- Hmmmm! living amends?

Hmmmm! living amends?

12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.

Hmmmm! living amends?

Postby thestudent » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:16 pm

I have been running into this alot lately in meetings and working with others that have been sponsered by someone before me.. I am a what they call a "big book nazi" and I am pretty sure it says nothing or even eludes to a living amends. I am pretty sure DIRECT amends means just that.. Am I way off base? any feed back on this

Jason M.
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Postby gunner48 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:33 pm

Hi Jason

In my big book it does not talk about living admends. It talks of admends on
1. page 8 para 1
2. page 59 para 3 twice
3. page 69 para 4
4. page 76 para 3
5. page 84 para 3
I often wonder if people who say living admends are referring to not causing harm in the present.
So I agree with you the word fairy hasn't gotten to my book either with living admends.

Peace and Love Gunner
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Postby thestudent » Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:48 pm

Thanks gunner.. You know they say the book changes everytime you read it. I here alot of people throwing this phrase around and I see as them not wanting to go face to face with those they have caused harm to.
My sponsor drove me to all the people that was on my list and helped me with the courage to do the right. I made DIRECT amends to all I could those that could not be seen I wrote an honest letter and was ready to give that amends when the oppurtunity arised. one of those happened at a Garth Brooks concert in seattle 4hrs away from home. The books says we MUST be willing no matter what (except when to do so would hurt them and others) We are not them or others.
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Postby Tim » Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:04 am

It is unfortunate that the term Nazi is used to described someone who is more aptly called a literalist. The Nazis were evil. No one who takes the AA Big Book literally is evil.

While the term 'living amends' may be used by some to skirt needed direct amends, and is not used in the Big Book, I think it can be a good way to describe our way of life in sobriety.

One meaning of amend is to put right or correct, as in Step Nine's "direct amends". Another meaning is to change for the better, to improve.

In the second sense of the word, all of us who seek to live sober, whole lives make 'living amends' each day.
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Postby Ranman99 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:25 am

Good thread. The way I view it in terms of this walking amends or living amends my wife is the best example. I made an eye ball to eye ball verbal amends twice in my recovery career as I had to go back to step 1 at one time(since she knew me, actually now that I think of it two times, so I think you get the jist). The walking part is the daily way of living that I embrace and that heals becuase she learned a long time ago that what comes out of my mouth may not be the truth. I have to walk the talk and then time can heal.

It is just my opinion that all amends should be made eye ball to eye ball when they can and I have a few folks where I have phoned them and let 'em know what my intentions are the next time we meet and left it there for now. Others whom I know would know I was sincere I have made those amends on the phone and they were fine.

The living part though is a special act for those that can really only believe it when they say it.

I suppose also the the living amends are for my HP also and the special relationship going on there 8)
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Postby gunner48 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:47 am

When I made direct admends to my sons it took 10 years of my living the program for them to fully accept my admends. I say that because when they told me what I needed to do I had to do it plus they also needed time to heal. Just because I say I am going to change doesn't make it so. The proof is in the pudding. Day after day of actually doing the right thing is what was needed. Words are just words. Action was needed on my part to make the admends a reality.
How many times in the past had I said I was going to change to just go back to my drunkard ways. They needed to see change from me over an extended period of time. It took time for me to learn how to be a father. They didn't need a friend (they had plenty of those) they needed a dad. I needed to learn how to be a husband to my wife and a friend to my friends. Those learning expierences did not replace the need to sit in front of people an admit my wrongs. Admitting my wrongs face to face allowed me to walk with my head held high while I learned the ways of a man.
After years of practicing this program I still have my days when I screw something up so I still have to go before my fellows, admit my wrongs and ask for forgiviness.

Peace and Love Gunner
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Postby Dallas » Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:45 pm

I took care of my sick mother for 13 years, as a way to make amends to my dad, that had died 13 years before I got sober. I guess I could have called that dead amends, or direct dead amends, or living amends or whatever. I sure didn't think that writing a letter to my dad -- would be appropriate.

I also harmed many people before sobriety. So many and for so long -- that I couldn't possibly remember all of them, and many of them, I didn't even know their names. How could I write a letter to them or even begin to search for them, without knowing anything about them?

There were many people and creatures that suffered. For example: I didn't know that dogs were the highly sensitive and emotional beings that they are. I just considered them as dogs -- without realizing that they are more like children. Could I just write a letter to all the dogs that deserved better care that I neglected to give?

What about the little bird that I shot with a BB gun when I was eight years old -- just to see if I could do it and to see what it would be like to shoot a bird? I used to drink over it. No, I didn't have a resentment towards birds. But, resentments, fears, and sex conduct were not the only things in my inventory. The major part of my inventory -- was "harms done to others."

I also support women's shelters and women's crisis centers and support organizations for trying to find cures for breast cancer. I didn't harm women, nor did I give them cancer -- but, it's a way for me, to make amends, for the things that I failed to do -- that I could have done -- that would have been help for women.

And, how is writing a letter -- making amends? If we're going to use semantics on the Steps -- it does say "direct amends" and my first sponsor told me "if you hurt them with a letter then you can make amends with a letter" but if you harmed them and a letter was not the tool -- then, get your butt into finding a way to make direct amends.

So, I guess you can lump me in that crowd that has gone astray from precise wording of the Steps -- and tries to look at the "spirit of the Step".

If I was alive while I harmed them -- I want to amend it while I'm alive. Or... would that be "living amends?"

For me "living amends" means "living my life in a direction that was 180 degress opposite of how I lived it while drinking."

I wasn't kind to the bird. I was more than not kind to the bird -- I killed it. For me, "living amends" has had me setting up bird feeders, and trying to look out for birds, and if there is a way that I can do something to rub out the record of how I treated birds in the past -- that's what I do.

What about the dogs? I go out of my way to help stray dogs and support the Humane Society, and to help others that are trying to help animals. I refer to that as "living in such a way as to rub out the record of my past". Maybe, it only helps me -- but, I refer to it as "Living Amends."

While I continually work to re-create my life -- part of the re-creation was to stop doing things that I used to do. Some of those things might not have been wrong -- but, the "Living Amends" that I make to myself, and God, as I understand God, and the earth, as I understand the earth... is to be giving rather than taking. If I see litter -- it doesn't have to be my litter for me to pick it up and I pick it up because it makes me feel better about me, and I feel that it helps make up for the litter that I did leave that I can't pick up -- even by writing a letter to the litter cans or a letter to the ground.

So, I'm wrong about it? So what! :lol: :lol: It isn't in the book? So what. :lol: I try to live like a good, decent, human being, pay my taxes, and include a little extra. That isn't in the book either.

I do understand the spiritual axiom that "if someone else is doing something that bothers me -- that it's inside me -- where the adjustment needs to be made." Therefore, when others are "doing it wrong"... I try to look inside and inquire "what's wrong inside of me that's trying to focus on their wrongs?" And, I try to fix what's in me rather than try to fix what's in them.

Maybe I'm a little simple minded and narrow in my thinking -- but, that sure is progress compared to how I used to be! :lol: :lol:

I hold to the belief that if people are trying to do good -- regardless of whether they are right or wrong about it -- encourage them to do more good. In the long run -- it will be a better world for all of us.

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Postby sunlight » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:03 pm

"Rubbing out the record" - Hi Chuck C! :D

"Writing a letter to litter cans" Hi Dallas B! :wink:

I totally get this vein of thought and being, which is why I am taking care of my ex, who is dying from this disease & is on home hospice.
And why I keep close to my son , who is still active in his illness, and to my daughter, who is an alcoholic waiting to happen.
And why I work tirelessly with other alcoholics and those who do not yet know that there IS a way out.

I should have been dead eons ago, but grace has given me another chance, and if I can bring sunlight where I used to bring darkness, I'm gonna shine on! :D

It's just a short trip from there to shining where ever I find darkness, and the good feelings are one of the highs of my sobriety.

I always like the story of Johnny Appleseed, who went all over the country sowing apple seeds because God provided them and they provideded food and shade for us. But, the thing was, he never got to eat or even see the fruits of his labor!

Just do what's right, do good, and God takes care of the outcome. What a beautiful,liberating way to live. The smiles never end. :D

Thanks for the topic. You tickle me pink and that's a ray of warmth in the middle of a heavy winter storm blasting Denver!
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Postby Ranman99 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:59 pm

Gee pretty powerful. And gosh darn it I had me one of them birds also I was a bit older maybe 11 or 12 and it was a pellet gun. It was a beautiful wood pecker and I remember it like it was yesterday now that you brough it up. I picked it up off the ground and sat it in a tree and felt like crap. I guess I was just like I became shoot first feel like crap later :(

Yup I'm putting the principals in place in all my affairs and learning and giving a bit every day. Some of the folks that don't want to see my mug may come around one day but hey they don't have too they have their own things to manage and certainly I would not want them to waste time worrying about me when I certainly didn't take their feelings into account when I was rushing through their lives like a hurricane.

All these bullets are well appreciated folks!!! Got a nice life boat here best not to s$%t in it as the other travellers may appreicate that more :P
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Postby thestudent » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:55 pm

Wow thanks everyone for your input and stories...I am glad I asked this question because I to believe in the eye to eye amends i understand now the meaning of what these guys are trying to say..Its hard being A teenager in this program some times Thanks again everyone . I really enjoy this forum i think I am going to stick around awhile....have a goodnight back to studying.

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12 Step Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery | - Hmmmm! living amends?