The concept of making amends is commonly associated with the 12-Steps to recovery. The Eighth and Ninth Steps of the program focus on creating a list of individuals someone has harmed and making amends when appropriate. We at the Lakehouse Recovery Center do not solely endorse the 12-Step approach. The Lakehouse believes that treatment should be individualized to each client and should not follow a strict or fundamental set of guidelines. There is always a danger to the one-size-fits-all approach of any one particular program.
Despite this approach, we still believe in the importance of making amends to those harmed during addiction. This could include hurting children if unable to care for them in the way they need, or even those you may have stolen from as a way to fund your addiction. Whatever the reason may be, making amends offers a mutual benefit. The individual wronged receives the apology they deserve, and you hopefully find peace with the choices you have made in your past. It may be difficult at first to muster up the courage to make amends, but it can reap so many benefits for your recovery.
How Making Amends Helps You
Reaching the stage of recovery where you have the chance to focus on making amends with those you have hurt can be very healing. During this time, the focus is to repair the damage that your addiction has caused others. You first should feel solid enough in your recovery to handle the emotions that might be triggered while repairing the damage.
While this stage of recovery focuses on all damage caused by addiction, repairing relationships is a significant part of it. There is often a great deal of shame and guilt because of your actions during active addiction. Even when people may not be so forgiving or receptive to making amends, taking this step is still significant.
It means you have finally come to the point in your recovery where you can fully acknowledge the mistakes you have made, take responsibility for them, and move on with your life. You can not maintain recovery in the future if you constantly allow negativity from your past to penetrate your present.
Ways to Go About Making Amends
There are several ways for you to make amends. This is something that you can begin to work on while still in treatment through the help of a relapse prevention program. While the primary focus of relapse prevention is to recognize specific trends that might lead to a relapse, it is also a time for you to focus on working toward things you hope to accomplish upon leaving treatment.
During this time, you might focus on who you would like to make amends with and the best way to go about doing it. Our skilled staff has the means and capabilities to help you accomplish that while learning coping techniques for handling the emotional fallout that may follow.
The article from the YJBM about relapse prevention and the five stages of recovery provides some ways for you to focus on the repair stage of recovery. One of those methods includes using cognitive therapy to defeat negative self-labeling, which might help deal with the feelings of guilt and shame often experienced.
Another way to focus on the amends process is by writing down what you want to say to those before approaching them. It can also be beneficial to educate individuals, not to make excuses, but to help them understand that you are not your addiction.
Proper Amends Do Not Happen Over Night
Lastly, remember that the process of amends can be an emotional experience for those you are making amends to. It is important to not take it personally if they have difficulties finding peace or forgiveness towards you. They may come around in their own time, but be sure to realize that you have made an amazing stride in your recovery by being able to take that step for yourself. Just because others may not be able to come around does not discredit the work you have done. Never forget that and never doubt what you can do.
Making amends is not easy for everyone, and it does not happen overnight. If you or someone you love is struggling with making amends, consider consulting your support network. Chances are, someone has gone through the process and has advice that can help. The beauty of recovery is that you never have to struggle with addiction alone again with support.
While the 12-Step program is not something implemented at The Lakehouse Recovery Center, one thing to take away from it is the importance of making amends during your recovery process. There are many stages of the recovery process. One of them is repairing the damage caused to your life due to addiction. For many, focusing on the repair stage means concentrating on repairing the damage done to their relationships. Making amends means being able to acknowledge, accept, and take responsibility for the mistakes of your past and how you may have hurt your loved ones. Even for those who find it difficult to forgive, being able to take a step toward making amends is a tremendous victory for you and a goal you can focus on during and after treatment. If you need treatment and hope to learn how to effectively and adequately make amends, call us at (877) 762-3707 today.