Why Is Making Amends Important?

Whether it was apologizing for being late for work, missing an event, misusing property or stealing money to support an addiction, expressing remorse was likely a daily occurrence. The guilt may have been real, but the apology didn’t come with lasting change. Making living amends can take on many different forms depending on the relationship to those affected by the wrongdoing.

  • If you have committed a crime in the past or are in a situation where you cannot confront the people whom you have offended, there are ways to make amends, indirectly.
  • When you make any amends, it is important to reflect on how you can apply the specific amends into making each one reflect within your living amends.
  • When you make living amends, you make genuine changes to support your emotional and physical sobriety.

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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. Making amends with the people you’ve fallen out with as you’re thinking about mortality and what happens when you die is one way of finding emotional freedom and closure. But what happens when the person you need to make amends with dies before you’re able to apologize and change your ways? Unfortunately, this scenario plays out much too often in the lives of people who didn’t get a chance to correct their mistakes and past behaviors in time. In this case, instead of offering a direct amend or direct apology, you can make indirect amends by doing something like volunteering your time to help others or donating money to a charitable cause. This is where Step 9 may dovetail nicely with Step 12, which suggests that recovered addicts try to carry on the steps’ message to other addicts who are currently struggling.

These steps mean taking ownership of the past, apologizing for wherever you made mistakes and moving forward from those missteps. Another example is a substance or alcohol-addicted adult child who regularly steals money, jewelry, and other valuable items from their elderly parent’s home. Many people in the 12-step program work with their sponsor to determine the best way to proceed through these steps.

My Loved One Needs Help

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. We stop thinking about our lives in terms of what we don’t have and begin to appreciate the gifts that we receive every single day. And finally, we are very aware that in order to keep this feeling of freedom, we’ll need what is a living amends to keep on applying what we’ve learned while working the steps. When we do this this we gain a new perspective and the promises of the Ninth Step come true in our lives. 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.

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It would be nice if the above outcomes were universal—but they aren’t (of course). Making amends won’t necessarily play out like the ending of a Hallmark movie. Sometimes, the outcome can be uglier and downright disappointing.

Family and Children’s Programs

I want to the my counselor for caring about my overall welfare. She never gave up on me but instead stuck by me until the end because she believed in me. I am forever grateful and will keep all the staff and peers in my prayers and heart. A few months back, she was traveling for an extended period of time. Well, the time came to continue my living amends to her and redo her entire master suite, including her bathroom. She came home to what she described as “a completely different house”.

what does living amends mean

Make sure to stay involved and interested in what they’re experiencing. This ties back into making tangible reparations for your mistakes wherever applicable. Your actions need to be well-intentioned and consistent in order to be meaningful. Rebuilding trust isn’t easy but by staying strong and unwavering, you’ll strengthen those bonds again. Post-recovery life comes with its share of hurdles and bumps in the road.

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