Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Not-So-Good Old Days

June 2004

When I was 9 months sober, I got to Step 9 with my sponsor.
Time to make some amends.

We had only identified 3 major amends that I needed to make with others. One of those was with Hayden, my partner (actually, ex-partner at the time). He was living back in Trinidad and we communicated very little. I had some very strong resentments toward him.

But, in good AA fashion with the help of my sponsor, I made those amends (via email). Also, true to form, I asked him what I could do to make right some or any of the wrongs I had done him during those drinking days. His response was simple. "Just don't treat me that way any more."


September 2006

Hayden is back in Houston visiting for the first time. We make the decision to rekindle our relationship. I've changed. I have changed a lot. I have not, however, been in any intimate relationships since sober. My character defects come leaping out of hibernation. At first, very slowly. But as the months have progressed, new character flaws have emerged that I have never been aware of previously.

September 2007

As I type this today, we are on the rebound (once again) and love each other more than ever. My craziness (insanity?) flourishes. My words and actions seem to bounce off him. He often points out to me that in spite of my behavior, he is still here and has no intention of leaving me.

My problem is this : I repeatedly break the amends I made to Hayden back in 2004. Those amends have become hollow words to me. For this, I am now beating myself up. It makes me wonder why I can't stay true to those amends. I know I'm not perfect; far from it. I know it's all about progress, not perfection. I also know I need to discuss this with my sponsor and most likely work some steps on this.

Comments? Suggestions?


Mary Christine said...

Please talk to your sponsor. My take is: you may have made promises that you are not able to keep. And if you are not able, you are not able. This is the kind of stuff that gets us into deep trouble, please take care of YOURSELF. I love you.

lushgurl said...

Hi dAAve, wow, I am kinda in both of your shoes today! I may post about it too!
As the recovering alcoholic, I too have hurt AAngel many times. In my quest to make amends to her I tell myself that I will look into her eyes and know that I love her unconditionally. In so loving her I can no longer-in good conscious- say or do anything to intentionally hurt her. Yeah, it's tough sometimes, but well worth it!
As the person who has been verbally and physically attacked so many times, I tell AAngel that I will not tolerate abusive behavior in any form- because we don't intentionally hurt the ones we love. I do my best to show her that I love and value myself enough to not tolerate bad behaviour directed at me...
Crap- I told ya I should post about it!!!
Anyway, I hope you guys can just love each other through the tough times- just practice loving YOU first!
Love ya dAAve

peanut said...

Dear dAAve,

You are brave and honest. A man of good character and honorable.

Man-kind has always hurt the ones they love most. Perhaps, because we can because they are supposed to love us the most.

Words are just words. Living amends, now that is the stuff that separates men from boys.

I take my hat off to anyone who even tries to connect with another in an intimate "couple-ship." I know my limitations today. I have tried and failed, I have been willing to give, bend, change, hush, compromise, communicate, over-look, merge, etc. I have absolutely nothing to show for the struggles of several "relationships."

I know the "mechanics" of it, I simply fail at the "hands-on," day to day application.

At 57, I have built a life alone. Sometimes I feel lonely but, I don't miss the tears and disapointments, arguing or feeling "alone" with someone I'm supposed to be "with."

I'm a confirmed bachelorette.
God Bless

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

What you are really saying, is why can't I live up to the standards I WANT to achieve, when I decide that I want to achieve those goals?

Easy. The OUTCOME is none of our business.
We paddle GOD steers.
I did a post about this called: Are you being a Control Freak with your Character Defects?: "The more we fought and tried to have our own way, the worse matters got." p66

I made NO promises as part of my step 9. Mine consisted of explaining the harms done as I had come to understand it, and the effect this must have had on them , followed by asking their forgiveness. As in:
5. We ask for forgiveness for these and any harms that we may have done and invite them to say so if they feel there any harms we have not mentioned or forgotten about. Then wait until they respond. Let them finish anything they want to say. Then ask for forgiveness for any additional harms done as well. We do not say we are sorry. “A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won’t fit the bill at all.” {p83}, in the example of a man making amends to his wife we say it was suggested that he “ask for forgiveness”, {p83} Note, we ask for forgiveness. We cannot demand it. So, if they are unable to forgive us, then we must accept the fact. Some will not be able to.
From Step 9 as described by a guy in my old home group who did the steps the same as me. Ish.

Regarding your ability to act or behave in any particular way:
"Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power."

"We found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried. We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn´t there. Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly."

Yeah self knowledge doesn't work. At all, neither does will power.
All these 'bad' things you describe, as just HABITS. Like any habit, they take time to UN do.
Rome wasn't built in a day.
Do not be discouraged. We are NOT saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Don't worry Daave. You are FAR more average than you realize.
Remind me of the song Beautiful day
"take me to that other place
Reach me, I know I'm not a hopeless case"
"You're out of luck and the reason that you had to care,
The traffic is stuck and you're not moving anywhere."

Don't worry daave, it gets better. Just takes a while. Just do your lousy best. Works for me!

Piglet said...

it is frustrating b/c you think once you make amends, you won't do same behaviors anymore. some things are harder than others to recover from. relationships with other people is very much like into a mirror and it forces us to look at ourselves. my brain will find any reason in the world to not look at itself.

al-anon in tandem with aa has been an incredible experience for me. the biggest part is how i deal with other people, not just active alcoholics in my life.

not sure about your area, but we have a lot of double winners doing the deal and getting great results.

best to you, you are not alone.