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TOPIC: childhood amends

childhood amends 2 years 5 months ago #53

Question: what are everyone's experiences here on making amends for things done in childhood. I'm such a perfectionist and in thinking about "all people I have harmed", I remember things from childhood where I just wasn't a particularly nice kid on a particular day. Part of me says - you were a kid - this program is not about going back and somehow making right every little stupid thing you did just because you were a kid, but then another part of me says that "all persons" means "all persons" and if I did something as a kid, as a teenager, whenever, there are no exceptions. Any words of advice??? Thanks!
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childhood amends 2 years 5 months ago #54

  • nia
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I was pretty thorough in my fourth step. (went as far back as I could remember-
with as many people as I could remember) this showed me 'my patterns of behavior-' in the fifth step. My sponsor showed me a lot and also asked me to
look at some of the 'good'/positive aspects of my past- ( opposites of my character defects) it really helped me with forgiveness and acceptance...

you will 'know' when you get to the later steps, what you need to do-
they are in order, for a reason !

Blessings, Nia
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childhood amends 2 years 5 months ago #55

Thank you for your reply - I guess I wasn't clear enough in my initial post - I am actually on my nineth step. When I made my list of all persons I had harmed, I included absolutely everything I could think of, including "petty" things like I remember making fun of a kid when I was in 6th grade because he stuttered. Having been teased LOTS as a little kid, I absolutely KNOW what kind of harm that does! But when it actually comes to making the amends in step 9, part of me thinks "absolutely, you make amends for every harm you've ever caused in your life, period." But part of me thinks I need to be making amends for harms that I caused as an adult, or while in my disease, etc.

There is no reference of Bill W. having gone back to childhood friends (or not-friends), making amends for every stupid thing he might have done as a kid (because he was a kid, not because he was a drunk). But I am a very literal person and when I read "made a list of ALL persons" and "made direct amends to such people", I worry that I'm not working a rigorously honest program if I don't do them all.

So I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with this - asked the same questions, etc., and what they did or what advice they had received with regard to this.
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childhood amends 2 years 5 months ago #56

  • cara
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The way I worked it was that there were people who I hurt because I had a bad day but are they really going to remember that so many years later, and am I ever going to see them again. Most have moved out of my life now so I'm saving my amends for the people that I really badly hurt through my addictive behaviour. The trick is that when you get to step ten you can carry on making those amends as you hurt people and you can do that for minor things then. I also made a list of people I needed to forgive as part of my step eight work and plan to make a decision to forgive them in step nine. Don't know if that helps at all.

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childhood amends 2 years 5 months ago #57

This may be a bit of a late response to your post, but it caught my eye. Let me first make it clear that I am not in a recovery program with any steps involved, most of my issues are centered around my mental state and my past. However, I personally have the opinion that if you are thinking about these instances so hard, perhaps it is for a reason. I agree when you say that even the smallest things can affect someone as a child. It may seem like an overwhelming task, however, to attempt to track down someone from your childhood. Nevertheless, with the internet, it may not be so daunting of a feat afterall. It wouldn't hurt to google a few names, or search them on myspace and facebook...it could relieve some of that guilt by making the effort. Chances are, some of the teasing could have been forgotten. Or, the face may not be associated with the words. I remember many things I was called as a child, but cannot for the life of me tell you all the people who may have said it. If you are able to reach them, though, it could serve as a face for all those who could have spoken the very same words. You never know.

Again, I am not an expert in recovery and this is my opinion. I am not saying that the "petty" things necessarily deserve that much attention to detail. But, I think that the purpose of asking for forgiveness or owning up to who you feel you have wronged is mainly to learn to forgive yourself, and asking others to do so is merely a way for you to understand if the person(s) you "did this to" can forgive you, then so can you. And you may have not yet acted on your addiction yet when you were at a young age, but many of us are already becoming ourselves when we are young. Who says you only need to forgive yourself for what you did when you acted on your addiction. Addicts are addicts even when not indulging themselves. If you feel that you were being out of character or were being the person you no longer want to continue to be, I say try to make amends. It seems that you want to put that guilt to rest since it came to you, and each person has their own level of self-hatred - so what may seem petty to one, may seem big to another. If you remember it and feel bad about it, does it hurt to seek forgiveness for it?

By the way, my best friend in kindergarten, Mikey, stuttered terribly. He was always teased and was too shy to say anything, so I was always the one who stepped in and took up for him. Seemed many times that it bothered me more than him because he wasn't the type to dwell on what others said, long as he still had his big brother Luke, and me as his friend. He was like a brother to me, and I was very protective over him.... if it helps, I forgive you for the teasing.

Good luck and God bless!
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