Friday, August 29, 2008

Twisted Relationship

"But it is from our twisted relationships with family, friends, and society at large that many of us have suffered the most."  -- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 53

In the last few days I have been the recipient of several apologies.  At work, at home, and in cyberspace.  I am not a real easy person to apologize to probably.  And let me tell you why:

When I did the 9th step for the first time ever, I asked my sponsor where I should begin with my amends.  Thank God she did not say something you might hear now, like "with yourself," because I have found that when a person starts the amends list with themselves, they tend to never move past that name.... but I digress.  She told me to start with the hardest one.  To start with the person I was most dreading approaching.  So I did.  I called my sister-in-law.  I told her I wanted to talk.  It was clear that all she would give me was a phone call, so I went ahead and told her what I needed to.

In my book she did not accept my amends.   For every thing I told her, she said "oh, you did not," "no, that never happened," etc.  She denied everything I tried to amend.  I could not make amends for things that never happened.  I did, however, try.  That is all we can do.  We can be willing and make that clear to the other person.  I tried.  And when she died in 1999, I was so incredibly glad that I had at least tried.  

So - when someone apologizes, or makes amends for something, I have occasionally told them that I feel no amends are necessary.   But more likely, I will accept their amends and I may even tell them more.  I will not deny I was hurt if I was hurt.  I don't think that serves anyone.  It would be far easier to just say that everything is fine, no harm done.  But that is not usually the case.  I think it is important for alcoholics to be able to see how we hurt one another.  We do it casually.  I think, as a class, we are people with low self-esteem.  I think there are few people as dangerous as people with low self-esteem... we think we don't count, so how could our actions actually matter to people, how can little-old-us hurt anyone?  Well, we can, and we do. 

As a person with long term sobriety, sometimes I feel that I have a target painted on me.  People seem to love to pick on that.  I am not behaving the way they think I should.  Well, I am not one who says that I have all the answers.  I am not one who says that I have all YOUR answers.  I do not wax too philosophically here in my blog or in person.  I pretty much stick to my own experience, strength, and hope.  So what I share here is not usually esoteric opinions, or ideas.  I am sharing my life.  When someone picks on that it does hurt.  

I think if I behaved as if I had all the answers due to my length of time of sobriety, I would deserve to be picked on... really, I do.  I think if I wrote about generalities about what people ought to be doing, I would deserve to be picked on... really, I do.  

But what I am doing is sharing my own experience, strength, and hope.   

In the words of one of my favorite philosophers:
"Can we all get along?"  -- Rodney King, May 1, 1992


AlkySeltzer said...

Very interesting blog entry today, Mary. I see no reason in the world why we cannot all get along.

Of course, I, and you, and others, must continually put to use this program, these principles, our Twelve Steps--with our Traditions thrown into the mix.

What does it say? "Practice these principles in all our affairs".

Peace to all, and this means also you, Mary Christine. And love!

Pam said...

Well, I guess that one of us has to be the know it all-and since you won't take the position, I will ;)
I feel uncomfortable when someone thinks I should be able to get past something faster than someone with less time....jeeze I'm still afflicted with warped thinking also.
Enjoy your friday darlin'.

AlkySeltzer said...

Sorry--please excuse the double-dipping here:

Also...that was a beautiful photo of your ribeye the other evening. I thought the next day we'd be pleasured(?) with a picture of the empty, unwashed dishes, still on the table. (Didnt' "dirtydishes" change her URL ID?

dAAve said...

I hear ya.

Rodney was such a philosopher. Especially during his multiple arrests since 1992.

Trailboss said...

Good ole Rodney. Have a wonderful weekend MC.

Further on up the road said...

Thanks for being here today - I'm a struggling recovering alcoholic right now - not that I'm drinking just my head is not in a space I feel comfortable with.

wendy said...

Thank you so much for sharing what you did today.

I just went through an experience with someone who has more time than I do telling me how I should act, react, behave, move on, etc based on where I was when I got to AA. After I shared with some other people I was reminded that AA is meant to be loving and kind, not punitive and judgmental.

have a good Friday and weekend.

Banana Girl said...

MC, Two things are true for me today: I should never try to be funny; it never works. I don't have any answers for you and the only ones I have today are those I consciously sought from God. (I can't be funny with Him either.)
I have so much to learn from you and am simply grateful for the opportunity. J.

Anonymous said...

I understand where you are coming from, not because I have anywhere near the length of sobriety that you have, but because my sponsor is constantly telling me that she is a sick alcoholic just like me and she is not perfect, makes mistakes, and is still learning too. We must always remain willing and teachable.

Syd said...

I think accepting others for who they are is a great asset, just as I find being judgmental a character defect. Long-term sobriety or long-term anything is great as long as we are willing to keep learning, listening, and doing what needs to be done for our peace and serenity. I appreciate that you share your E, S, and H.

recoveryroad said...

Good and strong. Thank you.

I agree 100% about making amends, and amends to oneself. Great post.

Scott W said...

I don't want all the answers, that is too much responsibility for me.

I agree about most alcoholics having low self-esteem. I think that is true of the population at large. Our society, culture and religions tell us we are not good enough.

I also agree with you about not making amends to ourselves first, that is putting us ahead of others.

Zanejabbers said...

MC, thanks for a thought provoking post today.

veganmama said...

Completely unrelated, but... you've been nominated for bloggy love. Have a great weekend!