A Guide to Making Amends

The path to addiction includes saying and doing things that harm others. Many times, addiction leaves loved ones hurt and disappointed. Although much of the damage cannot be reversed or undone, successful recovery includes reaching out to these hurt individuals and trying to heal the relationship, a step known as making amends.

Residents at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation support and encourage one another to reach their goals of a sober, productive, and fulfilling life. Contact us to learn more about our proven track record of helping people in their journey to recovery.

What is Making Amends in Recovery?

Steps eight and nine in the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12-Step program suggest making a list of the people harmed by addiction and being willing to make things right. However, AA recognizes that taking this step, in some cases, would cause more injury to that person or others. Making amends is more than saying sorry for hurting the other person. It includes an acknowledgment of the wrong you committed. However, it goes beyond this, to include doing everything that you reasonably can to right the wrong. All of this needs to take place face-to-face with the other person.

Making Amends vs. Apologizing

Since nobody is perfect, making mistakes is a part of everyone’s life. While these mistakes occasionally hurt another person, an apology typically restores the fractured relationship. In the case of addiction though, the wrongs are more serious, cause deeper pain, and often severely damage the relationship—damage that a simple apology cannot repair.

An addict usually loses the goodwill that holds most relationships together. This can include many areas of life, such as financial, emotional, and occupational. For example, making amends may require returning a few dollars or repairing an automobile. However, sometimes, it might take more time if the issue involves broken trust or fidelity.

How to Make Amends

There are different ways to make amends, such as:

  • Direct amends. These amends require you to courageously meet with the person to discuss your hurtful actions honestly. You then work with the other person to find a way to right your wrong or compensate the other person. If you damaged property in someone’s home, you would have it repaired or replaced in the best way possible.
  • Indirect amends. Some damage cannot be repaired or replaced. If you caused irreversible physical damage while driving under the influence, you must face this fact squarely. You can make indirect amends by volunteering in a hospital or other facility that shows that you recognize your harm. This can genuinely demonstrate your regret by helping people who have been similarly hurt.
  • Living amends. Actions speak louder than words, and some people need to see through your actions that you have turned your life around. You need to demonstrate that your destructive and hurtful behavior is in the past and that you now live a productive lifestyle.

Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

Our caring professionals can help you overcome your addiction and take the necessary steps toward sobriety. In addition, we offer a safe, clean, and supportive living environment that encourages our residents to participate in activities that foster confidence and success.

Contact us for more information on the Sanctuary Recovery Foundation located in Charleston, SC.