Admitting fault is not always easy.
Not only are we often hesitant to admit when we’re wrong, but we may also feel shame for any hurt we caused others. Making amends in recovery can be considered one of the toughest aspects of sobriety. As a drug rehab in Illinois, we know that emotional healing is just as important as physical healing in sobriety. Even if you’ve received substance abuse treatment, you may still have other areas of your life that may also need restoration.
What Does Amends Mean?
The specific idea of making amends in recovery is usually introduced in steps eight and nine of the 12-Step program. Step eight calls for you to make a list of all the people you’ve harmed and plan to make amends with each of them. Step nine refers to making direct amends with the list of people whenever you can, except if doing so would be harmful to them or others. A direct amend is the act of personally focusing on issues with people who were hurt by your behavior or actions during an active addiction. The practice of making amends involves taking accountability for the hurt you caused others because of your substance abuse and changing your behavior for the better.
How to Make Amends in Recovery
Even in other addiction treatments, the individual will begin to understand how their past actions affected their loved ones. At Banyan Chicago, we know that addiction is a nasty disease that can take a toll on a person’s health and character. No matter who they’re with, the person may begin to behave in ways that may be hurtful to others. Unfortunately, substance abuse is often the cause of broken relationships and homes. Regardless of your situation, making amends in addiction recovery can promote emotional healing and give you another chance to repair a broken relationship. Below are some ways you can go about this process.
Take Responsibility for Your Actions
You may dread this part of recovery, but the only way to begin repairing any damage caused by past substance abuse is to accept responsibility for your actions. If you don’t try to understand how your decisions hurt others, then you won’t make an effort to make amends with them. You must first accept the role you played in the damage to properly address it.
Express a Genuine Desire to Repair the Damage
This process is much more complex than a simple apology. Actively working to improve a broken relationship takes effort. Now that you’ve accepted the consequences of your decisions, you should express a genuine desire to fix things through your actions. It won’t always be simple, and it won’t always guarantee that the relationship will be fully restored. However, the focus of this process is to help yourself and the other person heal. As the famous saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and that is very true when making amends with others in sobriety.
Adjust Your Efforts According to the Person
Finding ways to approach this phase in your recovery can be tricky. Although it should be genuine, it doesn’t have to be complicated. How you make amends depends on the other person and how you hurt them. For example, if you lied to the person often throughout your addiction, they may be hesitant to believe your efforts now. You can work on making amends with this person by always being completely honest with them. Over time, the individual may realize that your desire to change is genuine and may be more willing to reconnect.
Be Aware of the Other Person’s Feelings
As step nine of the 12-Step program warns, do not attempt to make amends if it can harm the other person. This refers to both physical and emotional harm. You may be ready to address this after a recent addiction treatment, but the other person may not. Being forceful may only push them further away and cause more distress. If the other individual doesn’t show an interest in talking to you, don’t push it. Do your best to remain consistent and always remember to support your words with your actions.