Making Living Amends in 12 Step Recovery

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. Making amends is a part of life and for those who have struggled with addiction in the past, a necessary part of the addiction recovery process. “Freedom” seems to be the word that most clearly describes the essence of Step Nine. It seems to sum up the relief from guilt and shame, the lessening of our obsession with “self”, and the increased ability to appreciate what’s really going on all around us. We may even start to think of our past as a gold mine of experiences to share with other people we’re trying to help in recovery, instead of as a period of darkness that we regret.

  • While many people are receptive and supportive to attempts to make amends, some are not.
  • Guilt occurs from remorse over the ways that addicts may have treated the people closest to them.
  • It’s also important to take great care when making amends to someone who is in active addiction because our primary responsibility is to safeguard our own health and recovery from substance abuse.

There are so many kinds of situations and they all need to be taken into consideration on an individual basis. At this point in our step work we may be trudging the road to happy destiny, but we’ve reached the point where we must repair what we left behind us on a path of shattered relationships. As active addicts and alcoholics, we likely lied, cheated, or stole in order to get, use our drug of choice… because addiction creates absolute moral wreckage. As a sex addict, you may feel as though you will never get out from under the painful feelings of shame and remorse over your past behaviors.

How Long Will Making Your Amends Take?

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. Should others be unreceptive or outcomes aren’t as planned, don’t blame yourself. What you can control is how you’ll continue to make positive changes and live an authentic life free from substances. Our free, confidential telephone consultation will help you find the best treatment program for you. We can also guide you in approaching a loved one who needs treatment. So, for example, if you cheated on someone in the past, an amends is about making it right by being completely committed to the person from here on out.

living amends examples

“Working the steps with a sponsor and building that relationship with your sponsor is crucial, because your sponsor is that one person who knows everything,” she says. Living amends, which involve living out a new behavior and committing to not making the same mistakes in the future. Indirect amends, which are made via writing or some other medium that doesn’t involve face-to-face communication. Such as in a group text or to a gathering of people you have harmed. This, again, is a weak way of going about an amends and means nothing to those with whom you are attempting to reconcile.

Southern California Adult Children of Alcoholics

Guilt occurs from remorse over the ways that addicts may have treated the people closest to them. Shame occurs from the inner disappointment and self-hate that everyone experiences when we feel living amends as though we have disgraced ourselves or failed to live up to our own expectations. When it comes to making amends to others, there are usually a lot of fears and expectations involved.

What are some examples of amends?

For example, someone living with an addiction may make amends by apologizing for stealing property and then make it right by returning what they'd taken. Along with reinforcing new behaviors and outlooks, making amends can also reduce stress.

It is a more common experience than people think and there are many support groups and options available to help you fully heal. Landmark Recovery provides drug and alcohol recovery centers that help addicts take the first steps towards achieving and maintaining sobriety. Our therapy programs help patients to understand and cope with past mistakes with the eventual goal of leading a happy, fulfilling life that is substance free. Our caring staff is trained in residential treatment, individual and group therapy, as well as an intensive outpatient program and detox treatment.


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  • We are only in control of our part—making and living the amends.
  • So be sure to talk with your sponsor and/or support group about your plan in the event that you need support.
  • “Living amends” is about making daily changes, walking the walk, and showing a true commitment to everyone around.
  • It is about what we do despite that wrongdoing, “abandoning right to resentment .
  • Many individuals know that they need to apologize to someone they love but fail to do so out of pride or ego.

There are direct ways to make amends, such as fulfilling loan agreements, repairing broken property, or any number of kind acts. The most important part of making amends to someone is to alter your behavior and actions to become beneficial to the person you inflicted harm against, not simply apologizing. At Alta Mira, we can guide you through the recovery process with compassion and expertise that allows you to develop the insight necessary to make meaningful amends. Making amends requires the individual to correct their mistake. This action can demonstrate the person’s new way of life in recovery.

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