Responding to an amends email.

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Responding to an amends email.

Postby vanilla_essence » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:21 am

Hi everyone
I'm new here and trying to learn a little bit more about how AA works. I'm not here as someone looking to change their lives, although we all try and do that and certain times, I'm not an alcoholic just someone who was in a relationship with somebody who had problems with alcohol. I'm here to try and comprehend an amends letter I received from my ex. I have already responded to her in the best way I can. Initially I was fine with it despite having previously asked her never to contact me again. 4 months later I received the email. I wasn't expecting to have such a dire reaction to it. In my mind I was OK but I had a huge panic attack a few days later. I haven't had one for a very long time. I wasn't insulting or rude at all and I acknowledged the fact she'd sent it and told her I was very supportive to her doing all this.
She stated and admitted to all the treatment I'd endured over a 7 year period. I'd already come to terms with it all and had moved on, forgiven myself and her for whatever happened between us. Unfortunately the email has brought it all back up again. I most certainly respect the fact that she has made this huge step forward and has reached out to make amends and is now following a 12 step programme, I'm not doubting that for a moment. The thing is I mentioned to her that I'd had this panic attack, then she no longer wanted any contact. She sent the email and then that was kind of it. Now it's left me in some doubt as to how this all works. What I mean to say is I think any of this kind of thing could work both ways, trying to create a win-win situation for all involved. I think after such an email open and honest dialogue is the way forward, I have no intentions of being hostile or unforgiving, on the contrary I'm a very caring and understanding person. AT the end of the day though I'm just left with the feeling that shes dumped it on me and then disappeared again, which is what she does. If anyone could try and explain how step 9 works and what the intention behind an amends letter is I'd be much appreciative. This has brought me a lot of heartache and confusion.

Thanks
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby Brock » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:53 am

Your question is a good and valid one. Recovering alcoholics make amends to people they have harmed basically because it's the right thing to do, and also because it helps free us of the guilt attached to the wrongdoing, stewing in it can lead to relapse. Apart from financial debt which should be repaid, there is no 'action' apart from the apology required, some like myself whose wife put up with years of nonsense and are still together, we might just do a sort of living amends, be the nice person she thought she married sort of thing.

So apart from you saying that you forgive her there is nothing more to do, our literature even states that some people may not forgive us and tell us to F off, and that is OK, we have done our part and we move on. I understand that you expect two way dialogue, and perhaps have thoughts of rekindling the relationship, nothing in our AA literature advises on that matter.

It's good of you to care enough to ask questions, best of luck.
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby vanilla_essence » Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:12 am

Thanks for the reply. To be honest I'm a little surprised by it. So sending an email, bringing up past hurts and then disappearing is an ok thing to do? I'm not sure I agree, but maybe I'm wrong.
I have no desire to rekindle a relationship with her, just understand this whole step 9 process and how that looks from an AA point of view, as a receiver it's tough.
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby Reborn » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:03 am

The 9th step says "Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." When we make amends we should be tactful in the way it is delivered. Its not about bringing up past wrongs that may harm another individual. I'm not saying that is what she did but it sounds like this was a more in depth amends than it needed to be. I had to do some amends with a few ladies I had harmed in past relationships...under the direction of the Big Book and my sponsor I kept it right sized being careful not bring up specific events that would make the other person uncomfortable. My advise to you is accept this for what it is and move on...none of us can move forward if we're constantly looking back. Her approach is not one I would have taken but it cannot be undone now. Her intentions were good and as time goes on hopefully you will see this...and who knows if it is meant to be you can get a little more closure with this. But for now...for you own sanity...let it go.
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby PuppyEars » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:44 am

there is no 'action' apart from the apology required

:shock:
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby Spirit Flower » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:52 am

An apology is not an amend.
It is supposed to be carefully done; ensuring not to harm another.

However, this e-mail sounds shallow and hurtful. I'd cut the person loose and not pay any further attention to them.
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:58 am

I have no desire to rekindle a relationship with her, just understand this whole step 9 process and how that looks from an AA point of view, as a receiver it's tough


Its about correcting the relationship. I would agree it was not carried out in an elegant way. Probably she got a sponsor who didn't explain her what the process is about. If you are not an alcoholic and doesn't bother you too much, I would suggest you drop it.

You may read some books like Power of Now or A new Earth where Eckhart talks about forgiveness and having an enlightened relationship. A whole chapter is dedicated for relationship issues. If you are still renting space to her, you may join Alan-on and get an sponsor and start working the 12 steps. Maybe you can look at your part in it.
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby vanilla_essence » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:52 pm

All of the replies seem to match up to what I'm thinking. I can see that in her way the intention was good, that the email was shallow and not very well thought out, that her sponsor isn't up to much and that I need to drop it! Just wish I hadn't been thrown back into the mix.

I've thought about a 12 step programme but it doesn't really suit my way of thinking. I've done similar things that helped me move on. I'm a very spiritual person and I have good intentions I feel I've reached a point in my life where I'd be at step 12 of an AA programme. The amends I did a long time ago and it wasn't just one email, I tried several times. She was still drinking then so I didn't get a good response. But I did move on and left it at that. She would always come back at me several months along the line. Let's hope she leaves me alone this time.
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby PaigeB » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:06 pm

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

I am sorry you were hurt. When I did my amends my sponsor told me a few things, but among them I was to keep it simple and general. Also that I was to be sincere. I do hope this gal was sincere, we are not to do amends until we are sincere. I also hope that she was guided by a discussion with her sponsor - we should also have the counsel of someone other than ourselves when we first learn this principle of righting wrongs.

On the positive side, you can choose to believe that she was sincere, mentally wish her well and then let it go.

As to what comes after the amends my sponsor had me ask of every one that I did: Is there anything I can do to make it better between us.

Now I know that you want nothing more to do with her, but if perhaps you were to meet in the store or the wedding of a mutual friend... The idea is that after the amends both parties can walk away with a free and open heart. So you can ask yourself - is there something she can DO to help repair the damage that was done? If that is just stay away from me then you have every right to have your voice heard in that and I would say it could be done by email.

If she does attempt to contact you again, you would certainly want to ponder about her motives, but for your own health you can choose to believe that she was sincere in this attempt to right the wrongs that were done.

I hope this helps you.

Go in Peace.
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby vanilla_essence » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:08 pm

Thank you for that thoughtful and touching reply paigeB. Her initial email was very simple, perhaps too simple. I think it important for me to say this because I know a lot of people might want to hear this: I totally understood where she was when she was drinking. She didn't drink all the time but used drink to lessen her inner pain, she wasn't in need of drink on a daily basis, it was her medication when she felt pain. She had a very difficult and abusive upbringing. I was totally understanding of this and never expected her to have to make amends. She didn't really need to, only for her own sake and I'm ok with that.
What she can't or won't do is acknowledge what lengths I went to for her, that may sound as though I was enabling, and to a degree I'm sure I was. It was all very difficult and she had huge abandonment issues, which is impossible for anyone to deal with. I suppose all I want for me to feel clear headed is for her to acknowledge that. All the rest of it I'd moved on from a while ago, I have never held on to anything negative, it just keeps you stuck.

I just want us both to feel comfortable moving forward. I don't think she was quite ready to send that email. But I do see her good intention.
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby vanilla_essence » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:13 pm

And what's good is I'm never likely to bump into her as I live in Europe and she in the states. I'm grateful for that believe me.
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby Duke » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:28 pm

If you respond from your heart with what seems right to you, no one can ask anymore. Recovering alcoholics are just people, stumbling along as best they can. What you can count on, is that they are trying, each in their own way, to start living on a new, responsible basis.

Good luck to you.
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby positrac » Thu Sep 01, 2016 2:57 am

Let us not forget we are very selfish us alcoholics and in our minds what seems right, and or acceptable in the process of turning around our wrongs doesn't always sit well with others we may of used and or hurt in our past.

Honestly 4 months of sobriety (reading into this a little) is not very long to understand, comprehend the steps in a clear manner in my IMHO. Some might say we each digest the program differently and for me I found when I was ready to do my amends I had some time under my belt (over a year) for certain people because I knew my goal was not to just clean my side of the street; but to make right of my selfish manner. I actually made amends to a person a few years ago and it had been over twenty plus years and I can tell you that time didn't heal the pain it pissed them off more. I was a complete pecker and I was sober and just used them for sex in my early couple years of sobriety. Bad part was I knew what I was doing and just wanted my end and never considered them for a minute. I am being honest here to explain that because I am sober I am far from being a saint and frankly never wanna be considered as such. I am humbly ashamed of myself for acting that way back then as my actions did hurt another and left a bad mark in there mind because of my ruthless actions.

I tried and I failed and I have to accept that it is no good for that specific amend. But the lesson should be how to send an amends letter and maybe emails are not appropriate. I sent an email because they live across the ocean and I found them on FB. I feel I am always being "learned" in this life and some are good and others just sting.

They hurt you and so I would keep your guard up and just move on with life because you need to forget that part of life and enjoy the rest is my suggestion and it is your right.

To many times we think just because we made amends that everything is great and all is forgiven, seriously? just saying.
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby vanilla_essence » Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:47 am

Let us not forget we are very selfish us alcoholics and in our minds what seems right, and or acceptable in the process of turning around our wrongs doesn't always sit well with others we may of used and or hurt in our past.


I think we live in a very selfish society and I don't really believe for one second that alcoholics are anymore selfish than anyone else. My ex was/is very selfish but she isn't an alcoholic just used it to medicate. She became a monster when she was drunk. And she didn't need alcohol to be nasty or to transform into Mrs Hyde! We all do what we can, some of us it's more difficult than the rest.

Honestly 4 months of sobriety (reading into this a little) is not very long to understand


My thoughts exactly. I am not an alcoholic but it took some time for me to come to terms with what happened between me and my ex. Our relationship ended a few years ago. It's taken me well over 2 years to reach a place where I feel I'm out of the fog and can see what I want from my life.


I am humbly ashamed of myself for acting that way back then as my actions did hurt another and left a bad mark in there mind because of my ruthless actions.


You acted that way a long time ago and clearly you've done all you can to make that right again. I definitely sense that. The fact my ex hasn't amended well to me has led me here and I read your words. So whatever amends that didn't work out with your ex are now being righted here in this thread. Don't carry it anymore because the sentiment and intention you sent is here with me, I feel it. :)

But the lesson should be how to send an amends letter and maybe emails are not appropriate.


This is the reason I decided to post on this forum so that we can all help each other better understand how to send and receive these amends. I don't think email is appropriate either. It's not the way I'd go about making amends to somebody I loved. She has my phone number. She could have simply asked to speak to me by email and hey presto everything would have been a lot simpler and clearer.

They hurt you and so I would keep your guard up and just move on with life because you need to forget that part of life and enjoy the rest is my suggestion and it is your right.


I had moved on and then boom! The email...

To many times we think just because we made amends that everything is great and all is forgiven, seriously? just saying.


Unfortunately some people think that making amends or saying sorry is a passport to continuing along the same lines, that being selfish. Again you don't have to be an alcoholic for this to happen.
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Re: Responding to an amends email.

Postby positrac » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:20 am

vanilla_essence You have brought up a lot of thoughts on this experience and it has left scares on you and talking it out hopefully will yield peace for you. 120 percent agree that we can never go back to what might of and or once was as we change and growth is the single most important life event we have.

Thanks for your time and be well.
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