Addiction is a disease that not only affects the addict but also the people around them. It negatively impacts family dynamics by distorting the substance abuser’s thoughts and causes them to believe that they need a certain substance in order to behave a certain way that doesn’t actually stay true to their values. An addict may withdraw from those they are close to, lash out, or steal from the people around them.

When an addict gets sober, it can be hard for them to process the pain they caused to the people around them. However, making amends can help repair damaged relationships while reinforcing recovery at the same time.

making amends in recovery

Explaining “Making Amends” and Its Importance

When making amends, it is important to acknowledge and correct any harm that you inflicted on your loved ones while you were struggling with addiction. This means doing more than saying “sorry.” You have to show remorse through your actions and explain your approach to fixing your damaged relationships. Some benefits to making amends can be freedom from guilt or shame, regained trust, and increased self-esteem.

Don’t forget that making amends is doing good for others as well. When you’re talking with your loved ones, make sure you’re listening and validating their feelings so both parties can forgive, heal, and move on from past disagreements or trauma. Making amends can help you get a sense of closure and allow a fresh start, but it also helps your loved ones do the same.

making amends in recovery

When to Start Making Amends

To be successful while making amends, you need to heal yourself. Once this is completed, then you can focus on forgiving yourself and others. The idea of making amends stems from AA’s 12-step program that helps people achieve long-lasting recovery. The first 7 steps are about self-reflection and change, and steps 8 and 9 focus on relationships. Step 8 is where you confront your mistakes and you also make a list of all the people you may have hurt. Step 9 is about meeting those affected people so you can address any wrongdoing. 12-step programs provide a smooth transition to each new step so that people can have a successful recovery.

Different Types of Amends

There is not one standard way to repair a damaged relationship. You’ll need to see how much damage was done before trying to fix the relationship, then you can decide how you want to approach it. Some common amends include:

Direct amends: This is where you meet in person with someone to correct your negative actions. The goal is to show that you’ve reflected on your mistakes and you show that you’re sorry, but your words must be supported by actions. Be specific in your apology and have a plan on how you will fix the relationship. The other person will be more appreciative, feel more understood, and be more receptive to a meaningful apology.

Indirect amends: This involves situations where damage cannot be undone. An example of this could be you were driving under the influence and hurt a loved one and they cut off ties with you. For these situations, you can make an indirect amendment to right your wrongs in the best way. You could give back to the community by volunteering or you could help others that are also in recovery.

Living amends: This kind of amendment is looked at from a broad perspective and is not aiming to repair ties with a specific person. Living amends is essentially acting on the positive things you’ve said like incorporating healthy habits into your lifestyle. This affirms your commitment to sobriety and helps you be a better person in the long run.

making amends in recovery

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Published On: August 16th, 2022 / Categories: Addiction /

Your Road to Recovery Starts Now.

Give us a call or send us an email and an admissions counselor will be in touch to answer all of your questions.

310 E Dupont Rd, Fort Wayne, IN

Speak to an Admissions Counselor 24/7
(833) 762-3739
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

It’s 100% confidential.