Yeah, the sponsor was a complete jerk too. There are plenty of upsides to AA being a completely non-professional organization, but some real downsides as well. Pretty much anyone can be a sponsor if someone else is willing to have him/her.
It’s not totally out of the question in this situation that the sponsor was less a legitimate sponsor and more someone who was a friend of the family/hired gun/owed Daddy a favor who was charged with powering Sonny Boy through the process and/or preventing further incidents. Very little about Sonny Boy’s behavior indicated genuine change or awareness that his behavior was some kind of a problem.
I’m sorry this happened to you, but this is seriously the best drunk ex-boyfriend story ever.
Do I owe you amends for saying that?
Oh dear. It sounds like the whole family was pretty unclear on the concept. Of all the things you can power through, at gunpoint or not, AA ain’t one of them.
In retrospect it’s pretty entertaining, but on the evening I was terrified! I didn’t even recognize who it was until I was already locked in the bathroom. It’s not like he’d ever had a key to my place - he broke one of the windows near the door and reached in to get at the deadbolt latch. Once I’d put some pants on I went from terrified to raging pissed, which went straight to apoplectic fury when I realized he’d stolen my purse and goddamn car. Which I discovered when I was leaving the house in a towering fury to go file a freaking report with the cops.
To be fair, until I read the OP, I hadn’t even thought about it in years I sort of have it mentally filed as “Unfortunate Dating Decisions Of Yore”. It’s not even the worst - just one of the silliest.
When my younger brother was about 12-13 he was owed about $20 by a classmate. He spent a lot of effort trying to get the guy to pay up and the guy blew him off. About 10 years later the guy called him up out of the blue, saying he was getting married and wanted to start his new life with a clean slate and wanted to pay. I don’t recall for certain whether my brother accepted the money - I think not - but he was ticked anyway at what he thought was “cheap grace”. This guy took the $20 from him at a time in his life when that amount of money really meant something to him, and caused him a lot of grief. Now he wanted to wipe the slate clean by paying it back at a time when they were both on vastly different financial footings, and the $20 meant very little to either of them.
The irony of it was that the classmate’s brother grew up to become a world class swindler (approximately $200M, counting just what was known to the court) and my brother, who is now an attorney, represented several of his victims, pursuing the guy relentlessly.
I once got an email out of the blue from a guy whose name i didn’t recognize apologizing for “how i treated you in college”.
I obviously don’t remember what he did to me.
I wrote back accepting the apology. I figured it was no skin off my nose. Let bygones be bygones.
(He got my email address because i sent a note to my whole college class as part of planning for a reunion. He replied to that note. So i believe it was a legitimate email, and not random phishing spam.)
Guess what? My personal direct and one-person-removed experience is not a misconception, it is the actual experience that I have had. In my experience THERE IS very much an us vs. them mentality. The ‘we’re bonding over shared experience’ isn’t bad in and of itself, but if you go to the program and don’t agree that it’s the first set of people where you felt like you belong, then you get a ton of peer pressure to change your mind. The stuff that goes on often comes off as rather cultlike, especially with the emphasis on surrendering to a higher power. Yes, yes, technically it says somewhere that the higher power doesn’t technically have to be religious, but the practice is much more religious, at least in all the programs I’ve heard about.
AAers do have a tendency to outright dismiss anything people not in AA say that doesn’t fit their preconceived notions - like you’ve done with me here. I’ve had one of the die-hard types try to convince me, a person who often goes for months without drinking just because it didn’t come up, that I was an alcoholic because I had something like 8 drinks over 3 days.
A former partner of mine helped out a recovering alcoholic who was told by the court “you will go into and stay in this treatment program or you will go to jail”. He had to go to their facility and follow their rules, one of which was attending AA meetings and making progress. So yes, he attended AA because a court told him to, and yes he did do the steps. It may not be whatever specific court procedure you’re thinking of, but you’re the only one who used the specific phrasing ‘forced to by a court order’.
Somebody is making amends because a court forced them to, and I suspect the example I knew is not unique.
You might need to start an “Ask the…” thread here. These have got to be some good stories!
Had pretty much the same experience. Co-worker in my car driving back to the office after a visit to a client, started ragging on me about me being an alcoholic because I had TWO drinks at a company party the week before - my first drinks in a month or so. And of course, my denials just made his case stronger! :rolleyes:
I dunno, no one has ever come to me to ‘make amends’ due to a 12-step program. On my part, I would have a very hard time with it primarily for the ‘reopening old wounds’ thing mentioned above by others, but also because the basis of 12-step AA programs are that you have to admit that you’re powerless over your addiction (WRONG!) and ask your higher power for help. Seems entirely the wrong kind of thinking to have in your head if you are truly sincere in apologizing for your own behavior.
I had a friend, former at the time, who was making amends, apologize for a fight she picked with me when she was drunk, the crux of which was I “wasn’t there for her.” I’m really still not even sure what I did. I do know that when she was drinking, her girlfriend decided she had to get out NOW, and slept on my couch for a week. After she had been sober for a number of years, we became friendly acquaintances again, and she sort of re-apologized in an off-handed way for butting into my life regarding the fight, something, something, she didn’t do a very good job making her amends.
Apparently she tried to make amends with the girlfriend who was sleeping on my couch, by just stopping by one afternoon, and the ex called the police.
I once had someone, not an AA situation, just someone I’d been forced to deal with over a weekend seminar be a total asshole to me for no apparent reason.
At the end of the last day, she came to apologize to me IF I was Jewish. She said maybe her problem with me was a “cultural clash,” if I was Jewish, and she needed to be more sensitive-- which I guess means that if I were a gentile, I was just a jerk, in her opinion? I refused to tell her whether I was Jewish or now, which royally pissed her off. So I guess now she hates me, Jewish or not.
Pffffft. I can’t be the only one among us that keeps an “Unfortunate Dating Decisions of Yore” file in their head! Who among us makes wise romantic decisions in their teens and early 20’s?
To be fair, I didn’t date Mister Amendinator for very long. To be totally honest, I’d gotten shut of him before mutual nakedness had occurred, so I’m not totally sure where the “maybe climbing naked into my ex-girlfriend’s bed will make her take me back” notion came from. Perhaps he thought the magic of his penis would do the trick? Possibly he thought the problem was my previous lack of magic weiner and all he had to do was remedy that egregious lack? It’s a puzzle.
Okay. My experience has been different.
Everyone seems to forget that no one person or group or meeting group speaks for AA. We have ‘nutters’ and cranky butts just like all the other groups of people in what ever setting they have.
People who are not in a recovery program of whatever type only see a few or one group and think that all AA or NA or
CA or OA or paid rehab or jail detox or hospital detox or recovery on will power or from sitting on a stump or going to yoga is what is the complete information. I have been in recovery for a while and as a pilot I have been to a very large number of meeting all over the country of many types.
Most big towns have many of all kinds. I have had ‘home’ groups and been a nomad, have had sponsors and done some sponsoring. Been a speaker at big meetings and what all this has taught me is that there is not one way.
Anyone who says that AA or church or sitting on a stump or will power is what must be used to get to recovery just shows that they do not have a clue.
I have seen many die from their addiction, many relapse after many years of being sober, etc., etc…
I know a lady who has been sober & happy for over 50 years.
Just not drinking or drugging is not sobriety. "Not using " are not the same words as ‘sobriety’ and many who are just ‘not using’ have no sobriety.
Also, the 'Big Book of AA is not a rule book. AA does not have rules. Anyone who says that does not know or understand the AA 12 step program.
Millions of amends have been made that you don’t hear about. The bad ones or the ones like we are hearing about in this thread are not the norm nor the majority.
A very big subject and just glancing contact with a few people does not tell you anything except your reaction to one person or small group of cranky old men.
On what basis are you determining that the experiences recounted in this thread aren’t the norm nor the majority?
I am not anyone in AA. I’ve never drunk in my life. But you shat on a whole organization for a single experience, and are shitting all over people here. You clearly hate people who were in AA, and have no problem treating them like crap.
So of course people are going to be dismissive.
This. Doubly unpleasant at Christmas.
The talks & shares & history of people ( thousands I have personally heard and my own experiences ) that 25 years of AA with many thousands of meetings attended all over the country, as I noted in my post, been doing the AA thing for a while.
There are millions of recovering drunks in AA alone and then you can add in the successful CA, NA, etc. folks and it seems odd that all of these would be like the losers that are in the recounting of this thread.
Many people are not successful at long term sobriety, ie, years of continuous sobriety and it last until you die, that is a successful recovery. If you ain’t dead, you are not done with working on your recovery but this is just one opinion, held by many but there are no rules so join and learn.
Also, the stories related in here are not real ‘making amends’ IMO. Note,** IMO**… No rules or speaking for AA.
How would you even keep stats on something like this?
I feel obliged to point out that you’re basing your assertion on the viewpoint of having been the person on the giving amends side - and speaking with others who were on the giving amends side, rather than on the side of receiving amends. The OP’s initial hypothesis was that the giving amends is primarily for the benefit of the giver, not the recipient - which has been the experience of a few of us who posted here. So you’re viewing this through the lens of the giver - have you done much consideration about the feelings and needs of the intended recipient?
I know this sucks to hear as a person in recovery, but quite often, the only goddamn thing the person you injured through your addiction wants from you is your strict and continuous absence from their life.
I took a fairly dramatic stand about amends - but the jackhole who owed them to me was fairly extreme in his asshattery. If he’d been any less of a jerk about the whole thing, it is highly likely that in the name of good manners and civil behavior, I’d have sat through the coffee meeting for amends with a polite expression on my face, agreed that the person in recovery could have my forgiveness because that’s the sort of thing civilized people do when they’re being apologized at, and then gone on my way and hoped to Hell never to hear their name again.
Viewed from the perspective of the person to whom amends are being tendered, that person is being expected to give more of their time to someone who has demonstrated they are at least somewhat likely to abuse any favor given, almost certainly be obliged to endure a retelling of the sins committed against them (with all the attendant joy of being sucked right back into what was almost certainly not a good point in their own life), and common courtesy dictates they accept the apology, regardless of their actual feelings on the subject (Yes, I know they don’t have to, but many, many people feel like they are, themselves, being jerks if they refuse to accept an apology). All this for the benefit of someone who’s already treated them poorly enough to require the amends in the first place.
This is, at the very best, an imposition. I realize that the accepted wisdom is that this amends process helps the person owed amends find closure - but the thing is, a lot of people who are owed amends aren’t searching for closure - or have found it in the total absence of the person in recovery.
There’s a real difference between making amends to people who are still in your life - or who you happen to run across at a later time - and hunting down all the random people you wronged and badgering them to help you check your Step 8/9 box off so you feel better. Like it or not, there’s a whole lot of the latter going on - a fair amount of it probably even well-meaning. Even if people are gracious about tolerating being badgered about amends, that doesn’t make doing it compassionate or anything other than profoundly selfish.
I’ve heard lots of good amends stories too, but always from the point of view of the drunk. So this thread has been enlightening for me, whatever the norm is.
ETA: I cross-posted with Aangelica.