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How Can I Practice Living Amends?

As Kessler describes, this woman may decide that her way of making amends is to always answer the phone when someone she loves calls after a fight. Though this cannot undo or directly compensate for the initial mistake, it can serve as living amends that comes through a different way of being in the world. In that act, your actions in their memory make you and the world a better place. When someone is alive and you’ve hurt them, amends are more straightforward. You might go to that person and take responsibility for what you have done wrong, express you deep remorse, and ask what you can do to make it up to them.

Part of healing the past is owning the wrongs we have made towards people and places while living in our addiction. An amends is not an apology or “I’m sorry” for a wrongdoing. The most widely accepted way to offer an amends is to simply state, “I did (fill in the blank), what can I do to make that right for you? ” It living amends is not a time to make excuses for our behavior instead, it’s an open door for the wronged person to express themselves. They get the opportunity to express how my actions affected them. For the amends process to be successful, you first need to focus on healing yourself, then be willing to forgive yourself and others.

Making Amends: How to Approach Step 9 AA… and When Not To

It follows, then, that Step Nine is a challenging step. Thankfully, there are tips you can take to help make your living amends permanent and lasting. Not all amends can be as concrete as the amends Zacchaeus made. It is often not a matter of returning money we have taken.

Whenever possible, those in recovery are encouraged to make direct amends face-to-face with those they’d harmed while living in addiction. It may be difficult to accept that you’re not always going to be able to make amends to people who you’ve wronged in some way. Some might be too tested by prior behaviors and actions that they simply need space. Or the people you need to apologize and make amends to are no longer living. Whenever possible, a direct amend is made face-to-face rather than over the phone or by asking someone else to apologize on your behalf.

Renewal Center for Ongoing Recovery

I also told her that I did not want any walls between us. These amends and the conversation that followed helped to restore the trust between us. However, it is worth mentioning other types of recovery programs will also include the amends process at a specific point in your program.

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.


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