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Amends - how do you know?

Old 03-07-2009, 09:01 AM
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Amends - how do you know?

I'm not sure where to post this so bear with me.

How do you know (or figure out) who you need to make amends to? This is something I've been thinking heavily about for a while and I just don't know the answer.

I lived in a bubble while my drinking was at its worst, and I was convinced that no one had any clue what was going on with me... so, by default, I was hurting no one but myself. I've since learned that that is far from the truth. When I look back on people, relationships, things gone wrong over the past 2 - 2 1/2 years I now question whether or not my alcoholic behavior played a part in those things, even though at the time I would have SWORN it didn't.

So how do I know?

And if I decide to err on the side of caution and apologize to someone for something that went sour - regardless of alcohol - how much explaining do I have to do? I mean, I don't want to sound like a loony tune freak who doesn't remember the past 2 years by saying, "I don't THINK I was drunk when we had that fight but to be honest I don't know so... either way, I want you to know I'm sorry." That doesn't seem right to me.

Bah. Sorry if this is confusing.
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:25 AM
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I think if there is something you want to apologize for just do it. Whether it was because of alcohol or not should have no bearing on it.
If you had a fight with someone and you think you owe them an apology apologize. It is possible they won't even remember the incident.
The mean things that you did that you can't remember are a little trickier.
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:29 AM
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Unfortunately the only person I was ever MEAN to while drunk was my husband. At least that's what he's said, and a couple other people have confirmed. I've been told I was sickeningly sweet to everyone but him... *sigh*

But there are one or two people I feel I probably owe an apology to, I just honestly don't know if my behavior with them was influenced by my drinking or not. I CAN say that my actions with these two people were totally uncharacteristic of me and how I usually behave.
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Fubarcdn View Post
If you had a fight with someone and you think you owe them an apology apologize.
After reading through this again, I think this is what it all boils down to. Thank you, Fubar.
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:38 AM
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I am a little confused TSH.
If you think you have wronged these two other people don't you think an apology is in order regardless?
If this is part of some program you are doing I can see what you are trying to figure out.
Do you really feel remorse from the incidents with these people?
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Fubarcdn View Post
Do you really feel remorse from the incidents with these people?
Yes. I do feel remorse about how things went with 2 people in my life (outside of my marriage).

At the time of the incidents (intense conversations, one pretty big fight) I apologized. With both people, I believe that things are "okay" and I believe that they accepted the apology that I gave them at the time of the disagreements. However, now that I've been sober for a while and I'm starting to understand the impact that things I said while drunk had on other people, I'm feeling new remorse and guilt and am wondering if I need to go back NOW - with a clearer mindset and a more humble heart - and acknowledge that my wrongdoing was probably greater than I was willing to admit at the time.

I'm confident that the people remember these times, I'm just pretty sure that they both consider the matters old history that's already been taken care of. So at this point am I supposed to make amends to THEM or ask MYSELF for forgiveness?

Does that make sense?
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:46 AM
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That makes perfect sense TSH.

Humanist step 9.We shall do all we can to make amends, in any way that will not cause further harm.

If it is a step program you are doing, and this step appears to be exactly the same as AA step nine. I would say that the only reason to rehash a past situation is if there is some kind of benifit to the wounded party. If you think that another more heartfelt apology will make them feel better go ahead but if it will just bring up past pain to them and make it worse then don't.
After having decided that it is time to forgive yourself and let it go.

I hope this helps a bit. I also did the amends step right after quitting because I thought it was a very important step. Like you the one I hurt the most was my spouse and to a lot lesser extent my kids.
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:53 AM
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I don't do the amends thing. I was always a polite doper.
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:55 AM
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It does help. Thank you very much.

I have a very hard time forgiving myself. I'm not sure I even know how to do it.
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Old 03-07-2009, 11:17 AM
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The first few times I worked my 9th Step, I thought that the only reasons for making amends was to ask for forgiveness of the person who I felt I had harmed.

Then one time it hit me like a ton of bricks. . . I needed to forgive myself for these things. I needed to make amends to myself. If I didn't, I would carry this around with me forever and that 'ol sack of sh*t that I carried with me was a heavy burden to bear.

I think every situation in my past where I felt I needed to make amends did center around my using. No, I may not have always been drunk or high when I said or did these things, but the disease had controlled every bit of my thoughts and behaviors so they were a result of my addiction.

How did I make amends to myself? I do it everyday by staying clean and sober, by doing the right thing. Once I had begun to forgive myself, to Let Go and Let God, I had begun to feel a sense of inner peace.

Feel free to PM me if you like, I'm always here,
Love,
Judy
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:15 PM
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fubar...I sure wish you went to the meetings i go to (hug)

i've made gratitude a part aof my amends....being sure to thank the person for what they have done for me...

I will applogize a second time if i see more and i don't think they will be harmed by it..usually try to keep it light for most as it seems to be more helpful to them that way...but serious if need be....by light i mean don't make a huge production out of it.
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Old 03-07-2009, 01:12 PM
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Make a list of everyone you have harmed. These are the people to make amends to.

By the way, an apology is not always the same as an amends. An amends usually includes an apology but in many cases it is not enough.

Did you steal money? Pay it back. Bad mouth someone to a 3rd party? Call the 3rd party and set the record straight. Eff up at work? As your employer/ex employer how you can make things right/
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:46 PM
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Good topic TryingSoHard. I tried to make amends to my family and they didn't want to hear no apologies and stuff. They said: just stay sober/clean because I'm rather pleasant, polite and friendly to be around that way. As for my friends...well they kinda had the mind set if something was done drunk or high an amend the next day would set things right. Yea I let a lot go the next day and I'm talking having my car stolen and wrecked kinda stuff too. I guess that beings me to the 'door mat' I was high or not. No brash high-fluting alpha male egotist me. As for the rest...I do the next right thing, practice some tolerance and understanding...and letting go...lots and lots of letting go, especially the past.


"There is no past that we can bring back by longing for it. There is only an eternally new now that builds and creates itself out of the best as the past withdraws."
-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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Old 03-09-2009, 08:26 PM
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Did you join AA while I wasn't looking TSH?
If not, I figure an amends is whatever you want it to mean.

I like Fubar's take on this a lot

I would say that the only reason to rehash a past situation is if there is some kind of benifit to the wounded party. If you think that another more heartfelt apology will make them feel better go ahead but if it will just bring up past pain to them and make it worse then don't.
After having decided that it is time to forgive yourself and let it go.
Sounds to me like its the last bit that you're mostly struggling with.

If you've made an apology already, I'd look carefully at another one. If you're apologising more fully and honestly I get it...as long as it meets Fubars criteria...cool.

If you're kinda apologising for being alcoholic tho, that's fairly useless guilt territory IMO.

I'm not giving you a hard time.
I found, and still find, forgiving myself impossibly hard too.

I've made all the apologies I think I can...beyond that I try to atone for my past actions
by simply doing right - not merely to the people I've wronged but the world at large.

I try not to do the same kinds of things again (which is easier to do if I'm sober but I can still miss my mark at times)....

and I draw a line in the sand with the things I can't change or influence, because worrying about things like that is wasted energy that I'm better off putting into the universal atonement thing

that's how I see it. But I do have migraine LOL
D
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Old 03-09-2009, 10:43 PM
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To those I might've harmed when I was stumbling, mumbling and/or passed out on the floor.......I'm sorry already !!! Dang !!
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Old 03-09-2009, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by windysan View Post
To those I might've harmed when I was stumbling, mumbling and/or passed out on the floor.......I'm sorry already !!! Dang !!
I might have to re-tile a few floors with all the vomit and stuff...yea thats is going to cost me a few buck(ets)...LOL.
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:34 AM
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Why not post this excellent question in the 12 step forum and get some advice and feedback from people who've gone through the process?
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:55 AM
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TSH...It may be hard to believe but even people who don't work the 12 steps do make attempts at clearing away the wreckage of their past. I think each person has an intuition about who needs an amends...an apology is never a bad thing...the most solid one is followed by NOT repeating the same behavior. I agree with Dee forgiving yourself is paramount.
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by paulmh View Post
Why not post this excellent question in the 12 step forum and get some advice and feedback from people who've gone through the process?
Lots of people go through the amends process without being members of AA...I dare say most people I know, alchoholic/addict or not, practice this in some form or another and have vast amounts of valuable expereince on how the process works in their lives.

I got real tangled up trying to "do ammends" because i thought i had to follow a specific formula with no deviation. I find that each amends is unique..I hve many left to do and have done many as well.

I have to make an amends based on the situation, and the other people involved as well as me. Alot of recovery people around me were beating me up with the it's not an appology thing....well...I knew from my perspective that what benifited me the most in my most mangled relationship of the past was that the person said they were sorry....huge huge thing...so after attempting to do the deal as "I did this" and "I was wrong" and having people react fairly puzzled and not much healed...I went to the form that is true to my heart and where I am....

amends for me is a process, not a goal to finish or a rulebook to follow. It is about compasion toward myself and others.....ok windy heres the barf bag
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:42 AM
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I agree with Nands. AA certainly doesn't have a monopoly on amends

I found it necessary to make things right with lots of people - for no other reason that it felt the right thing to do....and if I learnt something in my recovery, it was that it was ok to trust my intuition, when I was working towards something other than being drunk.

sometimes it was an apology, sometimes it was action, sometimes it was just something *shared*.

I dunno how they do it in AA but every relationship I have is unique in some way - it makes sense to me, like Nands says, to make an amends in a way that's meaningful to both parties, cos it's for the both of us

D

Last edited by Dee74; 03-10-2009 at 05:01 AM.
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