How to Make Amends Through 12 Step

Making a list of those you have harmed with your addiction and making amends for your harmful actions, the eighth and ninth steps in the 12-step philosophy, are some of the most important parts of the recovery process. However, it can be difficult to do make amends, and trying to can often lead to frustrations for both the recovering addict and those to whom they are attempting to atone. Therefore, it is important to know how to best make amends through 12-step before you begin the process.

Amends vs. Apologies

It can be very beneficial to apologize to those you have hurt with your actions or words while you were deeply addicted, but it is important that you understand the difference between making amends and apologizing. When you apologize, you say you are sorry for what you have done, but when you make amends, you attempt to right the wrong you caused in a way that is safe and beneficial to the individual you have hurt. For example, if you broke something of someone’s when you were high, you can replace the item or give them money to buy a new item. Making amends is about balancing the scales and fixing what you have done to the best of your ability rather than just saying you’re sorry.

Respect the Other Person

making amends 12 step

Understand that you may not be forgiven.

This is incredibly important, as the individual you hurt in the past deserves your respect at all times. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “When a person has a drug problem, they have a disease that can hurt [their] family” and friends, and this pain can be difficult to forgive. That is why you must always respect the way the other person feels when you attempt to make amends.

  • If you are not able to obtain their forgiveness, try to be understanding and not demanding of their feelings.
  • If they do not want you to make amends, you can explain the importance of the 12 steps, but do not be pushy. Sometimes, people will not want you to try and atone for what you have done.
  • If they ask questions of you, or make requests, be respectful and considerate. However, you do not need to do anything that will be harmful to you either.

Remember: You Cannot Always Make Amends

Accepting the moments where you cannot make amends for certain actions is, unfortunately, part of the process as well. Sometimes, you will not be able to right a certain wrong, talk to a certain person, or change something that happened in the past. Being able to understand and accept that restoration can sometimes not be made is also part of the journey toward recovery. Once you know you have made amends to the best of your ability, you will be able to see the difference it will make in your life, in your recovery, and in your relationships with others.

Do You Need Help Making Amends Through the 12-Step Process?

Or would you like to learn more about 12-step programs in general? Call 888-905-9004. We can answer any questions you might have regarding the program, its philosophies, and the best way to live your life through them.

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