Monday, October 12, 2015

Saying You're Sorry

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Apologizing to someone can be one of the hardest tasks we accomplish. Especially when that someone is close to us. And when we’re navigating through the recovery of an addiction, the people we hurt along the way are usually those we love the most.

As Devin faces Step Nine,

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

he’s had to put a lot of thought into exactly whom he apologizes to and what that apology entails. He’s made a living amends (a genuine change in behavior) with the kids and me, along with telling us how sorry he was for what he’d done to each of us.

Now he’s faced with a new conundrum: the opportunity to apologize directly to his friend, Joe, who lives out of state. Devin had an affair with Joe’s wife and I was the one that let Joe know when I was spiraling out of control after disclosure.

It’s been nearly five years since I told Joe and he took the news of the affair and Devin’s addiction much better than I expected. He even said to me back than that he forgave Devin. And that he empathized with him.

Devin wants to let Joe know just how sorry he is that he hurt him so deeply. How sad he is that he betrayed their friendship and his trust. But he doesn’t want to reopen that wound and cause them harm after Joe and his wife may have healed from the damage in their marriage.

As much as I want to force my opinion down Devin’s throat, I won’t. I’ve said my piece and am giving him the space he needs to think about it. Thankfully, he’s got a few months before he makes the trip.


Have you ever had to make a tough apology?

29 comments:

  1. That is a tough apology. If he's never apologized to Joe though, it would be best if he did it. It's great Joe has already forgiven him, but he'll always wonder if Devin never says anything. And it will be healing for Devin. Hopefully he makes the right choice.

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    1. I think he'll do the right thing. I think it'll be one of the toughest things he'll ever have to do, including facing me. I think it was easier to talk to me because I was already here and he almost had no choice. With Joe he could almost go his whole life avoiding him but he doesn't want to. He wants to humble himself.

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  2. Very easy to say but really tough to do and carry out ~ I hope the journey will be a fruitful one and both parties will be better individuals because of it ~ Do let us know how it goes and I pray for the healing of both families ~

    All the best to you Elsie ~ Have a good week ~

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    1. Thank you so much, Grace. It does sound easy, doesn't it? But the journey is tough indeed. I wanted to run around and apologize to everyone I wronged - from the cashier down the street to my kids - but when it came to Devin and my mom…man, that was tough.

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  3. That one will sure be hard to do. It could open old wounds, but it may most likely heal such wounds as well, or at least give them a little healing for each.

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    1. That is my hope. It may sting a bit to reopen the past but ultimately, it will close that chapter for the two of them and then they can rekindle their friendship in a healthy way.

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  4. I couldn't imagine how difficult that would be. But it also seems like something that needs to be done. What Pat said. It's not so much about opening old wounds, but closing them for good. I hope Devin's able to do it, and finds some closure in doing so.

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    1. I agree. I think that it's a conversation that needs to be had in person and he had a unique opportunity to be where his friend is in a few months. After an initial contact, I think they can meet someplace for coffee and just talk, really dig into things. I think he'll be pleasantly surprised how forgiving Joe will be. It will be good for them both.

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  5. I think that he definitely should apologize directly...but I see where he's coming from. This could open an old wound. An especially difficult wound. I wish the best for all parties involved. xo

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    1. I believe it's going to be one of the toughest things he'll have to face regarding his addiction. So much time has past it's almost to the point of being forgotten but they both know it's never going to be forgotten, it must be addressed and apologized for. I think he'll do the right thing when the time comes.

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  6. You might want to do some checking into the personality type of Joe. With some people it is actually best to not bring the thing up again, especially if the person has stated forgiveness.

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    1. That's a good idea. I'll have to leave that up to Devin. I don't know him from a hole in the wall. He's Devin's childhood friend and lives out of state.

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  7. Wow. I wouldn't want to be faced with that decision either. Damn. I wish him luck with whatever he decides. I can't remember an apology that was difficult to make.

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    1. I've had a couple apologies that were difficult in my head but when I actually made them, the person I was making them to made it super easy…well, my mom, not so much ;)

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  8. I just heard a sermon on this very topic. The preacher might tell Devin this: If you apologize, what is the fallout? Can you cope with what happens next? He really needs to find a resolution in himself that doesn't damage others. What good does it do to say, "Boy, that sure made me feel better!" if it hurts someone else?

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    1. I just talked to my rockin' counselor about the damage control. It's something they talk in depth about with the addicts and something I had no real knowledge about at all on my side of the fence. To me, I was seeing it from the other side. I would expect the apology because of all I went through so it's hard for me to see it the perspective of being so far healed. Sure, I could handle it but would I really want it reopened? I'm not so sure. And I sure as shit wouldn't want the person who did the betraying i.e. the other spouse in contact with my spouse so it's a very delicate situation and needs to handled with kid gloves. You're right, it shouldn't be done if it only makes Devin feel good and makes Joe feel terrible.

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  9. Wow. Sounds like it will be good for your Hubby to say he is sorry. Is Joe still married to the same lady?

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    1. I'm not 100% sure if he's married to her or not. I started to look them up and then stopped myself. I was afraid it would reopen my own wounds to start doing that digging and I'd end up being hypervigilant again.

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  10. So he's going to apologize in person? That's very big of him.
    To me, it seems as though the damage was already done. Only good can come of a sincere apology - provided Devin is ready to deal with the difficult emotions and admissions face-to-face.

    Sounds like you've made great progress individually and as a couple.
    Love you.

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    1. I think he wants to test the waters with an email so he doesn't just pop up on his doorstep and then make the true apology in person, the way it should be. I'm not sure Devin is ready but he knows it's something that needs to be done eventually and he's got plenty of time to prepare himself mentally. We've come a long way baby. Love you too!

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  11. It is tough to find the courage to apologize. I think it is mainly fear of the shame one brought to oneself and the hurt one has committed to the other people but apologize is something that needs to get done so he can move on and it can truly be placed into the past. It must be a struggle for every one involved. His friend sounds like a nice man and I am also surprised he is still with his wife because of what happened.

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    1. I think between the four of us, each couple had their own issues and it's no surprise we each crossed paths. We just weren't healthy couples in our marriages. I can't speak about them but for us, Devin and I are now healthy and happy and in such a better place and I'm so grateful. It is so tough to find the courage it takes to apologize for something like this but if he can do it, and he decides it won't hurt Joe and Joe's marriage, then it was meant to be.

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  12. I've been in similar situations, I understand the thought process and not wanting to reopen a wound. In this case, since this friend was initially so understanding, I'd be slightly less worried than usual. It's still huge step and I admire anyone who considers it when most people would believe it isn't really necessary.

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  13. No I can't remember doing so but if I needed to I would do so, I have tried to instill in my girls that saying sorry is the right thing to do and there is no shame in saying sorry and admitting you were wrong that said I know of some people who thing they are always in the right and such never have to say they are sorry for anything, you can imagine what I think of such people if not I will tell you, they need to wake up to themselves and learn to humble themselves saying sorry and meaning it can make one feel so much better well it does when I need to say sorry I feel better after I did it.

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  14. I don't think apologizing is tough. Ever.

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  15. Always I say Im sorry when Im noticed I made something wrong. But I noticed a lot of people never make dear.
    Well is teh life !
    Hugs dear !!!! xoxoxoxox

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  16. I think the hardest one was when I'd done nothing wrong, but there were bad feelings in the mix with people I saw all the time. I can't live with that. Life is too short to go around harboring bad feelings.

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  17. I don't think I've ever made an apology as tough as that one.

    I've scrolled through the excellent comments here, and it seems so many people are insightful. Yes, it's good for him to do IF it doesn't hurt Joe. BUT, it's not always possible to know how that will go. I think we have to do what we hope is the right thing. If Devin is clear in his intention, then it's likely Joe will respond in kind.

    I will say this: when you ask for forgiveness and someone grants it. That's a POWERFUL thing.

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  18. OH Boy... YES!
    I'll spare the gory details. But there is one person in particular hugely large at the top of my Step 9 list. I've not really spoken to this person in most of the 11 years I've been sober. He couldn't understand my need in my early sobriety to distance myself from certain people, him and his partner/wife included.
    Not long into my sobriety he found out something about what had happened in my drinking days. He bore a grudge about it - frankly, rightfully so.
    Roll on 9 years or more. I jump on a train. I see him sitting down the carriage - he doesn't see me. I sit there through the journey looking inside me. I decided this was the opportunity. I went up to him and sat next to him. I started with the - "I'm very very sorry." But I looked into his eyes and realised I was breaking the spirit of the second part of the step your quote above. It was there and then clearly injuring him. He left me in no doubt of that when through gritted teeth using the minimum of words (just 2) he told me to leave his pressence. I did. I was troubled greatly by what had happened.

    In the end - I'm willing to make that amends. I offer an apology but no excuse to the hurt I brought him. I can only say what I can say and mean what I can mean. However he has the right to not want to accept it and his resentment and anger towards me are his business at the end of the day.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.