Making amends in addiction recovery is not just about saying “I’m sorry.” For many of us, the many “I’m sorry’s” heard during someone’s active addiction start to have no meaning.
Making amends in addiction recovery is essential for the addict to rid the self of the guilt and shame carried from specific behavior. It is an actual step in the 12-Step process, and is suggested to be done after prior steps have been taken and with the help of a sponsor.
A personal story of making amends in addiction recovery came from my daughter. When she was at the height of her addiction, and without my approval, she took a $500 cash advance on my credit card. Once she was sober and in recovery, she made amends to me by clearly stating what she was sorry for, and by making a payment plan in order to pay me back. Although she truly felt horrible for taking the money, this active amends helped clear the guilt and shame she had been carrying around.
Making amends in addiction recovery is also about being honest and compassionate.
I practice this step in my Al-Anon program as well. It’s just as important for me to acknowledge my wrongs and do my best to fix past behaviors. For instance, last week I was completely stressed at work and snapped at a co-worker. I was in the middle of an insane deadline and literally snapped. After I felt horrible and knew I had to make amends. I took some time to calm down and asked to speak to her. I apologized and asked her how I can make it better moving forward. The reaction I got was amazing. Apparently she had never had someone apologize like this to her. Not only did this make the both of us feel better, it strengthened our working relationship.
Whether you are in a recovery program or not, making amends is a powerful and beautiful gift. It’s freeing and can keep us all responsible for actions that may have harmed ourselves and others.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, please contact us at (888) 989-9690.