Amends and infidelity

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.
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CollieFlower
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Amends and infidelity

Post by CollieFlower »

My husband of 21 years and the father of my two children (18 and 15) has been clean and sober for nearly 2 years. I am yet to receive amends from him as he says he holds resentments towards me that he can't deal with and will be going to therapy in the near future to see if that will help him deal with said resentment (to note the resentments are due to my response to his alcoholism and addiction, mainly a lack of affection and sex, and we overcame this in his sobriety). He has recently made amends to an ex girlfriend (25 years ago) who has welcomed the amends so much they are now sleeping together and he has left me for her (she had recently split from her spouse). I am devastated. I am working the steps through Al-Anon to recover from his alcoholism and addiction. I was very nearly ready to make amends to him but I can't now due to the new harm he is causing me. I'm struggling to understand what he is doing. Will his infidelity during sobriety also need to be covered in his amends to me? Will I ever even get amends? I feel so betrayed by the amends process. He was faithful to me throughout his active alcoholism and addiction but has now cheated on me during recovery and won't engage with me at all. It feels all wrong.
Last edited by CollieFlower on Fri May 14, 2021 3:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PaigeB
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Re: Amends and infidelity

Post by PaigeB »

What a crappy situation. I am sorry you are going through this. But good news. You don't have to put up with anything he does, good or bad. You are free to make your own choices! In that same sense, you will probably want to delay amends to him and reassess later when the frying pan is not in the fire. I imagine I would have my sponsee wait and also do a 1-8 on this whole situation later THEN maybe make amends. I would get them into some service work too. What does your Alanon sponsor say?

You don't OWE him anything. We do amends because we want to and because we know it to be good for US.

Bless you Friend. Keep the Faith. Something good will come of this Hell you are going through. I say that because that is my own experience. The sun ALWAYS comes out and the pain gets less and then one day I See that I am free to choose. I can ACT in my own best interest and even help others... and not worry about what other people think or want from me. I mean, God's Will will become apparent and I will SEE.

I pray for your Peace.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB
Lavender
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Re: Amends and infidelity

Post by Lavender »

Hi Collieflower

so sorry to hear what you are going through. Infidelity according to me is something completely on its own and not linked to alcoholism or sobriety. The sad part however is that you stood by him when times were tough and the minute life became better he went on his own without any regard to what youve done for him or how it will affect your feelings.

Personally i would cut him off. No amends from your side needed as you are not the one who walked out on the relationship but as Paige suggested give it time.

|They say time heals all wounds but i find the scars remain. Something good will, however come from this even if its just to say goodbye to bad rubbish.

Lots of love and light

blue Lavender
Nothing can dim the Light that shines within you
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DaveP1951
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Re: Amends and infidelity

Post by DaveP1951 »

I have had a number of instances in my 40 some years of sobriety where I was faced with whether to make an amend or not. One in particular stands out in my mind. It involved a person I worked with who was one of the least "live and let live" people I have ever known. When it came to his relationship with my self, as well as other people, his anger over the simplest things that may have happened in the past made him unapproachable.
I struggled with how to handle this situation until one day this quote from Step eight in the AA book the 12x12 jumped off the page. It deals with making amends and goes "that we may develop the best possible relations with every human being we know.” That quote sums up what the intent of making amends is about. That we may have the best possible relationship with everyone we know.
Perhaps, in your case, the best possible relationship you can have with your husband is the one you are having now. Sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie.
Indianapolis
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Re: Amends and infidelity

Post by Indianapolis »

It's a challenging thing whenever an Al-Anon'er wants advice on alcoholism from a bunch of alcoholics.

I don't have great al-anon advice. But, I'll say that my wife also had some "expectations" about when and how she'd get amends from me. She was disappointed. My sponsor suggested that some of my possible amends to her shouldn't be made ("except when to do so would injure them or others") and that some other amends should be handled through "living" amends. Therefore, my wife didn't get the big glorious bag of amends that I think she'd hoped for.

I've heard similar stories from other alcoholics with spouses. Spouses seem to get an expectation that they're entitled to some marvelous "day of reckoning", and often that day fails to come or live up to their fantasy.

I suspect all of this is discussed in Al-Anon rooms. As the alcoholic, and speaking from my own experience, all I can offer is that I did the 9th step exactly as I was told to do so by my sponsor. If my wife was or is still disappointed (as I know she was, from various chats we've had), curing that disappointment is not my obligation.
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enaid
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Re: Amends and infidelity

Post by enaid »

I have to say number one that he does not sound like a keeper ! Would it be possible to think of this as a learning experience that life has put you through?

I was in a domestic abuse situation with another alcoholic and even though it was a nightmare, I grew from the experience once I achieved separation. And even before separating from him I was slowly growing and learning about my personal rights and what I don’t have to put with in life.

Best luck to you dealing with the emotional fall out of what you’ve been through. I used therapy and support groups to help me during and after my bad experience.

Best luck and blessings ! :)
:)
DaveP1951
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Re: Amends and infidelity

Post by DaveP1951 »

I've heard similar stories from other alcoholics with spouses. Spouses seem to get an expectation that they're entitled to some marvelous "day of reckoning", and often that day fails to come or live up to their fantasy.

A blunt and to the point statement for sure. And, you know, sometimes that is just what a person needs to hear. No sugar coating, no sprinkles, and no icing smeared on top. A little harder to swallow and a little less enjoyable but the truth just the same.
CollieFlower
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Re: Amends and infidelity

Post by CollieFlower »

I have been in a relationship with an alcoholic and addict for long enough to know not to have unrealistic expectations. I just had hoped one day I would get an expression of gratitude for supporting him, keeping a home together and continuing security for our children but looks like I’m unlikely to even get that now. As an active alcoholic and addict he was still very much a family man and for all his flaws and defects, me and the kids were important to him and were sheltered from the worst of his behaviour, recovery seems to have turned him into a very different person and is resulting in him behaving in a way that just creates more (and worse) things for him that he one day may need to make amends for. He has never been unfaithful until now and his kids were his pride and joy but they barely see him as he is either at the gym, with friends (he has disengaged from any long term close mutual friends and is only engaging with people I do not know) or sleeping with his ex (the relationship is purely physical and he said he has no intention of enabling her is his recovery).
I’m not in contact with him now but he has told our children his mind is pickled, he’s not working steps and is pulling back from meetings. He’s also not contributing financially but is spending money like there is no tomorrow on treats for himself. It’s like recovery has sparked an emotional breakdown. I am detached from him and his problems now but I still worry as we are married, have financial commitments together and have children. That doesn’t go away just because he has left the family home. It seems to me he is self fixing on things that make him feel good and can’t think about his responsibilities and recovery. I’ll get my strength by continuing to focus on my own recovery and be there to support my kids when his ‘recovery’ bubble bursts.
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enaid
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Re: Amends and infidelity

Post by enaid »

I think when a person stops drinking without a recovery program, all kind of mayhem ensues and it sounds like that is exactly what it’s like now days for you and your family. He’s off and gone into whatever species of addictive behavior he can drum up to substitute for the alcohol in his life.
:)
Still_Sober
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Re: Amends and infidelity

Post by Still_Sober »

I want to bluntly tell the OP that her husband's amends are not about her. We alcoholics make amends for ourselves. Often our amends help to mend relationships, but not always, or not immediately. I can't say why your husband has yet to make amends to you. We also learn that often times when we are harmed that we still owe an amends for our actions, even when the harm we caused is so much less than the harm received.

It is apparent that the OP is still hurt. The 12-steps don't fix everything. Sometimes professional help is necessary. It certainly won't hurt for the OP to talk to her husband about this.

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Patsy©
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Re: Amends and infidelity

Post by Patsy© »

Hi Collieflower,

I am sorry to hear what has happened in your marriage, that is truly sad. I would strongly suggest getting an Al-Anon Sponsor, attending many Al-Anon Meetings and asking for help.

Quote Collieflower:
"I am working the steps through Al-Anon to recover from his alcoholism and addiction. I was very nearly ready to make amends to him but I can't now due to the new harm he is causing me. I'm struggling to understand what he is doing."
We do not work the 12 Steps in Al-Anon for anyone but ourselves. We do not make amends for the other persons sake, we make amends for ourselves, so that we may move forward with a clean slate, whether the other person chooses to move forward or not. We do not have any control over who, when or even if someone else makes amends, but we sure do have control over when or if we ourselves make an amends.

Please, take the focus off your husband and what he is doing or not doing and put it on the only thing that you can do anything about in Reality. Is that easy? No, but focusing on him is accomplishing only one thing, its taking the focus off of you and your own recovery.

Wishing you the best,
Patsy©
Failed 12 Step Call? Not if we walk away sober!
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