One of the many consequences of addiction is how it affects friends, family, and loved ones. Unfortunately, addiction can take a person with goals and inspirations and lead them down a darkened path. On the road of addiction, aspirations, morals, and even personality traits can change due to the ways addictive substances affect brain chemistry. A person who was once caring, optimistic, and honest can change and begin to showcase manipulative, negative, and dishonest behaviors towards loved ones. The result is often hurt loved ones who are unwilling to continue a relationship with the individual struggling with addiction.
Step 8 and Step 9: Seeking Forgiveness and Making Amends
Fortunately, those who are committed to recovery can work on repairing relationships with themselves and others during treatment. While a 12 step approach isn’t necessary to gaining effective recovery, many steps used in AA and NA are helpful to individuals who wish to repair the damage done during active addiction. Both steps 8 and 9 of 12 step programs include both making a list of those who an addicted person has hurt and making amends to these individuals. In this article, we discuss how individuals seeking forgiveness in recovery can go about making amends and what they can expect along the way.
What is an Amend and how does it Differ from an Apology?
Making amends is a bit different than simply saying sorry for something you did. Basically, an amend is acknowledging that you’ve hurt someone through your direct actions or words. Furthermore, it includes explaining the changes that have been made through treatment to address the things you’ve done and said on a personal level. Finally, it involves identifying these wrongdoings so that the person you’re making amends to can gain the opportunity to heal and move on.
An apology, on the other hand, doesn’t involve changed behavior. Instead of proving that a person has made attempts to change and move forward by using healthier methods of dealing with hardships, apologies offer only words. Furthermore, an apology insinuates the objective of gaining forgiveness. However, direct amends in recovery do not require a person to forgive the person making amends.
If a person is serious about making amends to those they’ve hurt throughout active addiction, they must first accept the fact that they may not gain forgiveness. And, rather than seek forgiveness to make oneself feel better, to make amends to seek healing for the other person. Making amends in recovery is all about intentionally undoing the wrongs one has committed. To do this, one must accept that forgiveness is not bought or earned, but given willingly.
How Making Amends can Benefit Those in Recovery
Living with a past that’s haunted by addiction can come with a lot of shame and guilt. These feelings can often demotivate a person’s recovery efforts. But, keeping and maintaining goals for making amends can help to make people realize they’re doing what they can do to reverse the negative impact addiction has had on their lives and the lives of those they love. All in all, making amends further separates a person from who they are now in recovery from who they were in active addiction.
Make Amends in Recovery at Diablo Valley Drug & Alcohol Services
If you’re looking for help completing the 12 steps or simply want to begin the process of recovery to leave addiction in your past, we’re here to help. We understand how addiction works to hurt loved ones. So, we make a number of tools available for clients in our care. This way, they can work on repairing damaged relationships with family and loved ones that may have been negatively affected during active addiction. If you’re ready to take the steps needed to make amends to those you love and leave a life of addiction behind, contact us today.