Welcome Readers, Fans, Recovery Friends, and Visitors!
This week as Vance and I continue to write his memoir, GOD has shed the light on and about “the amends process” regarding Vance’s recovery and my own. It has also brought back some frustrations of my own past “amends” with some of my family members that, let’s just say, didn’t go very well. I sum this up by sharing my own father still has not spoken to me for almost 13-years. Even after trying everything to make amends.
An opportunity arose while I was on Facebook. One of Vance’s adult children happened to message me while I was doing my book and author shares there. As we began a message conversation, and then after speaking with Vance at length about it and revealing his child’s real feelings about how Vance has hurt everyone, it seems the proper time to address the amends process within recovery and be transparent.
His adult child and all his children need to be acknowledged and feelings validated about his father and the damages that were done by Vance when he was in “self” and in the worst of his addictions. I can tell you while writing Vance’s Memoir, he and I both agreed it will be about truth, honesty, and he has nothing to HIDE …
We are both “in the know” about his past, how he tried many times, even on the Oprah show he tried to make amends to some of those who he hurt in his past. The show was a “train wreck” and never should have happened as Vance was in NO shape nor in recovery at that time back in 1996. As it was taped in 2011 …And can be seen on Youtube still today. If we are not transparent in sharing all areas of Vance’s life, how do we then start to shatter stigma? How does the family begin to heal? That is why we are sharing. It is also important to share how addiction can be generational, someone needs to stop it, how it shatters relationships with family. Hopefully by sharing it may help others who may be going through this themselves and for all involved.
Vance Johnson Reflects on His Past
There was a time in my life when addiction hadn’t taken over. I had only been hurt once in a relationship. Pressures and anxieties of life didn’t have a firm grip on me. Until I began my NFL career …
My identity wasn’t on what I grew up around, but rather in Fame, Recognition, and Achievements. Entitlement started giving birth. Cars, money, toys stimulated my emptiness. Sex had no boundaries. Friendships were what you made of them … if it hurts when I found out you slept with the girl I slept with, without telling me, we aren’t friends anymore.
Religion was going to Church, sometimes. Jesus died so I could repent of my fleshly desires, and was only human after all. Being good meant honoring mom & dad. Lastly, the Bible was whatever the Pastor preached on Sunday. OH, and “giving” to the Church so he could do whatever he wanted to do with my money, God would appreciate that. 10% was a little too much, I’ve got taxes, a vacation coming up, or bills. Who is the Holy Spirit?
All lies and ADDICTION, I was Satan’s child, a “ believer” living in Hell. Living in the flesh believing I was “BLESSED” because I was fast, successful, rich and famous.
THANK GOD FOR GRACE AND MERCY. Please let your children know, “There’s a way that seems right to a man, that leads to “Death”!! So repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit, pick up your Cross, and follow him, Daily!!!
Own Your Sobriety
So, when is making amends enough to those you have hurt? Amends to family members, ex’s, broken relationships, and to your children who may not want anything to with you be it from no understanding be enough? We as recovering addicts are aware of how much damage and wreckage we had caused, but there IS much “inner-work” done within our recovery before we even attempt to make “Amends.”
What is “making amends?” ~ Answers are Courtesy of “ Hazelden – Betty Ford Org.”
“Making Amends in Your Steps to Recovery. Restoring justice as much as possible. Addiction creates moral wreckage. People who become addicted to alcohol, gambling, or other drugs might lie, cheat, or steal in order to get and use their drug of choice. Often what’s left behind is a trail of shattered relationships.”
“There is actually a huge difference between making amends with someone and merely giving them an apology. While a sincere apology is a crucial part of making amends, an apology alone is simply not enough to undo the irreversible pain and heartache that one’s addiction (or actions during addiction) may have caused. It needs action, but only if the party hurt is willing and open to it.”
How do you make amends? ~ Step 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Take an objective view of what happened. …
- Face your mixed feelings. …
- Stand in the other person’s shoes. …
- Write down the reasons why you need to make amends. …
- Make amends with a clear heart. …
- Decide what it will take to make up for the damage that was done.
Sharing how one of his children still feels today because it is important to share so others can learn just how “the family and children” become affected by the disease of Addictions …
“Hate The Addiction Not The Addict”
The Feelings of One:
FB Q: “Has my dad shared with you all the past hurt he has caused to his children, is it in the book?
I answered and then we began an hour-long conversation and I shared little so the adult child could vent and share with me the real feelings and about amends with father… I then even asked if they have talked yet?
The Sharing Begins:
“I did call him and honestly, it was exactly what I was expecting. Maybe you and I can touch base after he shares his side of the story.”
(I told the child I knew all of Vance’s side of his past and all his amends attempts to all of his children, ex-wives, and family and offered a phone call to talk, put to no avail.)
“I have a lot to say in regards to my relationship with him and it will probably take some time to share all of it with you. I know he’s made mistakes because everyone does.. but there’s a difference between making a mistake and making a poor choice. I’m happy he’s found the light within himself.. but even after my Vaughn died in a motorcycle accident, he was still the same person he’s always been.
I see people praise him on his Facebook wall for overcoming addiction and all of that crap. What these people don’t know is how his decisions have impacted his children over the course of the last 30 years or so. Social Media and popularity will only make him feel “better” for a short period of time. As far as I know, he has made little effort to make things better between him and his biological children.
Facebook “likes” and “shares” will never make up for the unpaid child support or empty promises he made when I was younger. To be honest, my Mom did an amazing job shielding me from the damage he could have inflicted on me as I was a young boy. I wish I could say the same for my brothers and sisters. I’m not even sure if any of them would communicate with him if he reached out because of how bad he hurt them …
And the fact that he’s trying to rejuvenate his career and popularity by claiming he’s a changed man is bogus. Isn’t the first step of recovery recognizing your addictions and the damage you’ve done? Well, in my opinion, it’s going to take a lot more than an “I’m sorry for what I did …
And? Unfortunately, based on the decisions that he’s made in the past, he’s gone far beyond the point of no return. I think surrendering himself to a religious figure made it easier on him to live with the terrible decisions he’s made as a man and a father, a direct result of his decision making and not recognizing the damage he was doing along the way and not addressing the issue at the root cause.”
WOW!!! Pretty Darn Sad …
Yes, there is more to this but I think you get the understanding right?
FIRST: I Will Say Again as Vance and I did almost a year ago when we began his book, the DOOR WAS open to all who wanted to either talk with me or Vance and share their feelings with Vance, and it is MEANT for everyone …
Doesn’t have to be in his Memoir, as we were hoping it would help bring them all together, a little closer, and everyone involved begin to BEGIN HEAL, and they can make the decision to have a relationship with Vance or Not.
SECOND: Reading these feeling of Vance’s adult child several times, I hear and felt his hurt and anger and did validate this person’s feelings about being correct on how our past choices as addicts can cause hurt, pain and damage to the family, relationships, and the children. But addiction can also be generational. WHERE do you think we learn some of the poor habits and behaviors of addiction? If it happens and goes on in your home with children present? Then 97% most likely they are going to do the same as thinking it is normal because it is going on in their home.
You can have two spouses come together, one is Godly while they other is abusive and drunk, gambling, cheating and so on, they are fights and arguments in front of the kids? Of course, you can have a child grow up and do the same because they think it is a normal part of the household. Part of our work within recovery is to address these root causes and underlying issues that we used to FUEL OUR ADDICTIONS. Addicts can come from a place of hurt and pain just like those who were hurt by the addict’s addictions before we even approach the Amends Process.
THIRD: I hear a lot of resentment and anger in this adult child’s feelings. But, how can a recovering addict make an amends and show action if the people who are hurt are holding on to 30-years of anger and resentments, won’t even to talk or communicate or give the person a chance to make a proper amends? From the above comments like, “he’s gone far beyond the point of no return.” So in closing, all I can say is when you have attempted and have made some amends to those you have hurt within your “addicted days” … Remeber addicts, “Our Past Does Not Define Who We Are Maintaining Recovery.”
Some people, sadly, even family may not have the ability to have empathy, understand the recovery life-long process, and rather keep holding on to the Anger and Resentments of the past. If they are not willing to find it in their hearts to at least “Forgive” even if no relationship can be fixed or connected. Then it’s “Time to Let Go and Let God.”
The fact remains many may not be receptive to you at all. They would rather wallow in anger and hold on to resentments no matter how many years go by or how many times you try.
“We Come To Believe In A Power Greater Than Our Selves To Restore Us”
Could it be possible it is time for those not accepting of us or our amends need to look within their hearts, take their personal inventory as to why they are not willing to be more open to healing and forgiveness? All we can do is keep our side of the street clean and pray for them that they come to a place of love.
We have the choice to turn it to GOD and move forward as we are “A Work In Progress.”
Colossians 3:13 ~ “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” AMEN …