Amends go wrong

Amends go wrong – Big mouth strikes again in AA

Just saw this in the New York times. Just shows how stupid some people are when it come to practising the steps of AA. Here is a great step 9! Now the person who was mentioned in the amends, has to make amends, for something that happened years ago! I wish more people would go to Smart!

I have copied it here as I am sure many will like this!

Years ago, as an unmarried woman, I lived with a man but had a brief affair with a younger man while we were together. My partner never knew about it — really — and we stayed together for many years. Ultimately, we broke up but remain friends. Recently, my former partner received an “amends letter” from my young fling, who is now in a 12-step recovery program. (Apologizing to those you have wronged is one of the steps.) In his letter, he outed me by apologizing for our affair. This has caused significant awkwardness in my friendship with my former lover. Does the fling’s recovery trump my private life?

Anonymous, New York

Many of us have witnessed the terrible price of addiction at close range. But you, my friend, may be the first piece of road kill I have ever spotted on the route to recovery. Of course your fling should not have implicated you in his apology. That’s common sense. We don’t reduce our naughty footprint in the world by sowing more naughtiness. (Will your fling now write you an amends letter?)

Even a cursory glance at the 12 steps makes this clear: Make direct amends to those you have harmed, except where doing so would injure them or others. (Hello, “other.”) And several commentaries provide an elegant solution for all of us called “Living Amends,” which advocates an amends-maker’s upright behavior in the future (by behaving more honorably toward your former lover, for instance, or not sleeping with people in relationships) as an alternative to inappropriate apologies.

But the question for you is: Now what? Try making your own amends. Apologize to your former partner and ask his forgiveness. And don’t scapegoat the poor guy in recovery too much. You did have an affair, after all. As Diane Keaton (sort of) reminded us in her strangely winsome serenade to Woody Allen at the Golden Globes: Some friends are silver, and others have big mouths.


Commenting area

  1. Isn’t that the most ignorant thing ever? You are right that is a classic; having to make “amends” for someone else making amends. And I do not consider “amends” to be true apologies at all. It is an exercise one obediently undertakes as a minion of the 12 step mind numbing sect. Most of them are far to arrogant and busy telling themselves and one another that they are “miracles” to truly be sorry for anything.

  2. Having read quite a bit about Bill W. when I first tried AA, I always suspected he put the amends exception (expect where doing so would injure others) so he wouldn’t have to confess his many affairs to his wife Lois!

  3. People often have a rigid interpretation of the steps and follow them like a robot, especially if they have a strict sponsor. They cannot think for themselves and have little common sense. Bill Wilson was not a great example of how to live life a decent way. He behaved worse in sobriety that most people did when they were drunk. His program is not aimed at people that have “overdone” the wine after pressure at home or work.

  4. Rowland Cheatham January 30, 2014 at 11:33 am · · Reply

    I’ve even heard of sponsors telling people that if going to prison results as a consequence of 9th step amends, so be it. Sheer lunacy. As in how much good can a person do for themselves or others in prison? This is not to say I condone criminal behavior .I’m just illustrating the absurdity of the 12 step sheeples “spirituality.” Wilson was not selling recovery. He was selling his own deeply buried guilt and shame projected onto other via the steps. And indeed it is very sad to me that so many people are still buying into this BS. Mindfulness and loving oneself are the alternatives I have come up with for myself. And putting much energy into exercise and the talents I possess. Changing the diet. Avoiding negative people. Which for me means staying the hell out of AA/NA and the lot of ’em.

  5. Rowland Cheatham January 30, 2014 at 12:23 pm · · Reply

    so there ya have it…my point exactly….

  6. For the person on the receiving end of an amends based apology it can be very confusing. It was not until I learned about the 12 steps a few years ago that it dawned on me that someone I knew in the past had made what I now believe to be a 12 step amend apology. It just came out of left field and it left me with more questions than answers. It makes more sense to me now.

    It seems AA takes a basic principle of taking responsibility for ones actions and twists it and turned into what is nothing less than a perverted practice to get people to confess their sins in the first place.

  7. A webiste critical of a helpful group. pretty sure america is a better place with 12 step groups.

    • Its more about promoting useful alternatives to the old fashioned 12 step solution that fails to motivate most people who try it.
      I made use of AA and am greatful it was there, but it certainly is not a complete solution and is out of date.

  8. Thanks for finally talking about > Recovering-from-Recovery Amends go wrong, step 9 AA disaster < Loved it!

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