Forgiveness

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Forgiveness

Postby Rooster » Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:41 am

At the last meeting of my home group we discussed “foregiveness” and “gratitude” and how our experiences as alcoholics could be related to these extremely powerful words. I learned a lot and was inspired by many of the members who shared so I thought I would post here and ask for others online to share their thoughts, feelings or experiences on either or both of these words.

Before I accepted that I was an alcoholic and joined AA I thought that if a person loved you that they should have a limitless capacity for forgiveness. I myself am a very forgiving person and have never been unable to forgive a loved one, or even a friend for that matter, of any transgression against me. This didn’t always happen immediately of course but eventually after time I forgave anyone of importance to me; however, my capacity for forgiveness had never been tested by an alcoholic.

I continued to draw on the bottomless well of forgiveness from my loved ones for years before eventually I felt bottom at one of those wells. My spouse, the family member that often takes the brunt of the emotional abuse from an alcoholic, had run out of forgiveness for me in my relentless pursuit to “have it all” - alcohol, love, family & responsibility. The days to follow after my final drunk set in motion a change to my way of thinking and living that I hope to obtain and adhere to for the rest of my life.

I am grateful for her willingness to forgive and even moreso for her ability not to. Her disgust, hate and resentment towards me as an alcoholic is what finally turned my life around. Now, weeks later, the well is still dry but I accept that it may never be full again and I may never be able to draw on it again. I’m learning to live a changed life, effect the positive changes that I can and accept those that I cannot.
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby Shoreline » Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:08 am

The first couple times I tried to get into recovery, my mom was very supportive and wanted to hear about my experiences in treatment/AA. After a few relapses she pretty much told me, that she can not help me with my recovery and I stopped bringing up anything related to recovery/AA. I think her "well ran dry" and she got tired of hearing me say that "this time it's really gonna work" etc. It's understandable to me, that she got tired of being involved in my recovery, and it's probably healthier that way. Actually I think that is one of the things they teach family members in Al Anon.
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby 1Peter5:10 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:08 am

Please permit me to deviate from the topic.

Shoreline wrote:...she got tired of hearing me say that "this time it's really gonna work" ....


If I thought it was going to work. I would not have been powerless.

Imagine me sitting there, on my couch, in a car or on a curb thinking "I can stop drinking anytime I want to. All I have to do is go to AA meetings, get a sponsor and do the steps."

I would have firmly resolved to do that. . . one day.
Relapse would not have been a problem, because I could get it again as soon as I go back and try again.

I have exactly that kind of sick mind.
I had to, I HAVE TO, to run for my life not knowing if this is ever 'fast enough.'

A rabbit runs faster scared than a dog does hungry.
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby positrac » Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:50 am

Forgiving myself was important and hard to do as well because I was the center of my universe and I never knew it. I treaded on some folks and used them in a bad way and many of them I never saw again and it most likely left impressions on them in the future with how they dealt with people and if they decided to trust them because of some of my actions toward them.

For me my family wasn't to attached to my life and so when I relapsed it was just another lie, day and a way to blame a situation as to make my faults acceptable to myself. It is all about me and again I never knew it until some lights went off because I now had friends in AA who cared of my well-being! Talk about pain, feeling rejected and thinking maybe I need to get drunk as to hide my embarrassment that others knew I was a complete jack-azz!!!! :oops:

AA said they'd love me until I could love myself and so eventually it was easier to accept my ego and understand that my ego will still lend me to asking to be forgiven and to try and not do that again.

Lessons and more lessons. :roll:
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby tomsteve » Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:02 am

someone cold cocked me a month ago. i forgave him.
that same person cold cocked me 3 weeks ago.i forgave him.
that same person cold cocked me 2 weeks ago. i forgave him.

last weekend i was told i have a misconception of forgiveness. it doesnt mean i keep going around unacceptable behavior or allowing it around me. i just forgive the asshat for being an asshat because i understand what its like to be an asshat.

i didnt get cold cocked this weekend- i forgave the man 2 weeks ago and decided to not allow him around me any more.

i am very greatful that the morning after my last drunk my fiance didnt listen to the im sorries and i promises and tossed me to the curb.greatful she didnt forgive easily.
shes my ex now, but i was able to make amends.
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby Roberth » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:28 am

One might confuse patience and trust with forgiving. I have run out of patience and trust for my son and my forgiveness wasn’t helping at all. 10 years ago wouldn’t let him near my home and I had to make peace with the thought that I would get a call to come and Identify his body one day. I had to let him find his own way into recovery. The only thing I could do this be the best example of recovery I could be.

I happy to say he did find his way to recovery. I pretty much stay out of his recovery except when I am asked. I was able to give him a 4 year chip and he gave me my 26 year chip at the same meeting. This time he is to earning trust and as for the forgiveness it has always been there waiting for him.
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby PaigeB » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:50 am

20th March Daily Reflection

LOVE AND TOLERANCE

Love and tolerance of others is our code.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84

I have found that I have to forgive others in all situations to maintain any real spiritual progress.
The vital importance of forgiving may not be obvious to me at first sight, but my studies tell me that every great spiritual teacher has insisted strongly upon it.

I must forgive injuries, not just in words, or as a matter of form, but in my heart.
I do this not for the other persons’ sake, but for my own sake.
Resentment, anger, or a desire to see someone punished, are things that rot my soul.
Such things fasten my troubles to me with chains. They tie me to other problems that have nothing to do with my original problem.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby Tosh » Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:01 pm

Rooster wrote:Now, weeks later, the well is still dry but I accept that it may never be full again and I may never be able to draw on it again. I’m learning to live a changed life, effect the positive changes that I can and accept those that I cannot.


'Weeks' is a fairly short time-span, though HUGE when you're newly sober. Non alcoholics work to a different perception of time in early sobriety; it goes really fast for them, but very slowly for us. :lol:

From my own experience, yes, Mrs Tosh was hugely resentful about many things relating to me and my behavior. Financially I'd crippled us, for example.

But as time passed, and I applied the program to the best of my ability, and Mrs Tosh saw that I was trying to be a better bloke, she not only softened towards me, but she - in turn - tried to be a better woman. It was funny how it all worked out; funny as in quite amazing.

We have a great relationship these days; we live together, we work together, and we play together. We love each other, as corny as that may sound.

For relationships, my favourate line in the Big Book is 'pause, when agitated', which I interpret to mean 'Tosh, just shut up, don't say a word, bite that tongue, shut up'. I'm kinda joking, but being serious too.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby Spirit Flower » Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:45 pm

We have a great relationship these days; we live together, we work together, and we play together. We love each other, as corny as that may sound.
run together...
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby Rooster » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:02 am

Tosh wrote:
Rooster wrote:Now, weeks later, the well is still dry but I accept that it may never be full again and I may never be able to draw on it again. I’m learning to live a changed life, effect the positive changes that I can and accept those that I cannot.


'Weeks' is a fairly short time-span, though HUGE when you're newly sober. Non alcoholics work to a different perception of time in early sobriety; it goes really fast for them, but very slowly for us. :lol:

From my own experience, yes, Mrs Tosh was hugely resentful about many things relating to me and my behavior. Financially I'd crippled us, for example.

But as time passed, and I applied the program to the best of my ability, and Mrs Tosh saw that I was trying to be a better bloke, she not only softened towards me, but she - in turn - tried to be a better woman. It was funny how it all worked out; funny as in quite amazing.

We have a great relationship these days; we live together, we work together, and we play together. We love each other, as corny as that may sound.

For relationships, my favourate line in the Big Book is 'pause, when agitated', which I interpret to mean 'Tosh, just shut up, don't say a word, bite that tongue, shut up'. I'm kinda joking, but being serious too.


That’s what I want for my marriage and that’s the hope I’m holding on to. Our marriage is in shambles and I have to constantly knock purely emotional thoughts out of my head in order to hold onto the last strands of our relationship. If it weren’t for AA I would have no one to talk to and either I or my marriage would likely be broken by now.

What I find most difficult is understanding why her resentful behaviour started more than a week after I took my last drink and started to attend AA meetings. Is she testing my resolve? Was she hoping that my alcoholism would be a blame-free way out of our dysfunctional relationship or is she experiencing a delayed response? A fellow in my AA group said “be patient, don’t push her into forgiving you” and I understand it will take time but it doesn’t seem like a normal reaction. Is this the result of divine architecture intended to strengthen my character?
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby Brock » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:31 am

Rooster wrote: Is this the result of divine architecture intended to strengthen my character?

I like that, for me to look at unpleasant happenings and believe I will grow from them, is a way to make them easier to accept, sort of ask myself ‘what can I learn from this.’ But sometimes I really find the need to question God a little and say ‘what did I do to deserve this lesson.’

It’s not impossible she was looking for a way out, I find I also tend to look for the worse case reason, the most negative. It’s one of those things that time will tell, but being a bit impatient myself, I might just ask in a nice way why are you still so upset with me, when you see I am making efforts to change for the benefit of our family. But then that sort of thing is for the individual to judge, I know how my wife would react to such a question, hopefully you know how yours might.
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby Rooster » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:12 am

Thanks for the kind words and suggestions Brock. I know her and our current situation well enough to know not to ask. To ask for something that I am not entitled to would literally enrage her. It’s not how I would like to think that I would react but I can’t be sure... and as much as I’d like to tell myself she’s being crazy, I believe that I likely deserve it. I spoke with her enough to try and inspire some hope for our situation in her but living with an alcoholic makes optimism and confidence rare resources in a relationship. Anyone who could blame an alcoholic’s spouse for using their anger and resentment to shield themselves from further disappointment likely does not have any first hand experience.

In the past I would fall back to alcohol to help me deal with all of the emotions that come along with situations like these, which I now understand is nothing short of idiotic, but what’s a person to do when your spouse sees this as a betrayal and you cannot handle the emotional turmoil? You join AA.

I’m feeling more confused, depressed and uncertain now that I ever have before. I have no idea how to handle the negative aspects of my life without alcohol to help me forget or ignore them and that scares the hell out of me but I have AA. For anyone that hasn’t gone it may not seem like it could make any differences and sometimes I harbour doubts that it will be enough but it always seems to be - just one little push from week to week through sobriety.

Before AA I wouldn’t have bet two cents that a bunch of people getting together in a room and talking about their experiences would help but it has an almost inexplicable way of making sense of what’s going on and inspiring hope - that’s something I’ll be forever grateful to the members of AA for.
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby PaigeB » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:33 am

What I find most difficult is understanding why her resentful behaviour started more than a week after I took my last drink and started to attend AA meetings.

A lot of normal folk think we are just trading addictions and they still are not getting attention they want. You might suggest she attend an Open Meeting with you or find a meeting of her own http://al-anon.org/

Another thing? It might be that she is feeling "safe" to express her long standing resentments. Maybe it is that you are only able to notice this now that you are sober...

And the BB says: Page 83 ... "We have to live it. Unless one's family expresses a desire to live upon spiritual principles we think we ought not to urge them. We should not talk incessantly to them about spiritual matters. ... We must remember that ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone."

Keep trudging... (last line pg 164)
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby Rooster » Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:10 pm

PaigeB wrote:A lot of normal folk think we are just trading addictions and they still are not getting attention they want. You might suggest she attend an Open Meeting with you or find a meeting of her own http://al-anon.org/

Another thing? It might be that she is feeling "safe" to express her long standing resentments. Maybe it is that you are only able to notice this now that you are sober...

And the BB says: Page 83 ... "We have to live it. Unless one's family expresses a desire to live upon spiritual principles we think we ought not to urge them. We should not talk incessantly to them about spiritual matters. ... We must remember that ten or twenty years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone."

Keep trudging... (last line pg 164)


Thanks for the reply Paige. Once I’ve attended an open meeting I’ll give that some more thought.
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Re: Forgiveness

Postby Tosh » Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:22 am

Rooster wrote:That’s what I want for my marriage and that’s the hope I’m holding on to.


Some things take time. I'd drank for years, I'd harmed my family in more ways that I know; it's hard to be trusted again after all that.

And emotionally I was still hyper sensitive and anxious. Even with a sponsor and the 12 Step program that takes time to reduce too. It can't be easy living with someone like that.

Don't get me wrong, I'm far from perfect. I remember arguments when she shouted at me "You haven't changed a bit!" But the truth was I was trying, and trying hard. I'd be as kind, patient, understanding and supportive as I could (which wasn't all the time). And I'd 'pause, when agitated', when I could.

It's a 'practice' (practice these principles), and the word infers that we're going to make mistakes and get it wrong. The 10th Step also infers that getting it wrong is part of the journey.

Be patient; it may take some months or even a bit longer, or a lot longer, to get near to where you'd like to be. And it'll happen in stages; relationships develop and change as we develop and change.

It probably took a few years just for me to stop being blamed for every misfortune and having the old stuff thrown back at me. :lol:
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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