What Are “living Amends?”


We may even start to think of our past as a gold mine of experiences to share with other people we’re trying to help in recovery, instead of as a period of darkness that we regret. We stop thinking about our lives in terms of what we don’t have and begin to appreciate the gifts that we receive every single day. And finally, we are very aware that in order to keep this feeling of freedom, we’ll need to keep on applying what we’ve learned while working the steps. When we do this this we gain a new perspective and the promises of the Ninth Step come true in our lives. Direct amends are not always possible or practical, but that doesn’t mean the individual is unable to demonstrate changed behavior. Volunteering for a worthwhile cause or supporting a charity can be a valuable way to make amends. You will most likely hear the term “living amends” from your sponsor or peers during your recovery.

Regardless of the motivation behind his letter, it gives us a prime moment to reflect on the process of making amends and the possibilities of conciliatory actions. Every person travels it differently, with unique experiences and opportunities.

By making direct amends, you’re doing everything within your control to right your wrong. 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. A 12-step program is designed to encourage long-term sobriety, by fostering a spirituality for recovery. 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.

Listen and Validate Be willing to listen to their side of the story, opinions, or thoughts on the matter. Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on AlcoholicsAnonymous.com. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA. AlcoholicsAnonymous.com is a referrer service that provides information about addiction treatment practitioners and facilities. AlcoholicsAnonymous.com is not a medical provider or treatment facility and does not provide medical advice.

Living Amends

In the 12 Steps, there are several mentions of the necessity for making amends in your recovery. Properly learning how to carry out these steps is a delicate process that is best carried out with the advice of an Making Living Amends During Addiction Recovery addiction counselor. For example, let’s say that your addiction caused you to drop a relationship in your life. Maybe you became flakey and stopped answering a friend’s messages or spending time with him or her.

  • If these relationships have been destroyed as a result of substance abuse, or if bridges have been permanently destroyed, it can be difficult to understand how to make amends.
  • If making amends doesn’t play out the way you wished it would, let it go.
  • However, not every mistake made while addicted can be repaired with money or direct amends.
  • Check out our new webinar series that unites recovery speakers from across the country in order to share a collective set of strategies and expertise.
  • I feel ready to deal with reality on my own and with support from family.

That doesn’t mean you should make it all about you, but strive to be honest about how you’re feeling. Learning to communicate healthily about those feelings will go a long way to righting old wrongs. Make sure to stay involved and interested in what they’re experiencing. This ties back into making tangible reparations for your mistakes wherever applicable. Your actions need to be well-intentioned and consistent in order to be meaningful. Rebuilding trust isn’t easy but by staying strong and unwavering, you’ll strengthen those bonds again. Post-recovery life comes with its share of hurdles and bumps in the road.

Unfortunately, there are many things that we do in our using that we can not rectify with tangible goods or direct amends. What about the late nights that we kept our parents up worrying? What about the relationships we ruined, the emotional wreckage we created? Sometimes direct amends are not possible, https://ecosoberhouse.com/ and this is where living amends come into play. Please contact our admissions team today to get started. Sometimes, the list of people who you’ve wronged can seem endless and be overwhelming to even start tackling. There is no set timeframe you must abide by when reconciling with your loved ones.

The person may not even remember the incidents in question from memory, but others may remember them quite well. What comes up may be feelings of guilt, shame, or something else entirely. The theme of making amends is forgiveness, and although it is one of the steps people may not like, it comes at this point in the AA journey for a reason.

You Can Work To Repair Damaged Relationships With Family And Friends By Making Amends

If we had not done ourFourthandFifth Steps, we would probably still be so confused about our own personal responsibility, we wouldn’t know specifically what we’re making amends for. If we hadn’t developed humility in theSixthandSeventh Stepswe’d likely approach our amends with self-righteousness, blame or anger. OurEighth Steplist was our practical preparation for working Step Nine. As we go into this step we must remember to stay connected to a higher power and have faith that the previous eight steps have prepared us to work the Ninth Step.

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The story I had told myself in active addiction, and in the first couple years of sobriety, was that they were a terrible person who had messed up my life. Direct amends involved going to the person you have wronged, apologizing, and helping make it right. Remember that part of making amends is demonstrating changed behavior. Even concrete steps like repaying a debt aren’t done once you hand money over; you also have to avoid betraying that person in the future. For this reason, amends are an ongoing process without an end date.

Landmark Recovery provides drug and alcohol recovery centers that help addicts take the first steps towards achieving and maintaining sobriety. Our therapy programs help patients to understand and cope with past mistakes with the eventual goal of leading a happy, fulfilling life that is substance free. Our caring staff is trained in residential treatment, individual and group therapy, as well as an intensive outpatient program and detox treatment. It repairs trust.You may feel like an entirely different person upon completing an addiction treatment program, but the people you’ve hurt in the past don’t know the “new” you. It may take a lot of work to rebuild the trust of your family and friends, and making amends can help move the process along. Every person enrolled in a drug and alcohol rehab program will have a different experience making amends. Making amends is about acknowledging and correcting the harm you have inflicted on your family or friends during active addiction.


If you don’t think your apology will be welcome, it won’t be helpful to the person or to you. When you’re working towards amends, it’s important to ask the other person what specific things you could do to help them heal. Communicate with them how much the relationship means to you, and that you’re open to hearing what they would prefer to you to do. At New Found Life, we provide an evidence-based continuum of care for men and women in recovery from substance use disorders. To learn more about our services and treatment philosophy, reach out to us today. You should also keep in mind that you are only in control of your words and actions when making amends.

Making Living Amends During Addiction Recovery

Yes, we partake in the process to “clean up our side of the street,” but we do not make amends to clear our conscience or undo our feelings of guilt. If someone does not want to hear from us, we respect that and do our best to move forward with our recoveries. When you make amends, you acknowledge and align your values to your actions by admitting wrongdoing and then living by your principles. If you’re struggling to make amends or feel overwhelmed by the process, seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide the support you need to make amends and start the healing process. Address harm caused or intended and take full responsibility for negative behavior.

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Two of the strongest feelings that recovering addicts experience when they get sober are shame and guilt. Guilt occurs from remorse over the ways that addicts may have treated the people closest to them. Shame occurs from the inner disappointment and self-hate that everyone experiences when we feel as though we have disgraced ourselves or failed to live up to our own expectations.

Many people in the 12-step program work with their sponsor to determine the best way to proceed through these steps. By now, life is starting to calm down, life has calmed down, some relationships have become better and you’re starting to feel more peaceful. You may have the occasional bad dream but the sense of true freedom from active addiction is starting to take hold. Chances are, you’ve traveled a painful, uphill journey to get to Step 8. Before long, you realize that you’re are clean and sober and now have with seven steps under your belt. You’ve likely experienced some uphill battles but with that, but you’ve probably also experienced some of the many gifts of recovery.

The action of making amends can help you during addiction recovery as well as encourage sobriety. When you make amends, you are committing to lifestyle changes and a new set of principles and values. People who hurt others during active addiction often find that the issue catches up with them in the future. Making amends helps to rectify any potential problems with the other person while possibly preventing repercussions that could contribute to relapse.

To Understand What Living Amends Are Is To Understand The Concept Behind Amends In A 12 Step Program

However, not every mistake made while addicted can be repaired with money or direct amends. How can those in recovery make amends for the sleepless nights, emotional turmoil, and fear inflicted upon their loved ones?

  • I’m just not going to speak to anyone.” Avoid the temptation to get out of this step.
  • While I did these things in active addiction, that does not take away from how wrong they were, and the pain and sense of betrayal you must have felt as a result of my actions.
  • A living amend might include a posthumous promise to the deceased child to, from now on, make it a point to walk their surviving siblings to the bus stop each day.
  • Now that you’ve beaten your addiction, it’s understandable that you’d want to move forward and never look back.
  • Making amends is about acknowledging and correcting the harm you have inflicted on your family or friends during active addiction.

This will help you to build a community and establish healthy relationships with those around you. Having people by your side who have forgiven you will also give a great sense of accountability.

What Does A living Amends Exactly Mean?

While there is no one set “script” for this process, there are a few key points that you should be sure to incorporate. Work with your sponsor, treatment center, and 12-Step group to determine which parts of this are right for you. Making amends is more than just saying “I’m sorry.” It’s going the extra mile to make things right.

Where Do You Start With Step 9 Aa?

Just like each person needs an individualized approach to alcohol addiction treatment, your approach to making amends in AA may look completely different from someone else’s. Some people will be easier than others to approach due to the relationship you have with them, how close you live to them, or other factors. In some situations, attempting to make amends may cause more harm than good. And in some cases, you may not be able to make direct amends at all.

Soon, you’ll run out of reasons to give your loved ones why you’ve failed them once again. When you make a real effort to change your past behaviors, you need to make the initial move in repairing broken relationships. These steps mean taking ownership of the past, apologizing for wherever you made mistakes and moving forward from those missteps. Another example is a substance or alcohol-addicted adult child who regularly steals money, jewelry, and other valuable items from their elderly parent’s home.

My experience here at Discovery Institute has been very valuable during my 90 day stay. I have learned more about myself and the importance of applying the tools Discovery has taught me once I leave. I want to the my counselor for caring about my overall welfare. She never gave up on me but instead stuck by me until the end because she believed in me. I am forever grateful and will keep all the staff and peers in my prayers and heart.

Less than 10% of addiction treatment facilities in the U.S. reported accreditation by CARF and The Joint Commission in SAMHSA’s 2016 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. We are proud to be not only dually accredited, but accredited by many of the Nation’s most respected accrediting bodies.


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