Making Amends: How to Repair Damage Caused by Addiction

Essentially, don’t make promises that you can’t keep and do everything you can to live up to the promises you do make. The unfortunate truth is that we’re all human and we all fall short sometimes. However, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed at your new, honest and sober lifestyle. You can still be true to that by making an honest apology and not making excuses for why you didn’t follow through. Then, the next time around, make sure to make good on your word.

Many people in the 12-step program work with their sponsor to determine the best way to proceed through these steps. If you don’t remember exact details due to your substance use, it’s okay to say that. In at least one apology, I was clear that I’d blacked out a lot of the details of why the person was mad. You feel towards others on your own, without the involvement of the other party.

How Making Amends Contributes to Healing

Making the amends take time – it will not be done overnight. You may wait to see a person and decide then it is the perfect time to make amends. You will change your lifestyle and live each day caring for others and being selfless instead of selfish. First, you must acknowledge what you have done, then take responsibility for it. It will bring you humility, forgiveness, Making Living Amends During Addiction Recovery self- empowerment, and self-love. Drug and alcohol addiction has the potential to severely damage relationships between the addict and their loved ones, leaving behind only a shell of the relationship that used to be. Steps eight and nine of the 12-Step Program clearly reference making amends, highlighting the importance of repairing those relationships, if possible.

What does making amends look like?

Merriam-Webster defines making amends as “to do something to correct a mistake that one has made or a bad situation that one has caused.” When you make amends, you go further than just saying “I'm sorry.” You acknowledge your errors, then take action to make up for what has happened in the past.

An essential part of addiction treatment and recovery is learning how to offer amends for your actions and behaviors while you were under the influence of various substances. By now, people who have reached this step have begun making amends to themselves by altering unhealthy behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs. However, when faced with the responsibility of confronting others, a person working this step may experience an enormous level of fear and expectation. There is often the fear of rejection or retaliation, or, as noted, having to deal with the emotional impact of making direct amends. The first step in making amends is identifying to whom you need to apologize.

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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. Making direct amends means actively confronting your behavior with the person who you harmed. In some cases, simply opening up a conversation with a friend or family member about your history of alcohol use can begin the process of making amends. Each person’s experience of addiction and recovery is unique.

Making Living Amends During Addiction Recovery

For example, if you broke a friend’s plate in anger, you would apologize and then replace the plate. Learning from your mistakes is also an element of direct amends. From now on, you would respect your friend’s property and learn to control your angry outbursts. Chances are, you hurt some of your loved ones during the throes of your addiction. Read on to learn how to make amends with loved ones after rehab. Once you make amends with someone, they may or may not want to forgive you. They may also need some time to process their thoughts and emotions after you approach them.

Making Amends After Addiction Recovery

Regardless of the motivation behind his letter, it gives us a prime moment to reflect on the process of making amends and the possibilities of conciliatory actions. By becoming a member of the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship, millions of people yearly are promoting sustainable sobriety by using the support of peers and accountability. However, it is vital to note that 12-step programs and other support groups are most effective in early recovery when used as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program. Living amendsis a bit different than making amends, per se. It means being committed to a completely new, sober lifestyle, both for oneself and for those that have been harmed by one’s past behavior.

  • If you are not willing to ask how you can make it up to the person, you are not ready to be making the amends in the first place.
  • The goal in making amends is “to freely admit the damage we’ve done and make our apologies,” according to The Big Book.
  • Character is built out of both the good and bad experiences and there should be no shame in admitting our wrongs while working to move past them.
  • Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by ARK Behavioral Health, a paid advertiser of one of our treatment partners.

You can start making amends by showing up, even if it’s years later, to do the things you said you’d do. These promises are often the most difficult to keep because addiction plays a decisive role in a person’s ability to live up to their promises. Their parent may feel more pain for their addicted child’s inability to get sober than the material items lost due to the thefts. Ways of accepting their death, making living amends can help bereaved individuals find forgiveness and closure, especially when reconciliation is no longer an option. Living amends bridges the gap between living in shame and regret and finding forgiveness. Mountainside is proud to be 1 of only 7 addiction treatment centers in the United States to hold a 3.7 ASAM certification as well as dual accreditation from CARF International and The Joint Commission.

Promises to do things differently

Direct amends are not always possible or practical, but that doesn’t mean the individual is unable to demonstrate changed behavior. Volunteering for a worthwhile cause or supporting a charity can be a valuable way to make amends. A 12-step program is designed to encourage long-term sobriety, by fostering a spirituality for recovery.

  • An indirect amend is when things cannot be fixed or undone so you find ways to repair them by volunteering and helping others.
  • Listen and Validate Be willing to listen to their side of the story, opinions, or thoughts on the matter.
  • You will still follow the same guideline as above when making financial 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.
  • Many of us were taught by our parents to apologize quickly.

Overall, making amends can be a slow process for the recovering addict. Making Amends with Family members After Addiction can take time. These two steps require discussion, planning and reflection.. Instead of apologizing then repeating destructive behavior, it is far better to commit to living a sober and healthy life.

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