What Does It Really Mean To Make Amends?

We become aware that since we usually mean well, we can extend that belief to others. But around four years, I started to understand the ways I had also acted harmfully, and that I had purposefully withheld forgiveness. I don’t believe that anyone owes it to someone who has harmed them to either forgive or apologize, but in my case, it felt important.

  • On the surface, making amends might sound as simple as offering a sincere apology for your treatment of others, but there’s more to this cornerstone Twelve Step practice.
  • As a result, the opportunity is lost to make things right if that person dies before they can apologize.
  • To demonstrate your amends, you would show how you have changed your behavior by being present for your spouse or child, keeping any promises you make, and showing them you can be reliable.
  • Volunteer your time to help your favorite charity or cause.
  • On the other hand, you may not be able to handle seeing this person.

If you or a loved one left behind a trail of strained relationships due to substance abuse related issues, here is a guide to help you through the process. By getting her family involved and putting in the work, Kristin was able to make living amends with them before she ever made any direct amends. In fact, it was almost three years before she verbalized any direct amends. For Kristin, correcting her behaviors https://ecosoberhouse.com/ first was essential to becoming the woman she wanted to be in sobriety. As a person works the steps of recovery, they begin to discover—or perhaps remind themselves—who they want to be. Part of this process is recognizing the harm they may have caused during active addiction and making amends to those they hurt. Perhaps while you were in active addiction, you betrayed your loved one by stealing money from them.

Why Is Making Amends Important?

In these cases, they make promises of cleaning up their act and changing their behaviors to their loved ones just before they die. Living amends refers to making promises to the people in your life whom you’ve wronged or who have hurt you. These promises focus on rebuilding your relationship with a loved one and moving forward from the pain of the past. Say “I’m sorry” to the people you’ve wronged in your life.

  • When you’re working towards amends, it’s important to ask the other person what specific things you could do to help them heal.
  • If you stole money from a friend or family member who is now deceased or unreachable, you can donate to a charitable organization in his or her honor.
  • Doing this will help you feel more confident as you start working Steps 8 and 9 and making amends.
  • By working through the list in Step 9 and making amends to each person named there, you will restore a piece of yourself with each conversation.
  • For example, if you got drunk and punched a hole in your mom’s wall, a direct amend would require going to your mom, admitting that you were wrong, and then repairing the hole in the wall for her.

Our 12-step addiction recovery programs are designed specifically to help young adult men recreate their lives. In Twelve Step recovery from alcohol or other drug addiction, a direct amend refers to the act of personally addressing issues with people who have been harmed by our behavior or our treatment of them. The practice involves going back to those individuals to acknowledge the harm or hurt we have caused them and demonstrate our changed ways in order to provide them with the opportunity to heal. You will make amends to the people you have listed after completing step 8. If you are not working a 12-step program of recovery, take this time to identify all the people who you have hurt.

Take Responsibility For Your Actions

Recovery support groups and individual therapy can help you if you are struggling to make amends or accept the responses of others. A sponsor or therapist can help you talk through your choices, determine the best course of action for making amends, and consider how your actions may affect others as you seek to make amends.

Making Living Amends During Addiction Recovery

Arrange to speak with the other person – while COVID-19 has complicated this process, making amends face-to-face is encouraged. If appropriate, you can let the person know how amends are related to staying sober. However, your primary goal should be to acknowledge that you have done wrong and would like to make up for it. Sponsorship is critical to all of the 12 Steps, but it’s especially helpful at this stage.

Making Amends: Acquaintances

What you can control is how you’ll continue to make positive changes and live an authentic life free from substances. Generally speaking, people work through the Steps of Alcohol Anonymous with an addiction treatment counselor and/or sponsor. You can also turn to AA’s Big Book andTwelve Steps and Twelve Traditions(the 12 & 12) for guidance specific to Step 8. We can also make amends by living very purposefully within the bounds of our principles. For example, if we hurt people with our lying and we cannot make amends without further injuring them, we would make living amends by making a decision to behave and communicate with complete honesty. Making amends can be challenging, but it is essential to rebuilding trust and developing healthy relationships.

Admitting that you’ve done something hurtful can bring about shame. You may correlate doing something wrong with Making Living Amends During Addiction Recovery not being a good person. Making amends shows that you are putting effort into improving your character.

Advance Directive Forms

Willingness to eliminate certain activities (at least until you’ve established solid sobriety) such as traveling for business, spending time with certain friends, unfettered use of the internet, etc. Willingness to hear about your loved ones’ fears, anger, triggers, and feelings, and to do this without becoming defensive. Regular engagement in recovery activities (12-step meetings, step work, group or individual therapy, workshops, and fellowship with recovery peers).

  • Deathbed promises are a common way people make living amends.
  • As a recovering addict, when you engage in the living amends process—even imperfectly—you and your loved ones will notice and appreciate this effort.
  • Even concrete steps like repaying a debt aren’t done once you hand money over; you also have to avoid betraying that person in the future.
  • Once the pain they caused someone else to experience is understood, the person with a substance use disorder can work to ensure it does not happen again.
  • You not only recognize your behavior verbally to the other person but you also take steps to make things right if you can.

We can also guide you in approaching a loved one who needs treatment. While doing our amends and experiencing being forgiven, we begin to see the value in extending it to others. It feels good to practice forgiveness and just let go of resentment! Positive reinforcement is a great motivator to practice the spiritual principle of forgiveness as much as possible. By forgiving others we start to recognize our own humanness, and it gives us the capacity to be less judgmental than we were in the past.

You Can Work To Repair Damaged Relationships With Family And Friends By Making Amends

Perhaps the person is no longer living, or you no longer have contact with them and reestablishing contact would cause more harm. Whether you stole money, damaged a vehicle, or hurt someone emotionally with harsh words, be very specific about the behaviors you’re addressing when you make amends. Although it will take courage and bravery to face the people you hurt in the past, they will appreciate your effort to make things right with them. It helps to write down specifically what may have hurt these people.

Continue reading to learn how to make amends with someone. Tara Treatment Center, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501 organization. Understanding the constant change of recovery also means accepting that old habits don’t just disappear. “When I’m not doing what I should be doing in my recovery, I see those defects come out. I am not proud of that, but it is the reality of how I used to behave. I also made countless promises to her that I did not keep. It ranged from promising to fix something around the house to going to a family gathering.

With this option, the individual in recovery takes steps to improve their relationships and demonstrate their lifestyle change. They may visit family members and friends more often, set aside time to spend with their partner or donate their time to a worthy cause.

But what happens when the person you need to make amends with dies before you’re able to apologize and change your ways? Unfortunately, this scenario plays out much too often in the lives of people who didn’t get a chance to correct their mistakes and past behaviors in time. While not everyone you wronged will be open to listening to your amends, you must still make an effort. Therefore, it is crucial to acknowledge how your actions and behaviors impacted those around you. Since it is impossible to travel back in time to undo the wrongs you caused your family and friends, the best thing you can do is to take ownership of those wrongs through amends. It is important to understand the difference between amends and apologizing to those you hurt.

Step Recovery: Why You Need To Make Amends

It’s important to make sure the person understands that resolving the problem truly matters to you. Being detailed in your conversation demonstrates you care and have thought about things beforehand. The situation will only improve if you are sincere in your efforts. Ask the person what you can do to remedy the situation and what would need to happen for them to feel better. Generally speaking, making amends looks a little different for each individual. To learn more about the basics of amends-making, we spoke with Mike Denton, a member of our Board of Directors, and Kristin Mitchell, a Substance Abuse Technician at our men’s facility. I just won’t do it.” It’s highly doubtful that that’s the case.

Acknowledging your agency in this while accepting that you cannot control these actions because of the substances, is the first step in many programs for recovery. • Indirect Amends— made only when contact with the person is harmful to your sobriety, or direct contact with a person cannot be made face to face.

When Should You Approach A Person To Make Amends?

Your sponsor or counselor can help you through this, but it may help to have examples of what making amends looks like. RecoveryGo virtual outpatient addiction and mental health treatment directly to you. We gain humility as a result of taking a good look at the damage we did to others and accepting responsibility for it. After acknowledging to ourselves what we’ve done, we take responsibility for making it right. There is nothing quite like experiencing increased humility while making amends in your Ninth Step and recognizing the self-empowerment and self-love that comes with it. Life is complicated and not always straightforward or black and white.

For many, this is one of the most important components of recovery, because it allows them to work on rebuilding their relationships and letting go of those they cannot repair. Our team works closely with you throughout this process to help you achieve your goals in recovery. However, facing these painful feelings is exactly the reason that making amends is so important. Array of recovery programs to guide and support you in your journey.

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