Step 9 AA: When to Make Amends and When Not to

It represents many of the feelings and struggles you’ve had. By working through the list in Step 9 and making amends to each person named there, you will restore a piece of yourself with each conversation. Sometimes, making direct amends with someone may lead to further harm. For example, if you are estranged from a loved one and they will not see you, your indirect amends may involve reflecting on and modifying the behaviors that led to the estrangement. Making direct amends means actively confronting your behavior with the person who you harmed.

alcoholics anonymous living amends

Below, learn some of the best practices for righting the wrongs caused by active addiction. Although human relationships will always be complicated, doing our best to repair the damage restores our self-esteem and helps the other person resolve their hurt around the issue. “Freedom” seems to be the word that most clearly describes the essence of Step Nine. It seems to sum up the relief from guilt and shame, the lessening of our obsession with “self”, and the increased ability to appreciate what’s really going on all around us. 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.

Different Types of Amends

She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery. You can’t predict someone else’s reaction, but you can control yours. The purpose of making amends is not to receive the “right reaction” from the other person. If the person you’ve just made amends with does not accept them, don’t let that take away from the purpose.

alcoholics anonymous living amends

These “amends steps” help you make things right with your loved ones (and yourself) in ways that reduce your shame and guilt. This process, however, involves a lot more than saying “I’m sorry.” You must also make reparations and compensation as appropriate, and you must live differently as you move forward. On the surface, making amends might sound as simple as offering a sincere apology for your treatment of others, but there’s more to this cornerstone Twelve Step practice. Let’s take a look at this portion of the addiction treatment process of 12-Step.

When Do You Start Making Amends in Recovery?

Holding on to those emotions will catch you in a storm you cannot outrun. 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. An indirect amend would mean realizing that your action was wrong and then changing your behavior.

  • These amends affirm your commitment to sobriety and focus on how you’ll become a better person moving forward.
  • It’s important to note that not all actions are forgivable, and not all amends will be accepted.
  • Make a direct, financial amend by setting up recurring payments until you have repaid everything you owe.
  • When appropriate, remind others that you are here if they change their mind or wish to talk.

Allow us to help you as you work through recovery and take the necessary steps in order to live a fulfilling life after addiction. As you’re making amends, it’s important to keep living amends a few things in mind. It’s important to make sure that you are in the best mental space before making amends. Here are some tips on how to make the process smoother for you.

About The Right Step

Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Sometimes we may feel emotionally unsafe in making 12-Step amends. If this is the case, seek the advice of a qualified treatment professional or licensed therapist. Family matters may be best addressed in a proper therapeutic setting when possible. Steps 8 and 9 of the standard Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program address the 12-Step amends process. For instance, when apologizing to someone you stole money from, you’ll also return the amount you took.

What are some examples of amends?

Example: "Your trust is really important to me, and I want set things right." Make amends. Example: "I know that you asked for my help because of the expertise I could have provided. I want to make it up to you.

Making amends is more than saying sorry for hurting the other person. 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. The path to addiction includes saying and doing things that harm others.

You may have even been rushed into apologies without actually feeling ready. This gives us the habit of feeling like a “late” apology is no longer valid. However, taking the time to truly think through an apology is far more valuable than a rushed one. Show them that you’re willing to work towards regaining their trust again. If you are not willing to ask how you can right the wrong, you are not ready to truly make amends. Make direct eye contact and nod your head as they explain their feelings to you.

  • Once you become more self-aware, you can take steps to apologize and repair what may have become broken.
  • Since nobody is perfect, making mistakes is a part of everyone’s life.
  • Contact us to learn more about our proven track record of helping people in their journey to recovery.

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. While some people are excited about this process and want to dive right in, others hesitate and even struggle to admit what they’ve done. No matter which camp you fall into, the instructions below will help you to get started on Step 8 and Step 9.

This action can demonstrate the person’s new way of life in recovery. It goes beyond simply apologizing to taking steps to right a wrong. Whenever possible, those in recovery are encouraged to make direct amends face-to-face with those they’d harmed while living in addiction.

Many of us find it helpful to reflect on our amends after making each one. Some of us do this by writing about how it felt to make the amends and what we learned from the experience. Humility is the freedom from pride or arrogance and having the quality or state of being humble. In the Ninth Step, we will focus on the spiritual principles of humility, forgiveness and love. Our sponsors can help us explore each of these concepts so that we gain perspective on the nature of our specific amends and stay focused on what we’re supposed to be doing. The key is that we keep the focus on ourselves and our “side of the street,” so to speak.

This included asking God over and again to reveal where I had been selfish and dishonest—not just from regular memory, but from my deepest inner self. This function brought to light many secrets I had kept from myself for many years. Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. You can ask questions about our program, the admissions process, and more.

  • Living amends represent the long-term actions you will take to remain committed to recovery.
  • If you’re participating in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or a similar 12-Step program, you’ve probably heard that making amends is an important part of your recovery journey.
  • Remember that step nine defines the only exception to making direct amends is if doing so would cause further harm or injury.