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Lidig8r

I am the Spouse/SO of an Alcoholic (and other dysfunctions)

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At the inception of the prior thread I was a spouse and now ex-spouse.  The 3 C’s were a huge help in my escaping my hostage situation and my son and I are both doing great. 

PS: props to BS for his perspective on the situation from the other side of the equation. 

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Here... for the codep part of the experience. Still haven’t made it to an ACOA meeting.

 

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Still here.  Still checking in regularly.  There's been some significant updates, but I haven't had time to post them.  Hopefully I'll be able set aside the time to post them soon.

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14 hours ago, Call said:

The 3 C’s were a huge help in my escaping my hostage situation and my son and I are both doing great.

This, and the statement "Allow her the dignity of experiencing the consequences of her actions." have been bedrocks to my recovery and to my ability to begin to live my life again.

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So, checking in on this thread again.  Felt it was better here than on the divorce thread.

So, yesterday we had a meeting with our kids' teacher and the intervention specialists.  Backstory is my daughter was officially diagnosed with ADHD, and we put her on the appropriate meds, with some astounding results, but the meeting was to go over the plan to assist my daughter for the remainder of her time in grade school.

So, ex doesn't show up on time, no real surprise, and upon calling, she tells me she was going to be there soon, but was wrapped up in trying to take care of some other addict who'd apparently gone off the rails and was suicidal.  I had a weird reaction of being annoyed at her (continued) inability to meet schedules, anger that this other person (who was not a close friend, or so I'm told) apparently held more importance to her than her own flesh and blood did, and indifference/detachment due to this being really just a continuation of a long established state of affairs.  I know it seems a bit contradictory to have the indifference/detachment and the anger/annoyance coexisting, but it really did happen simultaneously.

She did show up 20 minutes into the meeting.  And was able to get caught up.  At the end, she made a point of letting everyone know that her taking care of the suicidal person was what she had to do as part of step 12 for her.  This was somewhat eye-rolling for me, as it came off entirely as bragging/showing off.  But it did get me to thinking.  I know that the 12 steps rarely occur in sequence, but I still think it's a bit unusual that she's going to step 12 this soon, and that no one, or at least no one I know in our mutual group of acquaintances, has received any kind of communication that would resemble step 9.

Frankly, I'm at a point where I quite honestly expect that I will never receive any attempts at amends.  I think it would sincerely surprise the hell out of me to do so.  Has anyone else received any attempt at step 9 from their ex?

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From the other side:

Helping out other alcoholics, in my opinion, should begin almost immediately. Small gradual steps though such as cleaning up or calling people. Being there as a helping hand for someone that is sick and suffering is not that hard or complicated, and it's not something that you graduate into. It keeps us sober.

In my own life experience, expectations and working out things in my own head of how they should be have been my dilemma. All expectations do is give someone else the control of my own feelings.

Respect, courtesy, punctuality are social norms that you should be treated to in your relationship with your Ex. If doing a 9th step can do more harm than good, then now may not be the right time. Or she could just be doing it all wrong. So what? Not your journey. Be a light and helping hand to the extent that it does not harm you or your daughter.

(slinks off to the other thread)

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Coexisting emotions of both detachment and another emotion like frustration or irritation make perfect sense. I had that the other day with mine.

And on amends - you have to be prepared to never receive it because well you may never get it and if you do that’s the place you need to be in order to be gracious (and detached) when you do.

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3 hours ago, JohnnyRage said:

Helping out other alcoholics, in my opinion, should begin almost immediately. Small gradual steps though such as cleaning up or calling people. Being there as a helping hand for someone that is sick and suffering is not that hard or complicated, and it's not something that you graduate into. It keeps us sober.

Believe it or not, I'm all for this.  I really am.  What I was was annoyed/irked that this other person, even though they were possibly in more immediate danger, took more precedence that her daughter did.

3 hours ago, JohnnyRage said:

All expectations do is give someone else the control of my own feelings.

Definitely an area I struggle with.

3 hours ago, JohnnyRage said:

Be a light and helping hand to the extent that it does not harm you or your daughter.

If you're talking about being that to the ex, I can't do that any more.  I tried to be that for her for 8+ years.  And I'm afraid that well has run dry/been sucked dry/has been poisoned.  No longer my circus or my monkeys. I can now only be that for my daughter. 

 

34 minutes ago, troph said:

you have to be prepared to never receive it because well you may never get it and if you do that’s the place you need to be in order to be gracious (and detached) when you do.

This is the place I've partially gotten to.  I absolutely do not expect it. I don't know at this point if I could be gracious if amends were attempted.

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This is the place I've partially gotten to.  I absolutely do not expect it. I don't know at this point if I could be gracious if amends were attempted.

 

My ex and I will never see eye to eye. She cheated on me with the best excuse a spouse could have but she was not honest and then when she refused to compromise with me and I had to leave she wanted to take my kids from me and force me into indentured servitude, and still treats me as an enemy. Conversely, I offered her surly 1% and a license to fuck whoever she wanted as long as she kept it hidden from me (and I wasn’t going to go looking) and that wasn’t enough so I left, I offered her six figures (per year) in a child support and alimony offer and she and her lawyer called it “bullshit” and she screamed at me “that’s not enough” and so when I finally decided it was time to call it quits it was when trying to be friends she acted put out by my request for a regular coffee get together and had the audacity to ask me to help her “triple her passive income over the next 5 years” all the while she insulted me to my face in these attempts ... called me controlling, difficult, all kinds of shit that truth be told on my bad days can be true but have no place in a coffee get together like that. And all of that isn’t alcoholic but it sure is codependent where her BS is my fault, much like the alcoholic/spouse dynamic. And so when I finally said this is broken beyond repair my best friend and well into her program of 15 years recovery and my therapist said,

 

“you’ve got to get to a place where her seeing her faults doesn’t matter to you and isn’t something you need”

 

I’m getting much closer, much much closer and having gratitude for being done with her and detaching not so much with love but certainly compassion has helped a ton. At this point I don’t want her coming to me but if she did I would handle it well I think and I wouldn’t change how I (don’t) interact with her one bit.

 

And yet the few times we do cross paths I do get my wires crossed so being detached and irritated at the same time is totally normal. Happens most times I cross her path which shows me I’m not there yet either - at least not in her presence.

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9 hours ago, Buffsoldier said:

 

Frankly, I'm at a point where I quite honestly expect that I will never receive any attempts at amends.  I think it would sincerely surprise the hell out of me to do so.  Has anyone else received any attempt at step 9 from their ex?

I was just thinking about this the other day.  I know you and I went through this same shit at around the same time (I was stuckinmn over there) and we did a few private messages on the subject.

I wouldn't go holding your breath on that 9th step.  It ain't gonna happen and if it does it's not gonna be the full acceptance and apology you want.  

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Hey Buff- have you considered that your ex helped the other woman, not because she placed her needs above your daughter’s needs, but rather that she knew your daughter was in good hands?

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Now that's a damn good point of view. Not sure I can give her that kind of credit, but I do like that idea. I'll try to consider that angle going forward, at least as far as this incident goes. 

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Good conversation.

Buff, if your wife is staying continuously sober then you might want to "accept" her continued and very annoying/awkward attempts to do the right thing as what we call a living amend, done over time. She may never ever specifically address this, because quite frankly it might never occur to her that this is what she's actually doing.

Also 9th step amends are for the alcoholic, not the person the amends are being made to.  It's so we alcoholics can live with our past transgressions and move forward confidently, feeling equal to those whom we used to feel less than.  It's called sweeping our side of the street, and quite frankly it doesn't matter if an amend is accepted by the person we had harmed.  My ex wife didn't accept my 9th step amends, and never will. And it's absolutely none of my business.

People behave how they are equipped to behave. I believe that 100%.

If she's actually living the 12 steps then it might behoove you to read the big book to gain her perspective.  Bill Wilson actually had a drunk whom he was trying to help commit suicide in his house.  Also there is a page that I believe can help anyone - alcoholic or Al Anon (that's you, buddy, whether you admit it or not) page 417.  It's in a story called "Acceptance is the answer".  Also you should read the chapter "to wives" just swap the roles.

In early sobriety, I probably would have been a lot more "omg she's gonna kill herself I have to help her." At some point, a sponsor realizes they are powerless over their sponsees and says things like "this too shall pass, you're considering a permanent solution to a temporary problem, sit on your fucking hands and pray the serenity prayer and hang tight, I have a family commitment that I need to take care of and then I'll be available to you."

Shit, if she's staying continuously sober that in and of itself is a miracle that is not to be discounted.  Alcoholics are sick people.

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That’s a flawed perspective - if your behavior fucked someone up you need to make amends for both sides of the street IMO. Doing it for yourself is well selfish. Yes you can’t control what someone does with it but it should be a gift to the wronged first not a release for the wrongdoer first.

 

That said not a chance I’d wait for or expect it. Do your business and move on. She’s deeply flawed and you probably are to and your relationship was probs even worse. No sense in staying in the relationship which is what this mind set does.

 

And I say this with more ex BS today that I don’t even care to discuss it’s so stupid and micro-harms to our kids. It’s just asinine.

 

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Spoiler
2 hours ago, troph said:

That’s a flawed perspective - if your behavior fucked someone up you need to make amends for both sides of the street IMO. Doing it for yourself is well selfish. Yes you can’t control what someone does with it but it should be a gift to the wronged first not a release for the wrongdoer first.

 

The 9th Step, like all of the other steps, are to keep us sober - nothing else. We must come from an honest and spiritually guided place, and we are not allowed to cause harm. We ask how we can make the transgression whole. What the recipient does with it is theirs.

I've only dabbled in the 9th step, so ignore me.

 

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To update a bit and to show that reality sometimes is stranger than fiction.  After my daughter died in October 2016, I have gone on this "crusade" against all of the dysfunctionality in the eating disorder industry. And in one year, I have been able to work my way to the top, working behind the scenes, helping organize university and non-profit centers into a collaborative force and meeting politicians on a state and federal level.

In the meantime, The Sequel, Ex-Mrs. Lid the Second, has found sobriety [allegedly], has a good job in the HR department of a large corporation, remarried and now ... I am representing her and her new husband in a lawsuit.

I should never have married the Sequel to begin with.

Sometimes you just have to get out of the way of Fate, Karma, Destiny or Whatever Moves the Universe, keep your eyes and heart open and your path finds you.

Not much in the way of answers, but sometimes, it is what it is.

I hope you find peace and serenity Buff.

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Spoiler The 9th Step, like all of the other steps, are to keep us sober - nothing else. We must come from an honest and spiritually guided place, and we are not allowed to cause harm. We ask how we can make the transgression whole. What the recipient does with it is theirs. I've only dabbled in the 9th step, so ignore me.  

 

 

Well I’m not here to talk about the 9th step from the alcoholics perspective but I applaud the move of being sober it’s got to be hella tough sometimes. This thread is predominately about alcoholic relationships from the other side - but the title says and other dysfunctions and at the heart of alcoholic relationships is codependency. And I’m tired of the other side doing shit that’s all about them. Get sober and in my situation get whatever but don’t come to me to make amends for your benefit, do it for the person you hurt. 

When I was a young man I was quick to anger. I didn’t do the hard work to make that right until much later. When I was a young man, I didn’t come clean with my young wife that I was transgender. I didn’t do that because I was in denial, but I knew. I did come clean at the five year mark and before we had kids and we lasted 20 so I don’t believe the consequences of three kids and a half of a life together were my responsibility entirely. So with that said...

 

I’ll give you a 9th step.... when our relationship was in a death spiral but we were still trying to make it work, I wanted to make sure I gave her a few things that I felt she deserved. I told her I didn’t give her my best early on with the anger. I said I could have done more and I’m sorry and I would give anything to go back with what I know now. I also told her that if we get divorced I don’t blame her for not being able to do this, even though I told her long ago, she didn’t know when we got together and she didn’t know what it really meant until I reached the finish line so to speak. I told her that any guilt on that wasn’t hers to carry and that she should go and live her life knowing it’s ok.

 

I felt like shit when I said it, but she sincerely thanked me and well - less than 3-4 months later we were separated. I got jack shit out of that except whatever ancillary benefit I got from being a responsible and accountable adult. She’s an asshole now. She did whatever she wanted with that gift and it’s hers to enjoy and spend as she wants. No issue.

 

Maybe that’s what y’all mean, maybe it isn’t but I will say this - I did that to be good to her, to love her, not for any selfish reason. It could have been a moment of reciprocity but it wasn’t. It was always my fault so you know I wasn’t that surprised.

 

I don’t know about AA like y’all do, but I am tired of my co parenting relationship with her being one sided and always about what a dick I am, or what I took from her and how she’s going to write me out of our kids lives because of it. Life isn’t about you most of the time. And this time it’s about our kids so knock it off.

 

If you aren’t going to make amends so the person you royally hurt can have some closure and some decent sense of feeling reassured it wasn’t their fault then it’s not useful for the other person.

 

If I’m projecting my hurts on to your 9th steps I’m sorry.

 

 

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Hey Buff- have you considered that your ex helped the other woman, not because she placed her needs above your daughter’s needs, but rather that she knew your daughter was in good hands?

This is detach with love / assume the best in others executed to perfection.

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6 hours ago, troph said:

That’s a flawed perspective - if your behavior fucked someone up you need to make amends for both sides of the street IMO. Doing it for yourself is well selfish. Yes you can’t control what someone does with it but it should be a gift to the wronged first not a release for the wrongdoer first.

 

That said not a chance I’d wait for or expect it. Do your business and move on. She’s deeply flawed and you probably are to and your relationship was probs even worse. No sense in staying in the relationship which is what this mind set does.

 

And I say this with more ex BS today that I don’t even care to discuss it’s so stupid and micro-harms to our kids. It’s just asinine.

 

You're both right.  From the AA perspective, you do what you can control, and that is make a sincere amend, and you completely abandon any notion of control over its reception.  We as alcoholics have severe problems with control, and to concern the amend with its reception sets up all kinds of excuses and negative emotions that can be disastrous for the young drunk.  So the idea that we can't control whether the recipient of the amend accepts it kind of overwhelms any idea that they may benefit from the apology or that it serves them any purpose.  So it's kind of a psych-out game for the stepper.

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Twice nailed it, it has nothing at all to do with wishing the best for the other person, and everything to do with control and trying to play God.

Troph, ideally one would be able to make amends beneficial to the aggrieved party. My mom accepted my amends to her. So did my dad and the rest of my relatives. The IRS accepted my financial amends.

My BPD ex wife told me she would never forgive me and told me, at 7 years sober that she hoped I got drunk when I had the audacity to bring my girlfriend of 6 years to my son's high school graduation.

She's a crazy bitch, and it takes 2 to tango. We will never be able to reconcile what happened. She does not know how to forgive - it isn't in her nor her family's DNA. Her own mother who is 87 years old outlined in startling and disturbing detail her own resentments against high school classmates 60 years prior. So yeah, I made amends, and it's absolutely none of my business if she accepts them. I'm moving on. God wants me to live happy, joyous and free.

I treat her with respect but I'll be damned if I'm going to let her affect my serenity anymore. I'm incapable of living to her expectations so any attempt is futile and isn't fair to me. I came to this realization when she spent 2 hours on the phone raging at me because I would not acquiesce to her completely unreasonable and childish demands. That Tuesday several years ago was a liberating catharsis.

At the end of the day alcoholics measure progress, not perfection.

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Her own mother who is 87 years old outlined in startling and disturbing detail her own resentments against high school classmates 60 years prior.

 

How many times did she flunk?

 

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Man this continues to really bother me. This is the thread for the other side of the issue and the alcoholics are all up in here telling it like it is. And I’m not asking you to stop just making an observation.

I love y’all, and frankly there are days I want to quit this board and y’all and your thread are sometimes the reason I don’t that day. Anyone that gets up and fights to be a better human is my kinda person. I’m very serious about that. But damn when y’all are in your shit you’re in it.

Do your step 9, but if you step up to do it and it’s about you then you’re doing it wrong.

I’m not talking about control or how it’s received or the emotional posture of the other or how they respond or any of that. And you might get a benefit for making amends but I don’t want anyone coming to me to make amends for their benefit. Do it to make things right because you fucking hurt me and caused a shit ton of turmoil and trauma or don’t.

Maybe I’m not seeing it clearly but if my dad came to me to make amends the way y’all are talking or if my ex did, I’d be gracious but it would do nothing to change the situation. And I would be relieved the moment they left the room. If the step that’s about making shit right with others is really about you then that’s a flawed perspective.

Shit I’ve never in my life thought an apology, request for forgiveness and an offer of genuine repentance was about me, I’ve always thought it about the other person and to a lesser extent about the relationship. And when someone that’s wronged me does it from this perspective - selfless and here to make my shit that was introduced to me by their shit easier, then we really might have something.

And to put my money where my mouth is I received an apology text tonight from someone that was a total bitchpecker to me early on when I was hooking up with my girlfriend. Remains to be seen if that apology is genuine or if it’s all about her bc she wants something from me - to make her feel better about herself, to get some fun times on the lake, access to my gf, or if she really wants to make shit right. I’ll be gracious either way but a relationship requires she want to make it better for me in this situation.

But what do I know I’m just on the other side of it.

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Good dialogue, I really appreciate your thoughts on this.

Sorta reminds me of the platinum rule. If the golden rule is "treat others the way you wish yourself to be treated" then the platinum rule is "treat others the way they wish to be treated."

I'm gonna step away because you're right, this is the thread for the other side.

"If I have no expectations of people then I cannot help but be delighted." The corollary is "nobody has the power to make me feel a certain way." Those are actually Al Anon meditations, and as an ACOA I qualify for that program too.

Family disease, yo.

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To be clear - I wasn’t asking you to step back bro and I said as much. You have valuable insight often.

 

On my end I’ve got a lot of crap bubbling up from some awful selfishness displayed by folks close to me - three to be exact plus this odd out of the blue text apology. What those three could do that would be helpful to me isn’t going to happen. And I’m dealing with that. I didn’t pick one of these humans. But the other two I did pick. That’s on me. On the one hand I’m doing really well and like buff talked about dueling and conflicting emotions at the same time I’m also full of resentment toward them. Fuck them for being assholes. It hurts me, them and my kids. One of them is not family and I did what was right by my values and he was a total dick for multiple years. I’ve got to pick better people going forward.

 

And one of the ways I coped with the unrelenting assholish behavior in my early life was to make sure I did what I could to release others from the chains when I acted the part. About the only thing I can guarantee my kids and my romantic partner is I’ll eventually see what they see and take ownership for being stupid. And that’s so they have the aid of being heard and understood so they don’t have to deal with those chains. And on my end when I don’t get what I need from others in the same way I can only detach with compassion and know they are in a far worse set of chains than me. And get the fuck away from them.

 

But some of the times I stew, resent and struggle with staying off the hate ledge.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, BearSchlong said:

Good dialogue, I really appreciate your thoughts on this.

Sorta reminds me of the platinum rule. If the golden rule is "treat others the way you wish yourself to be treated" then the platinum rule is "treat others the way they wish to be treated."

I'm gonna step away because you're right, this is the thread for the other side.

"If I have no expectations of people then I cannot help but be delighted." The corollary is "nobody has the power to make me feel a certain way." Those are actually Al Anon meditations, and as an ACOA I qualify for that program too.

Family disease, yo.

BearSchlong,

Before you go, would you care to address this quote from AA's book on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions? This is on page 87...

"Above all, we should try to be absolutely sure that we are not delaying because we are afraid. For the readiness to take full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well-being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine."

This seems to contradict what you wrote a few posts above, that 9th Step amends are for the alcoholic, not for the person the amends are being made to. 

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I lurk in the alcoholic thread because I want to gain perspective on how the mind of an addict works. I don't agree with everything in there, but I don't post there because I try to stay in my lane. And I do have an appreciation for the AA program. I've read the Big Book several times. 

I don't post about this, but I have an ex-wife who hasn't seen our 9- and 6-year old kids in 5 years because she can't get the needle out of her arm. So I appreciate this thread.

Troph, Buff and the rest of y'all, I just wanna say I'm hearing you loud and clear.

When you've already dealt with a shit ton of selfish, destructive behavior from an addict, the last thing you want to hear from them is "I messed up, but I don't care if you accept my amends because I'm doing this for me." To the person who has been offended, it really just sounds like more of the same selfish behavior.

Saying you're sorry when you have wronged someone - and actually meaning it - that's just part of not being a shitty person. That's why most of us teach our kids from an early age to apologize when they hurt someone. It's just the right thing to do, regardless of the steps. If you're apologizing to make yourself feel better and give yourself confidence that you're lacking, that seems like the wrong reason. Those might be benefits, but they shouldn't be the reason you do it.

Edited by Foggy Notion

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It’s not an apology though. In fact many of us are instructed that we can’t use the phrase “I’m sorry.”

 There just seems to be a misunderstanding of what the ninth step is in the program of alcoholics anonymous.  No one meant to insinuate that the recipients feelings are irrelevant, just that they are outside of our control and that we shouldn’t make an amends if we are going to cause undue harm or harmful emotions.

Maybe  instead of saying “to keep us sober...”, I should have said to literally keep us from killing ourselves. It’s about being honest and identifying a relationship where we selfishly caused harm. We offer to do whatever it takes to make that situation right. That rectifing action is completely up to the recipient. We do whatever the person asks of us and strive to never do that selfishness to anyone again.

I didn’t mean to upset your thread. I’ll stay away. Have a great day.

Edited by JohnnyRage

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37 minutes ago, JohnnyRage said:

It’s not an apology though. In fact many of us are instructed that we can’t use the phrase “I’m sorry.”

 There just seems to be a misunderstanding of what the ninth step is in the program of alcoholics anonymous.  No one meant to insinuate that the recipients feelings are irrelevant, just that they are outside of our control and that we shouldn’t make an amends if we are going to cause undue harm or harmful emotions.

Maybe  instead of saying “to keep us sober...”, I should have said to literally keep us from killing ourselves. It’s about being honest and identifying a relationship where we selfishly caused harm. We offer to do whatever it takes to make that situation right. That rectifing action is completely up to the recipient. We do whatever the person asks of us and strive to never do that selfishness to anyone again.

I didn’t mean to upset your thread. I’ll stay away. Have a great day.

I might be wrong, but I dont think I'm misunderstanding the 9th Step. Go back and read my posts. I never said that making amends and saying "I'm sorry" are the same thing.

I'm saying that in some cases, saying you're sorry is "whatever it takes to make the situation right", which is the point of the 9th step as you yourself pointed out. In other situations like making financial amends, an apology might not be necessary because it is worthless. 

And you might not think that making an apology is a part of the 9th step. But it certainly is part of the 11th step. Bill W. himself says so in the Big Book. This is from the chapter Into Action. I'm sure you're familiar with it.

"When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology?"

It's ok to apologize. It's ok to say you're sorry.

And in this case, it's ok to admit that you're wrong. It really is. I'm wrong sometimes too. When I am, I'd like to think that I admit it.

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14 hours ago, BearSchlong said:



I treat her with respect but I'll be damned if I'm going to let her affect my serenity anymore. I'm incapable of living to her expectations so any attempt is futile and isn't fair to me. I came to this realization when she spent 2 hours on the phone raging at me because I would not acquiesce to her completely unreasonable and childish demands. That Tuesday several years ago was a liberating catharsis.

 

If I recall this led to a post where you called your ex a succubus.  Not to stalk you, but that really stuck with me because I thought hey that's just like my (then) wife.

To put my spin on the by now well-worn 9th step conversation here- i think the problem the alanon folks here are having is that some phrasing seems to imply that it's OK to think hey I threw out some amends if you don't like it that it's your problem (I know that's not the intent but it's how some are taking it).  As long as the amend was thoughtful and took ownership of past actions, I think that's true and if the recipient is unreasonable like the former Mrs. Bear then that's that.

Bad amends (in the "sober" spouse's eyes)- hey, you know some stuff happened and you know I'm clean now so let's let bygones be bygones.

Good amends- Man I put you threw hell, and getting high and sleeping with that guy on our co-ed softball team while you were out of town in Columbia, Missouri watching Texas play* was a really shitty thing to do of the many shitty things I did.  I'd like to apologize and make things right.

Like I said, I've accepted the fact that I'm not getting a 9th step and will not let that affect my life.  But if she came at me with the bad amend example above I'd laugh and walk out.

* yes, this hypothetical is oddly specific  

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3 minutes ago, JohnnyRage said:

That’s the 10th step

No, it's not. Go back and read Into Action, Johnny.

Here's the larger quote this came from...

"Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. We shouldn't be shy on this matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly. It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it. It would be easy to be vague about this matter. Yet, we believe we can make some definite and valuable suggestions.

When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology?"

Again, it's ok to admit when you're wrong. 

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I’ll admit whatever you want me to admit, just point the lines out so I might do so. Also if you stop quoting me, I’ll stay out of this thread.

Just shoot me a pm.

Edited by JohnnyRage

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Apologies to all for derailing this thread.

And a sincere apology to Johnny as well. I was in a rush to attack and I should have paused and thought about what he wrote before responding. 

I'll admit, I'm probably triggered right now due to recent events with my ex-wife. 

Edited by Foggy Notion

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Make no mistake:  Amends are called for by the Ninth Step because they are the RIGHT THING TO DO! And that is as much for the recipient as for the alcoholic or offender (this doesn't just apply to the alcoholic).

But for the neophyte in recovery, a mind game often has to be played to avoid a descent into guilt and negativity.  in early recovery, the program is indeed a selfish one, but its purpose is to instill a system of living that focuses on doing the next right thing, and that, of course, benefits everyone.

And, yeah, just providing the perspective of "the other side."  For whatever it's worth.  If it's obnoxious, tell us and we'll STFU.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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I have no issue with Johnny or Bear or any other who does the steps being in this thread.  none at all.

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17 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Make no mistake:  Amends are called for by the Ninth Step because they are the RIGHT THING TO DO! And that is as much for the recipient as for the alcoholic or offender (this doesn't just apply to the alcoholic).

But for the neophyte in recovery, a mind game often has to be played to avoid a descent into guilt and negativity.  in early recovery, the program is indeed a selfish one, but its purpose is to instill a system of living that focuses on doing the next right thing, and that, of course, benefits everyone.

I think that's fair and awesome.  I think finding blame and guilt and shame for oneself is a human thing and we who go above and beyond for others but then get blamed for their problems have our own version of it and when we say "enough is enough" we have very little room for your steps in our life if they have even one hint of selfishness - and let there be no mistake - I've got three active "emotional addicts" in my life that I am currently telling them enough is enough and all three have ended or are headed to a divorce - a marriage, a parental relationship and a business relationship.  and the behavior of the others in light of my decisions has been universally full of blame, emotionally manipulative in one, emotionally abusive in another situation and totally unacceptable in all three.  I've given and given to these three in every way imaginable.  I've been by all accounts an emotionally and financially generous person and what have I gotten?  Blame and accusation.  I stand here and I look at their behavior which has been unreasonable, vindictive, full of name calling, and I'm unwilling to continue.  absolutely unwilling.  and as of this week two of the divorces are final in a legal sense.  the last is a parent and I'm not sure yet what I want to do.  but these people do need to go away.

That said, I liken it maybe to doing good deeds.  When you volunteer to help the less fortunate - work a soup kitchen or make a poor family's christmas awesome or provide school supplies organized nicely for young kids you do an amazing thing for them.  It truly makes their life better, but it's only one thing in the rest of their life and their concerns and issues.  school supplies helps on the first day of school but it's not a permanent solution to their struggle.  and, doing this good deed which was others focused for you makes you feel like a million bucks.  That million dollar feeling is ancillary and it's awesome, but it's not the primary reason you do it.  You help out because you have compassion and empathy for the little one's plight.  If your step 9 is like this great, there may be room for restoration and a really good relationship going forward.  If your step 9 is about not killing yourself or staying sober, or any other personal first reason, then okay great, don't kill yourself, stay sober but the answer to the question how can I make it right will be "please leave me alone" for anyone with a modicum of healthy boundaries.

Edited by troph

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Thanks for this thread. It took me many years of honestly believing I could make her 'better' before I began to understand the 3 Cs. Its a mantra that got often repeated. My guilt has subsided, still some regrets. Always hopeful, but realistic.

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Yeah I was going to say that it is kind of like doing volunteer work, it's its own reward.  But that's not why you do it.  But the young drunk sometimes takes some convincing to do the things necessary to put down the rock.  It's hard to face up to some of the things you've done, and to people you care about.  It's not the only reason we drank, but played its part for sure.

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Just a note -- I really don't have any dog in this fight.  Don't have any big drinkers or addicts in my immediate family (my grandma was a world-class drunk, but that was before my time).

I just wanted to note that I skimmed and read parts of this thread, and see a lot of folks who 1) have been through some shit, 2) have worked out some shit, 3) who are still working out some shit, and 4) are genuinely interested in helping other people work out their shit.  That's, well, some good shit.  It takes personal strength, resilience, and kindness.  As I've gotten older, I've come to think that kindness is perhaps the most important quality any of us can have and exhibit, so it does a soul right to see it being exercised.

I'm not here to pat anyone on the back, or speak from any high position.  I just wanted to tell you that even to a guy who isn't wrestling with the same demons (hey, my demons are different), it does us all good to actually see people working through their stuff and helping other folks do the same.  It's the way we're supposed to take up space in this world, and the example is a good one for all of us.

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that's why even when I got irritated with Bear and Johnny I tried to make it clear I have mad respect for them and appreciate them immensely.  I also enjoy their posts here.  You talk about kindness and I think that's a big key here and frankly the number one attribute I'm looking for going forward in friends and romantic partners.  my girlfriend is codep no question - and I am too so of course she is, duh.  but she is not mean, she is kind, and when we fight we are just tripping over our own emotional awkwardness.  My ex on the other hand is vindictive and mean, just like her mom and grandmother.  She told me a long time ago they were, I couldn't see how she was.  wow, the number of folks who have said they were happy for me when that nightmare ended was a bit shocking.

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12 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Yeah I was going to say that it is kind of like doing volunteer work, it's its own reward.  But that's not why you do it.  But the young drunk sometimes takes some convincing to do the things necessary to put down the rock.  It's hard to face up to some of the things you've done, and to people you care about.  It's not the only reason we drank, but played its part for sure.

The 9th also has a caveat and we're implored to do some soul searching before approaching the offended party. Cleaning up our side of the street shouldn't hurt anyone else but at the same time we owe them the opportunity to own their feelings and to accept them sharing those feeling with us, good or bad. It takes balance which is what we're trying to achieve. Sometimes we muff it.

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Some food for thought...

Can you guys even imagine how many times we alcoholics have said “I’m sorry”?

Infinity.

It’s a phrase that’s practically worthless, especially to the ones that deserve it the most. That’s why instead we make an amends.

Good talk Russ 😉 Love you guys.

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I am certain that is true for some of "you".

And while words without action are meaningless, some of "us" are still waiting to hear it for the first time. 

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You guys who are working a good, honest program in recovery, I sincerely commend you. Keep it up. I know that shit ain't easy.

Some of us are dealing with exes and SO's who aren't doing that. My ex wants me to believe she's sober, yet she ended up driving over a granite historical marker out near Llano a couple weeks ago while on a headful of Xanax and no telling what else. (But it was prescribed to her!!!!)

And she still doesn't get why I still think she's a danger to my kids.

Edited by Foggy Notion

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