program and working the steps, especially the fourth and fifth for me WILL lessen this guilt. I learned that thinking of all the things I had done was ultimately a selfish act - I was still thinking about myself, as always. Forgive yourself, and if possible surround yourself with people who forgive you and understand that you are working towards a path of recovery. Best wishes!
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Old 04-25-2017, 04:06 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I'm over 3 years sober.

Did some really godawful things in my drinking days.

Now I don't.

I don't find I have any credibility issues.

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