The eighth and ninth steps of AA and other 12-step addiction recovery programs, which instruct those in recovery to make a list of everyone they harmed due to addiction and then to make amends to these people, have elicited confusion and consternation among those first going through the 12 steps. The phrase “living amends,” like many other AA-coined sayings before it, has entered into the lexicon of drug rehab and recovery and can be so entrenched that newcomers have no clue what the two words actually mean. First of all, what does it look like to make amends, and how is it different from making an apology?
While apologies are about asking forgiveness for a mistake or wrongdoing, amends take things a step further, attempting to make reparations for that mistake wherever possible. For example, someone who stole money from their mother during their addiction can make amends by apologizing and then giving their mother the amount of money they stole. While the payment can’t totally make up for the past and the broken trust, it’s a goodwill gesture that shows the person in recovery is willing to repair the relationship. In this way, making amends combines apology and action.
In the case of paying back money stolen, this is a direct amend. 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? This is where living amends come in.
Where direct amends don’t cut it, living amends pave the way for a sober, emotionally stable future where the person in recovery is committed to a new life and new ways. Living amends is all about changing your life for the better, and sticking with the program of recovery. For example, someone who is living amends may be more responsible, helping parents or spouses with chores, and may choose to be more selfless and compassionate. Over time and through their lived actions, enacting the lessons learned in their addiction treatment center, those who live amends restore the wounds that can’t be waved away with a simple apology or even direct amends. Living amends, then, is nothing more than a complete and radical shift in lifestyle that rejects the past of addiction and looks forward to a future of long-term sobriety and growth.
If you or someone you love is trapped in alcohol or drug addiction, please call Intervention Drug Rehab Association today to learn about our luxury drug rehab facility, where every client’s needs are met. Our treatment program is based around individual and group counseling meetings, where clients delve into the root causes of their addiction, foster a community of sober mentors and peers, and learn from the stories and experiences of others. When clients leave treatment, they have the tools to handle stress and fight cravings with positive coping mechanisms. Please contact us today to begin a journey toward lifelong, sustained sobriety.