We’re telling the world, “Addiction made me behave a certain way. I don’t like it, and it doesn’t reflect the person I want to be in recovery.” Taking these actions helps us to separate ourselves from the disease of addiction. We come to understand that we are good people with a bad living amends disease. Steps 8 and 9 help us to move out of the shame we have lived in, shame that feeds the cycle of substance use and addiction. We strengthen and reinforce healthy recovery whenever we do our part to repair relationships or reach out to others with support and understanding.

What does making an amends mean?

Think of amends as actions taken that demonstrate your new way of life in recovery, whereas apologies are basically words. When you make amends, you acknowledge and align your values to your actions by admitting wrongdoing and then living by your principles.

People in recovery find these steps quite challenging. They face their fears, failures, and difficulties from substance use behavior. The times they hurt people, were absent, or caused pain to loved ones is not easy to face. The fault is squarely on them, whether they like it or not.

Art as Living Amends: Nick Cave on Creativity as an Instrument of Self-Forgiveness and the Necessity of Hope in a Fragile World

It takes a certain maturity and level of respect for yourself and the person you’re hoping to reconnect with to get past any past issues. For every time you said you’d be there or that you’d help someone do something and didn’t show up, you’ve left an impression upon that person that they can’t rely on you to keep your word. You can start making amends by showing up, even if it’s years later, to do the things you said you’d do.

living amends

Try not to respond with anger or defensiveness if others aren’t responsive to your efforts. They have been hurt by your actions, and they may not be willing to forgive and forget. They may have been hurt in ways that you were not able to identify when preparing to make amends.

Navigating Step Nine: Living Amends

The complexity of individual situations is why consulting with sponsors and professionals can assist greatly in your recovery process. When making 12-Step amends, we must do our best to set aside any exceptions from the other person. Remember, we are present to clean “our side of the street” https://ecosoberhouse.com/ or address our wrongs and roles to the best of our ability. The other person has every right to feel the way they do about a previous conflict. I think if we can move beyond the anxiety and dread and despair, there is a promise of something shifting not just culturally, but spiritually, too.

And that in itself is a way of making amends, of reconciling us with the world. They are forms of suffering that can weigh us down terribly and separate us from the world. I have found that the goodness of the work can go some way towards mitigating them.

How Do You Make an Amends to Older Kids?

As it says in step 9, make amends to someone only if it will not injure them or others. Some amends are best played out as a commitment to yourself, not to engage in the same behavior that caused the wrongdoing. Make amends when you are confident in your sobriety and ready to face the reality that is the impact your bad behaviors have caused. The amends process can be an emotional one, as you are having to admit your fault to various people you have harmed in the past. Despite being difficult, the amends process is exceptionally powerful, rewarding, and a truly moving experience.

One of the hardest amends for me was the one with my mom. Our relationship was always tough, and I was hard on her, to say the least. I put her through the wringer, and as I grew older it is one thing I regret the most. She now has Alzheimer’s disease and no longer can communicate. I truly struggled with this one because I was unsure how to make this amends and it brought me so much guilt.

The person may not even remember the incidents in question from memory, but others may remember them quite well. What comes up may be feelings of guilt, shame, or something else entirely. The theme of making amends is forgiveness, and although it is one of the steps people may not like, it comes at this point in the AA journey for a reason. It means the person has come to a point where they are ready to move forward through this step, but it takes some finesse to do it without causing more harm to loved ones.

By Step Nine, we’ve eliminated many of the destructive attitudes, perspectives and feelings we used to have, which makes room for love in our lives. When it comes to making amends to others, there are usually a lot of fears and expectations involved. We may be afraid about making financial amends, or afraid of rejection, retaliation and a host of other doubtful outcomes. However, making amends doesn’t always have to be a nerve-racking, dreadful or joyless experience.

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