Courtesy and kindness, regularly practiced, help me to live in emotional balance, at peace with myself. When held in the bonds of an addiction, it’s not uncommon for many relationships to feel strain, or to fall apart together. You need to find the approach that works best for you. Talk with your sponsor or others in your recovery community about what has worked for them. If your actions match your intentions and you reach out in person, you are doing the next right thing to right past wrongs. And remember, if you are feeling ashamed about mistakes made and damage done during your using days, you are not your disease.
Deathbed promises are a common way people make living amends. They want to find ways of making up for all their past wrongs, and they don’t want to miss the opportunity to do so once their loved one dies. In these cases, they make promises of cleaning up their act and changing their behaviors to their loved ones just before they die. One of the most common reasons people want to make living amends is to correct past wrongs.
When and Why Do People Make Living Amends?
In Twelve Step recovery, your pace is your own to determine. No doubt you will experience challenges and setbacks along the way. But by prioritizing your recovery on a daily basis and doing whatever that next right thing might be for you, you will keep moving forward in living a life of good purpose. If making an amends means exposing ourselves to triggering environments, we ought to reconsider and discuss healthy alternatives with a sponsor or addiction counselor. On the surface, making amends might sound as simple as offering a sincere apology for your treatment of others, but there’s more to this cornerstone Twelve Step practice. Other individuals who have completed Step 9, such as your sponsor, may be able to help you choose a meaningful way to make indirect amends.
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. When I survey my drinking days, I recall many people whom my life touched casually, but whose days I troubled through my anger and sarcasm. These people are untraceable, and direct amends to them are not possible. The only amends I can make to those untraceable individuals, the only “changes for the better” I can offer, are indirect amends made to other people, whose paths briefly cross mine.
What Should Be the Goal with Making Amends?
I am not proud of that, but it is the reality of how I used to behave. 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 https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/boredom-drinking-and-how-to-stop-it/ family gathering. To act beyond our old patterns of behavior, many of us require guidance. Prove to those who love you that you are a person of your word, and they can rely on you when things get tough.
For example, we might intend to go to a friend’s birthday party, but in actuality, we fail to show up for the event. While we might apologize later for missing the party, our apology consists of words rather than actions or changed behavior. And those words ring hollow when we repeatedly break our promises. So, to truly make amends, we have to offer more than words. Think of amends as actions taken that demonstrate your new way of life in recovery, whereas apologies are basically words. When you make amends, you acknowledge and align your values to your actions by admitting wrongdoing and then living by your principles.
The Experience Blog
Although recovery in general must be done selfishly (i.e. you must put yourself before others in order to get well), Step Nine is the most selfless of all steps. It’s the point where we acknowledge that our behaviors damage others beyond ourselves. But to rectify this damage, we can’t maintain the same “me first” attitude that many of the other steps require. To fix broken relationships, you have to put a lot of effort into making things work. It’s not enough to say to someone that you apologize and feel badly for how you acted in the past.
- Undoubtedly, you, too, have a list of ways in which you want to live out your living amends, and that’s great!
- In these cases, they make promises of cleaning up their act and changing their behaviors to their loved ones just before they die.
- Whenever possible, a direct amend is made face-to-face rather than over the phone or by asking someone else to apologize on your behalf.
- Such situations may allow for partial restitution only.
- For example, if you had an affair for three years during active addiction, visiting your ex to fess up and say you’re sorry isn’t going to help them; it’s going to hurt them.
Yet, to be truly successful at forgiving and releasing past wrongs, you need to go directly to the individual you’ve hurt. When you go directly to the person, real spiritual transformation is more likely to occur. A 12-step program is designed to encourage long-term sobriety, by fostering a spirituality for recovery. living amends Each step signifies a new challenge to reflect and/or act in a way that changes old mindsets and behaviors that once fed addiction. Through mutual support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, members learn and practice these spiritual steps and principles, with a view to staying sober and helping others do the same.
It represents many of the feelings and struggles you’ve had. By working through the list in Step 9 and making amends to each person named there, you will restore a piece of yourself with each conversation. Sometimes, making direct amends with someone may lead to further harm. For example, if you are estranged from a loved one and they will not see you, your indirect amends may involve reflecting on and modifying the behaviors that led to the estrangement. How you start these conversations depends on your relationship with the person you harmed and the circumstances in which you plan to make direct amends.