When dealing with an alcoholic, there maybe a natural annoyance that a man could be so weak, stupid and irresponsible. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg 139)
Those of us who deal with our families this holiday season may find this to be the way some of our family members seem to think about us. This is not the end of the world; this is a natural consequence of our past actions.
Do not be mad at these people for not understanding because if you really think about it logically there is no sensible reason for our destroying our own lives using when the evidence of so many that went before each of us has been the total inhalation of everything an addict or alcoholic loves.
For many of us this is the opinion of a person or a group of people who we have spent years hurting and years gaining the distrust they have for us now. How can we expect a mere moment of sobriety (a moment can be ten hours, ten months or possibly ten years depending on the amount of years) to suddenly just evaporate from the memories of those close to us and those folks just get over all we have shown them in the past.
The pain is there and truthfully there is probably no amount of apology that can fix it. Their question when looking at us from the perspective of how can we be so stupid, weak and irresponsible is how can we keep doing things so damaging to the relationships and things that are so important to our lives. This is multiplied by the person’s need to keep a safe distance from us to protect him or herself from further pain.
We can continue to attempt to free these individuals from any residual from our poor choices by making amends in whatever way seems appropriate but huge, long term violations of someone’s trust often cannot be overcome without that person experiencing long periods of trustworthiness from us.
If this trust is not yet built, it is okay. These individuals have all the rights in the world to protect themselves from any insanity we may accidentally drop in their world due to our ups and downs.
If you can see the process and not just the emotions at the moment, you can see that your mere presence may be one step in the long journey to regaining trustworthiness in the eyes of people you have in the past hurt. We still have to put “out of our minds the wrongs…” they have done or do and resolutely look “for our own mistakes (see Alcoholics Anonymous pg 67). We have to pay less attention to the fact that that some individual does not understand us and more attention to the fact that “…our own actions are partly responsible.” (Alcoholics Anonymous pg 83)
A key to this process is done in our daily prayer and meditation:
So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindness and love.” (Alcoholics Anonymous pg 83)
There is so much more to making amends to those closest to us than just saying “sorry!” “A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won’t fill the bill at all.” (Alcoholics Anonymous pg 83)
We have to show “patience, tolerance, kindness and love” in spite of how those closest to us still feel. This is the real process of rebuilding that trust and even more importantly this is a huge part of our Step Twelve. “…practice these principles in all our affairs.”