Thursday 20 August 2015

Making Amends

A few days back, I mentioned that this time last year - also on holiday in Cornwall - my Mum told me she was worried about my drinking. She also said that I needed to lose weight.

I was, obviously, very aware that she was right on both counts. So, you'd think that I would agree with her, thank her for her maternal concern and resolve to take action.

You'd be wrong. I threw all my toys out of the pram. I accused her of being cruel, ignorant and hypocritical. I stomped off to my room with a goblet of wine and then made snide remarks for the rest of the week.

When I wrote about this, almost in passing, you lot jumped on it and told me - quite rightly - that I should apologise to my poor mother and tell her she was right.

I have to confess that the thought hadn't even crossed my mind. Isn't that awful?

We don't really do 'talking about emotional stuff' in my family. In fact, I wonder whether the British 'stiff upper lip' thing is part of the reason we're so renowned for drunkenness. We need some way of dealing with the emotions we feel unable to display or discuss.

My reaction was: that was twelve months ago. Water under the bridge. It's obvious that I'm sorry and she was right - look at me! A stone (14 pounds, 7 kilos) lighter, and nearly 6 months sober - obviously I took it on board...

But saying sorry is the right thing to do. It's good karma. It's what we teach our children. And I know, from my kids, that a belated apology usually means more, and is more thought through, than a knee jerk one at the time.

One of the cornerstones of AA (still haven't been; still planning to) is 'making amends'. The Big Book states that in order to achieve freedom and serenity you need to make peace with the past.

Likewise, Beck - in his book 'Alcohol Lied to Me' (it's good, if a little preachy and irritating at times) is adamant that 'living in the present' is key to success. He states that worrying about the past or the future gets in the way.

So, I've been trying to find the right time to say sorry. I kept putting it off. It stuck in my throat. I was fighting against years of conditioning.

Eventually I cornered my poor Mum in the kitchen.

"I've been meaning to say something to you," I blurted out.

She looked startled. Like a hedgehog in the headlights.

"When you told me last year that I drank too much and was too fat I was horrible to you. I made you cry. But you were right, and I'm sorry."

"Gosh, I'd forgotten about that," she said (probably fibbing), looking stunned but rather....chuffed. "I'm sorry if I was a little blunt. But look at you now! I'm so proud of you - what willpower. You really don't want to turn into a slob."

(I'm aware that my Mum hadn't got a handle on the real issue. Her major concern was me 'letting myself go', but I don't think that matters).

We hugged. We coughed in a rather embarrassed fashion. We carried on chopping vegetables and changed the subject.

But I feel a weight off my shoulders. And I think I made my Mum really happy.

'Making amends' is about more than saying sorry - it's about putting things right. But I know that, as far as my Mum's concerned, quitting the drink (and, as a result, losing the weight) is all the reparation she wanted.

So, all is good with the Universe, and I hope all is good with you too....

Thank you for making me do that. As always, you were right.

Love SM x


  1. Well done you. I still haven't made my big apology and might not ever do so. I was 'ordered' to never contact my 'friend' after my drunken stupor and respected that. Over the past 16 yrs I think about her and the situation often (the parts I can remember) and have gone through a whole myriad of emotions. I always dreaded ever bumping into her (we don't live locally) and how I would react. But now, I know I wouldn't be cross at the way she treated me. I wouldn't scream for answers (as I thought I would for a long time). I would apologise. Apologise for my behaviour. I would stand tall (and sober) and it would feel good. She would probably throw it back in my face and spit on me (she's not the forgiving type). But I, at least, am ready for that day now, if it ever happens. I'm learning it's not about her accepting my apology, but about me feeling truly sorry for my actions and letting her know that regardless of the outcome. You have helped me to see that. I really don't think I would be where I am today without your blog. Big hugs LNM x

  2. Well Done SM. You're so right, our ridiculous "Stiff upper Lip" stops us from saying stuff we really need to - and I wondered whether it at least contributes to our need for booze. I am really dreading telling my parents that I have quit drinking - how stupid is that? It's a good thing! Next Spring I visit them, so maybe I'll have a stiff coffee with you first! Any way, I'm so happy for you xx

  3. That was a great and brave thing to do...Well done. x

  4. You done good! Pretty damn good. (that's Yank talk for You're amazeballs) Your mom did not forget that conversation and right now she's patting herself of the back and feeling good about herself. That's a nice thing you did for you mum.
    (She could be a little bit less harsh though.)

  5. I apologized to my mom when I made her cry when I was very drunk.
    I never regretted it.
    I think making amends is tricky, though, and I found that it is best to do so with help.
    I made the mistake a few years ago, when I was in a different 12 step program, and made amends to people that had hurt me.
    Hugs to you for doing that!

  6. I think this was a good amends because you feel better about it. Period.
    No one has the right or the responsibility to tell someone else they need to lose weight. Sorry, it's unnecessary, as we all know how we look or feel, and it's usually cruel.

    On the. Other hand, telling someone you are concerned about their drinking is often a sign of caring, although it's usually not well received and often poorly done.

    I see your issue is really with how you feel you behaved after the comments. No one can blame you, but letting that go is great.

  7. Yay! You did it:)

  8. Awesome! I was so hoping you'd post about this. And your mum sounds exactly like my mum (she's a brit too). And I love how she congratulated you and reminded you not to become a slob at the same time! So funny :) Well done, chica...