Amends

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

Amends

Postby Cristy99 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:03 am

Good morning friends!!

I made my amends last year....all but one, that is. I would like advise, ideas, thoughts on making amends to someone who has passed away. It is time.

~Sigh~

I am hoping some of you have had a similar situation. This is the person whom I harmed the most with my alcoholism. He was my husband. He suffered from Young Onset Parkinson's Disease, like Michael J Fox.

I was so horrible to this man. Such a monster. If there was anything I could do to go back and change the horrific way I treated him I would do it in a heartbeat. I crossed the invisible line into full blown alcoholism while I was married to him. I was so very tired and the fatigue only grew as his disease progressed. I worked full time to support us and had my precious daughter who was a young teen at the time. I would come home from work very tired to find the house in shambles at times where he had had multiple wrecks with his scooter into the furniture, knocking everything off, breaking everything. (I think this post is going to be very healing for me because as I am looking back I am smiling at all the calamity). At one time he got a fancy new electric wheelchair which he couldn't understand how to work and control. That night, I came home to the dining room table positioned half way into the back yard through the huge plate glass window. :shock:
There were times I would come home after a bout of incontinence with a huge mess to clean.

In the past I have used those things as justifications for allowing myself to be a monster and to drink myself into oblivion. At my worst I drank 1 and a half to 2 LARGE BOXES of wine within a 24 hour period....equivenent to 8-12 normal bottles.
I was so angry!! I had no help in taking care of him and we were in financial ruin in spite of the fact that he had family in town who had ample money. So I acted like the sorriest human being I possibly could and took all my frustrations and anger out on this poor sick man. I am relieved to say I never physically harmed him....but I am sure the damage I caused him was probably worse than physical abuse might have been.

Eventually I had to put him in a nursing home. I am in the medical field and knew the right people so in spite of the $5k a month that the nicest nursing home in town charged per month, they graciously gave him a bed for the small amount of $1200 that Medicare provided. How much pride I had to think it was all my doing to get him into the nicest place!!!! And the resentment I had was unbelievable toward his family for endlessly criticizing me for putting him in a nursing home instead of taking care of him at home – and not recognizing the fact that if it weren't for me, he would be in a nasty smelling place that would allow him to lie in dirty diapers all day. Thank God that He has helped my through those deep resentments and that poison is now gone.

At that point I did what any good, sick alcoholic does and had an affair with a much younger man. He was straight up trash!!! I still cannot figure out why I sunk so low. My step daughter found out so I rushed to the nursing home to disclose the affair to my husband before she had a chance. How chivalrous of me!!!! And then I never went back to the nursing home to visit after that. And neither did his family, except his poor mother who could only get a ride maybe once a week. Geez this poor man!!!!

I apologize for going on and on. I just wanted to provide the whole picture of the animal I was so that your advise will be armed with all the horrific facts. He was cremated and his ashes are in another state with his brother. I can't imagine him allowing me to come into his home for the amend. The guilt has lessened somewhat as I recover, but I need to somehow make the amend and hope the remainder of the guilt goes away.

Thanks for listening,
Cristy
"Talk doesn't cook rice."
~ Chinese proverb
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Re: Amends

Postby positrac » Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:30 am

I've got two ideas on this:
1) God jar- You write notes to God and you put it in the jar and he takes care of our issues with alcoholism. You might of heard of that in meetings? Later on burn all of those notes that have been answered.
2) Write a letter to your Husband and explain all of the details you need to express and you can put it at his grave site, and or burn it and hopefully it can bring closure and peace to your soul.

You are here now and so your legacy depends on what you can accomplish and do for the better good on mankind. So take your thoughts to your special place you go when you need quiet and get it all together and then just write it out and it does two things. it cleans your soul, and you are freed of the past. You'll always remember, but you did your duty the best you could do.


The other idea is take it to a complete stranger and tell them your situation and it is free. I just remembered the last one from my California AA days.

I hope you can find the peace you are hoping to find with this amend, and you deserve peace now that you have changed your life for the better. You know it is all out of our control and that is the hardest part I believe.


Have a good day.
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Re: Amends

Postby Brock » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:35 am

I like positrac's idea on the letter and burning, also that you did your duty and deserve peace of mind. My own experience would not be perhaps similar, in that I never had an ill person to take care of, but finally accepting the AA message at the age of sixty, meant that a few who I had hurt had passed away, most especially my mother, who had the greatest of patience and love for a drunken son, and only got broken promises in return. Also my father to an extent, and some good ladies who put up with me over the years, and whether they are alive or not now I don't know, and have been unable to locate to make a direct amend.

I sometimes admit here to never having a sponsor, but for the 5th I did get a nice person I new who is in N A, and he was helpful when I spoke about this. We spoke a bit about my mother and found many good things I had done for her, the ladies he said had a choice they didn't have to stick around so I couldn't have been that bad, in short he kind of convinced me that I was being too hard on myself, and I have seen that same trait in other alcoholics I have heard speak about their past. Just reading your post, I find while being still humble you point out a number of things many lesser beings might have given up on long before you did.

My 'wife', (been together so long I call her my wife), is ten years older than me and we sometimes discuss the future, where we live in the Caribbean old folks homes aren't as nice or as available as in the US. So I assure her being younger I will take care of her as best I can, maybe get a nurse in when it get's to a stage one of us can't make it to the toilet on time and so forth. But I'll tell you straight Cristy, I am not sure I could do as much as you did, as much as I love her I will try my best, and pray that God gives me strength.

The day after my 5th step, I went around to the back of my apartment, and put some short letters of amends I wrote out to those involved in a BBQ pit. I said a prayer to them all and lit it, as the smoke raised and my eyes shut still asking forgiveness, I swear I saw their faces all smiling at me. When I give this story at live meetings sometimes a joker will say, “that was the smoke in your eyes,” maybe so, but the feeling in my heart was a good one, and to a great extent I forgave myself for my shortcomings. I hope you can forgive yourself as well, you did as much as any “non saint” could, and more than most people I know might, if I were in his shoes I would have considered myself pretty fortunate to have such a wife.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Amends

Postby Cristy99 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:26 am

Positrac wrote:
2) Write a letter to your Husband and explain all of the details you need to express and you can put it at his grave site, and or burn it and hopefully it can bring closure and peace to your soul.

You are here now and so your legacy depends on what you can accomplish and do for the better good on mankind. So take your thoughts to your special place you go when you need quiet and get it all together and then just write it out and it does two things. it cleans your soul, and you are freed of the past. You'll always remember, but you did your duty the best you could do.


Great advise Positrac. Thank you so much!! Thank you for saying that I did my duty the best I could....yes, for a very sick alcoholic I did pretty well. I have thought that writing the letter would be the best thing. It's so weird the things we learn about ourselves as we grow and grow. I think what has happened is that I know the letter will give me peace. I think subconsciously I have delayed because I feel like I need to pay the penance of feeling guilty, not wanting to let myself off the hook. That actually just came to me while I was reading your response. I know now that it is time to let it go at last!!

Hugs!!
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~ Chinese proverb
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Re: Amends

Postby Cristy99 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:39 am

Brock wrote:
The day after my 5th step, I went around to the back of my apartment, and put some short letters of amends I wrote out to those involved in a BBQ pit. I said a prayer to them all and lit it, as the smoke raised and my eyes shut still asking forgiveness, I swear I saw their faces all smiling at me.


Brock, that's such a beautiful story!! Made me cry, you turkey!! :lol:

I agree that a letter is the best way to express what I need to say. I hope God bestows the same gift upon me that He did for you. I really really really think this is going to give me peace. I know my sins are forgiven already. I have to forgive myself. I don't know if my late husband will hear, but I like to think he will somehow. He was a very gentle person who loved me very deeply. He had a huge infectious smile. Like this =biggrin I hope I get to see it.

I will let you know what happens!! I know you will be wonderful to your "wife" when her health begins to fail...IF it even comes to that.

Big hugs and sugars to both of you, and thank you so much for such a sweet picture in my mind's eye of you both sunning on the beach!!

Cristy
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~ Chinese proverb
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Re: Amends

Postby JohnDaniels » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:27 pm

Hi Cristy,

I believe you have already started making your amends.

When I was in my teens I boxed as an Amateur Welterweight undefeated for 2 years. I was at the Olympic Boxing Qualifying Tournament when a freak accident happened and I knocked my opponent out in 9 seconds. My trainer jumped into the ring and lifted me up running around the ring happy that I had qualified for the Olympic Boxing Team. I looked at my opponent laying there with blood coming out of his nose, his mouth and his ear. Blood coming from the ear means a fractured skull. An ambulance took him to the hospital. My trainer told me to head to the dressing room and wait for him. He came down and told me, "No shower, no rub down, grab your things and let's go now."

A few days later I walked into the gym and my trainer told me to have a seat. He told me I had qualified for the Olympic Boxing Team. He asked me if I'd heard about that boy from Milan. I said I hadn't heard anything. My trainer told me that boy died. It took a while for it to set in. I was in a state of shock and walked out of the gym. I went back a few days later and told him I was quitting boxing all together and never wanted to be a part of it ever again. He told me I was over reacting and that my country needs me. He told me I would bring home the Gold. The more he talked the more angry I became. I started screaming at him. I had allot of rage built up inside that I had been using in the boxing ring. He told me to at least think about it and stick around and coach these kids. I told him I would never coach any child to beat a person to death. I left and never went back.

I had a girlfriend who was one of the most spiritual people I've ever known. We talked about it allot and how I ought to talk to the boys parents. She drove me to that boys parents house. She walked up to the door and told me to wait in the car. The boys mother answered the door and they appeared to be having a positive conversation with heads nodding and all that. My girlfriend ran back to the car and told me they would love to talk with me and how nice they were. I went in and I broke down into tears. That boys mother held me and told me it is all going to be alright. I never cried so hard in my life. I kept saying I was sorry, soooo sorry! I asked them if they would forgive me. They said they already forgave me. They hugged me like I was their own son.

They asked me to set down at the table. She got us all some lemon aid and asked if I would like to see their photo album and said yes. They showed me their sons pictures. She wanted to show me his room. He had athletic awards and plaques all over the walls. He had a letter from President Kennedy congratulating him on his Civil Air Patrol achievements and for his desire to become an astronaut. We stayed a few hours at their home. When we left I was glad they forgave me but now I had a deep sick feeling in my stomach because I realized I had deprived the world of a good man and future astronaut. It took me from that time and well into my 50's before I got over it. I had night terrors where I'd wake up screaming and crying. I finally asked God to forgive me and help me get past this torture. I could almost hear God's voice telling me "Son, you were forgiven 2,000 years ago. I love you so much I sent my son to die for your sins so you would be forgiven once and for all".

I knew I was forgiven out of love. I haven't had anymore night terrors since then. Just a warmth in my bosom like a gift.

This is what worked for me.

Will Rogers said, Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

I believe you have made a good judgment call here to set things right with your late husband
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Re: Amends

Postby positrac » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:30 pm

Cristy/Brock,
I want to than you for just reminding me of my place in life and also that I have been too hard on myself when I wasn't ready to let go. Like I said before I still remember and so I've never been able to fully go over the top of the slope for the down hill part as easy as others have claimed it would be. :roll: I am sober today and that is important and the rest is just life when it seemed to matter.

Again thanks and nice to hear the good to the bad sides we had in another life.
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Re: Amends

Postby Cristy99 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:31 pm

John....I wondered if I would hear from you. I'm so glad I did.

Your story is so touching, so sad. I cannot imagine having something like this happen. I am so sorry it happened to you and I am glad God healed your heart. Wow. He must have had some sort of congenital defect. Who knows? Maybe it was just the time God picked for him to go home.

Thank you for your reply and advise!!

God bless!!
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~ Chinese proverb
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Re: Amends

Postby Cristy99 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:44 pm

Positrac said:
I want to than you for just reminding me of my place in life and also that I have been too hard on myself when I wasn't ready to let go.


Positrac.....
It's not easy to forgive ourselves for hurting others who are innocent. But I firmly believe that's what God wants us to do because He wants NOTHING to stand between us and the tangibility of His infinite love for us. I never "felt" His love before I had spiritual experiences that came about through AA. They were nothing short of miracles for me. I also know that the HUGE amount of love I felt (yes, FELT) was limited by my "humanness." There is much more to come.
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Re: Amends

Postby positrac » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:00 am

Cristy99 wrote:
Positrac said:
I want to than you for just reminding me of my place in life and also that I have been too hard on myself when I wasn't ready to let go.


Positrac.....
It's not easy to forgive ourselves for hurting others who are innocent. But I firmly believe that's what God wants us to do because He wants NOTHING to stand between us and the tangibility of His infinite love for us. I never "felt" His love before I had spiritual experiences that came about through AA. They were nothing short of miracles for me. I also know that the HUGE amount of love I felt (yes, FELT) was limited by my "humanness." There is much more to come.



I am happy for your progress and for the wiliness to make amends and hopefully this provide the peace and serenity necessary for a better life.
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Re: Amends

Postby Cristy99 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:00 am

Thank you!!
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Re: Amends

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:36 am

Books like A new earth and Power of Now helped me a lot. There is a part that I will always struggle. My mind was my worst critc. Understanding how the ego works helped me transcend those nagging voice in my head.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Amends

Postby Cristy99 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:47 am

Thank you avaneesh!!! I will look into those.

XOXO
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Re: Amends

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:23 pm

Have a read of Step 4 in the Big Book. See where it says (paraphrasing) "though we dislike their motives, we realise they were sick. How would we treat a sick friend?"

Maybe in a way your husband knew better than you yourself that you were very sick. So sick, that you had no idea at the time that you were sick. So how would you treat you?

Amends isn't about saying sorry (although that's a good start). It's about putting things right: a-mends. If it's safe to say he's in a better place, there's really no amends to make there. Letter-burning is certainly one idea, it wouldn't hurt to do that.

Extended family who remain may be another matter. If they are sore, then you might make matters worse by trying to salve your conscience ("except when to do so would injure them or others"). So I suggest patience. If you are supposed to make amends, or even talk about it, the right time will come and you'll know.

I've had some very strange occurrences happen by doing this, and can live at peace with some things I once thought I'd never shake off.
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Re: Amends

Postby Cristy99 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:47 am

Thank you Ian.

I once heard a sermon in church speaking of the phrase in the big big book, "God shall wipe away all tears." The pastor's opinion of what that meant was that we will not remember the pain from our lives ON Earth when we are in Heaven. Who knows? Perhaps we will be at ease because we have all the answers as to why the hurtful things were done.

Anyway, trying not to drift into the realm "outside AA" I agree with you that he has no more pain. I picture him running with his beloved dog who died years ago and that also helps me. I understand this amends will be for me. I'm actually beginning to think I am worth it. I think that makes God smile.

Thank you for the statement about "a-mend." That is really a game changer!!

XOXOX
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