My Daughter Hasn’t Made All of Her Amends. This Concerns Me.


My daughter has made amends to some, but not all. This concerns me. 


Yes, that should concern you. Rarely, if ever, have I seen anyone be successful without making all of their amends. This step in particular is what separates the men from the boys [and the women from the girls]. It is where we find courage and begin to give back. For me, completing all of my amends was absolutely essential and paramount to building a solid foundation. I wouldn’t be who or where I am today if I left some of them out. I will pray she finds the willingness to complete them and continue her spiritual growth. 

From August 5, 2012

     Someone once asked me about one of her amends. I told her she needed to make it. She said,

    “But this f’ing bitch was way more of an f’ing bitch than I was.”

      First of all, wanh, wanh, wanh… do you want a pity-pot to cry in? I didn’t say that, although it would have been a good idea. I told her to first pray for this person until she no longer cares about what she did. She said, 

     “I will never pray for her other than to pray she rots in hell.”

     Oh, okay. So then why the hell are you asking me for advice when you aren’t really serious about getting better? Why bother doing any amends at all if you’re going to leave out the ones where someone else wronged you too? I told her that she is not willing to go to any lengths to get better and that ultimately she will relapse. And she did. Two weeks later.

     99.9% = 0%.

     If we plan on recovering from alcoholism and addiction, we must give 100% and we must never leave anything out. Sure others are flawed, but it’s not about them. If someone has wronged us but we owe them an amends as well, we better make it and not expect a single thing in return.

     So why do we have to make ALL of our amends, other than because we have wronged others and it’s the right thing to do? We make them because if we don’t, we will drink again. If we cannot swallow our pride and make an amends to someone who has also wronged us, we have no business in the Steps. Once we take that 3rd Step and make a pact with God, we are entering mystical territory. At that point, if we walk away, bad things will happen. Trust me. I see it all the time.

God, please give me the power, strength and willingness to make all my amends, and to continue making amends if and when I hurt others going forward…

4 thoughts on “My Daughter Hasn’t Made All of Her Amends. This Concerns Me.

  1. Thank you so much for this post. When my daughter gets out of rehab for the zillionth time, this time I would like to see some amends made to me, other family members and whoever else has been damaged by her choices. I've never asked for such a thing! I've always thought that if she just cleaned up her act and began doing the right thing that would be amends enough. But the truth is I'm deeply hurt by her actions (mostly pinning family members against each other) and I'm not willing to just sweep it all under the carpet again. There is a part of me that thinks this is cruel but I really pray for the strength to stick to my guns. Any thoughts on this?

  2. You're welcome, and thanks for reaching out and sharing.

    I suppose if she had genuinely embarked on a life of spiritual growth and change, there would be a lesser need or desire to ask for an amends, that it would occur naturally and with haste from what should be a glaring awareness within her of the way she has behaved. That said, you can ask for whatever you want, and if it comes from the heart, from that place of hurt and heartache as opposed to bitterness and anger, she may have an easier time listening and responding.

    Another thing you can do is to ask for her ear… that is, for the time and space to let her know how she has affected you, the pain she has caused you and your family. I remember my Mom and wife weren't so interested in hearing too much from me, but during quiet moments, they wanted to talk about the past and wanted me to really hear them, hear what I had put them through… and my job at that point is to listen and acknowledge.

    Just because I made a verbal amends to them, by no means do I get to cross it off my list and be on my way. I don't get to dictate when they get their time at the podium, so to speak. They may not be ready to express themselves for a long time, but when they want to talk, when they want to share, it is our job to stop what we are doing and listen.

    It is also our job to act in a way that our loved ones don't feel as though they have to try so hard. Our condition alone should be well enough and humble enough to give them peace. In other words, a recovered addict should be so committed and dominated by a new set of principles and by the desire and willingness to live right and respect those we have taken from that our loved ones feel adequately comforted… and that the angst of all the baggage and unfinished business has dissolved, or is at least steadily decreasing.

  3. my husband (sober 3.5 years) has said (in marriage therapy) that he has made amends to me 2 times. I honestly can't recall them. after reading your article, i'm sure i'm in a place of bitterness and anger….still, unfortunately. we are heading back to marriage counseling again (our counselor is an AA guy, which was a purposeful decision on both our parts–husband doesn't really believe in traditional therapists). anyway, I've been to alanon and coda and suppose I should go back because I can't shake the anger. I have a full life (pt work, my own activities, childrens activities) and really don't ruminate on 'poor me'–I like my life. what I don't like is how alone I feel. husband has said he is 'done,' but is elusive and doesn't really finish the sentence. it doesn't help that he lives in another state for most of the month (work), so we are not around each other very much and when we are its a 50/50 proposition at best.

    my question is, is it supposed to be this lonely? he doesn't want to socialize with other couples, pretty much wants to stay home, play guitar, read (spiritual books) and that's pretty much it. I don't feel like I have a partner. I feel like he supports us financially (which i'm grateful for) but there is nothing there emotionally. I do not want to leave/get divorced. I have been preparing myself for him asking for it though…part of me thinks he won't, simply to save face with his family/friends–meaning he got sober, but still couldn't handle a relationship and how that would look to outsiders.

    any insight? thanks

  4. Thank you so much for your reply. I love that you answer so fully and with such heart. This makes perfect sense to me. I hope and pray she has undergone a fundamental change of character and is willing to listen.

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