Guide to Making Amends in Addiction Recovery: Step 9 of AA

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. Apologizing in this way may open the door to continued healing, growth, and restored relationships in recovery. The FHE Health team is committed to providing accurate information that adheres to the highest standards of writing.

Graduate School of Addiction Studies

Direct amends refers to going directly to the wronged individual, apologizing and taking whatever action is necessary to correct a situation. If an individual damaged someone else’s home while they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, direct amends may require that they go to the property owner, apologize and repair damages. Those in recovery are encouraged to make direct amends whenever possible.

What Does Step 9 (Making Amends) Have To Do With Sobriety?

what is a living amends

I don’t punish them with silence (although I did do that in the past). Ninety percent of the time, I keep my mouth shut, but I am my son’s mother. I have a responsibility living amends to parent him and speak out for his best interests. Early in my recovery, I learned neither my son nor my husband was listening to anything I said.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders

With all those articles (that you should go back and check out if you haven’t read them), it would be easy to assume we have said all there is to say. But if you are dealing with guilt and grief, you probably aren’t surprised that there is more to say. Somehow in all this guilt writing, we have never talked about making amends with someone who died. When my husband misses a turn because he’s in the wrong lane, I say nothing. When he runs out of medicine because he didn’t call the doctor for a refill, I trust he has the intelligence to solve his own problem. When he handles a situation at work “the wrong way” I keep my opinion to myself.

They don’t always see my hands off approach as sincere kindness, but my motives are pure. The amends I made to her was admitting my wrongs and shortcomings due to my addiction. My living amends is being the son she deserves–someone who will do for her as she has always done for me. All types of amends are good, but living amends are some of the best kinds you can make!

what is a living amends

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. After acknowledging how actions tied to their addictions had a negative impact on people in their lives, those in 12-step recovery programs commit to making direct amends whenever possible. One of the most common reasons people want to make living amends is to correct past wrongs.

Addiction and Mental Health Resources

Remember, this is a Twelve Step process that can provide a platform for healing, but the person we are reaching out to may not be at the same place in healing as we are. We are only in control of our part—making and living the amends. As with alcohol and other drugs, we are also powerless over other people. We cannot control how others respond, whether they will forgive or whether they will hold on to negative feelings or resentments. People get tired of broken promises, of forgiving over and over and giving second and third, fourth, or fifth chances only to get hurt again. When you’re looking to change both your behavior and your broken relationships, stop making excuses to fulfill your promises.

  • We will honor the emotional consequences that stem from our behaviors, and seek to become healthier so as not to repeat them.
  • The next step is to talk to someone about those feelings.

Sometimes direct amends are not possible, and this is where living amends come into play. One of the best ways you can make long-lasting changes to your relationships is by being true to your word. 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.

  • Now, whether it is an apology, a want for forgiveness, or an amends, that person isn’t here and it makes it hard to imagine any of those things are possible.
  • The first step is to know that your questions and feelings are normal.
  • It is an important and powerful way of asserting that we have the same values.
  • In some cases, making amends may mean paying or promising to pay “whatever obligations, financial or otherwise, we owe,” the Big Book also states.

What Do You Say When Making Amends? – The Step 9 Amends Letter

what is a living amends

Finally, when we can be accountable and make amends, we are forced to face our humanness. It’s painful, but it forces us to understand ourselves more deeply and hold ourselves with compassion. It helps us learn from the experience and grow – in our relationship with ourselves and our capacity to love others. This makes it very difficult to tolerate the idea that our choices might make someone we care about upset. Additionally, if we continue to make the same choices, it causes us to use our minds to feel righteous about choices and make the other person wrong for feeling hurt or deserving of our choices. When someone I love and care about tells me that I did something that hurt or upset them, my first impulse is to show them how they’re wrong.

Elizabeth Vargas says she spent ‘years apologizing’ to her sons for her alcoholism — but that sobriety has taught her … – AOL

Elizabeth Vargas says she spent ‘years apologizing’ to her sons for her alcoholism — but that sobriety has taught her ….

Posted: Mon, 03 Apr 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Then we make space for other people to hurt and heal—not just now, but into the foreseeable future. If we are honest and sincere about our amends, then we will not repeat those mistakes, and we will not rush people to forgiveness. We will honor the emotional consequences that stem from our behaviors, and seek to become healthier so as not to repeat them. In early recovery, parents might feel pressured to make up for lost time and experiences.

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