One of the things some people really struggle with when working their steps is making amends to those they hurt while in active addiction. This can be very challenging for some in recovery, since admitting they had a problem and asking for help in the first place was a big step. Or maybe they are just not ready to face those that they hurt and did wrong, and that is okay. Some do not see it as them wronging those in their life but rather it was others who harmed them instead. No matter the cause for hesitation, it is important to realize that the eighth step is more about the addict accepting responsibility where it is needed.
Forgiveness is Key
Forgiveness is the biggest key here. In making an amends, the end goal is forgiveness of some sort. That said, it is important to realize that everyone you make an amends to will not always accept that apology and that is their choice. Just because they do not accept your amends does not mean you did not make the effort. However, depending on the circumstances of course, you will more than likely find that a majority of people will greatly respect the changes you are trying to make in your life, and will more than willingly accept it. For those who do not accept your amends, that does not mean that you cannot forgive yourself for what you have done to them. As important as it may seem to get the forgiveness of others you have hurt, it is just as important for you to take accountability, recognize your worth, and forgive yourself. whether you realize you were carrying them or not, this can help by lifting those heavy weights of guilt you have been carrying around off your shoulders.
In the time that you spend making your amends and recounting the past it is important that while doing so you try to put yourself in their shoes. By looking at it from the perspective of the person you are making amends to you will be able to better understand where they are coming from, what they felt and see how it has affected them and your relationship from then to now. Doing this may also help you better understand where you were coming from and how it can or may be misconstrued. Further, it is important to set aside any harms they may have done to you. This is about cleaning up our side of the street- their inventory is their own, and matters little in your own amends process.
Changes in Both Words and Actions
Another large part of the amends process is making an effort to behave differently in those relationships from then on out. Most of our loved ones were used to hearing “I’m sorry” over and over again, but these words lost their meaning as we continued to cause harm and behave selfishly. In order for the amends to “take” and truly have a chance to heal our relationships, we must continue working a program, trying to live by principle, and to begin showing up for those relationships in an unselfish manner. Our sponsor or trusted friends in the program can guide us to how this is best accomplished in each relationship, but without a change in behavior, the amends will mean little (and will likely have to be repeated in the future).
If you or someone you know has a problem with drugs or alcohol, call the admissions team at Serenity Acres today for a free confidential assessment- 1-800-203-2024.