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Making Living Amends in 12 Step Recovery

If you damaged someone’s property while under the influence of alcohol, meet with the person face-to-face and offer to repair the damage or reimburse them for repairs already completed. The Hills star Jason Wahler celebrates three years of sobriety after years of struggling with substance abuse and a gambling addiction. Guilt for our wrongs can be one of the most deceptive recovery demons to bear because it damages us from the inside, where it happily hides.

This term refers to your desire to change how you live and your behaviors to remain committed to living a sober lifestyle. • Living Amends— a living amends is when you live out new behavior, committing to yourself and the other person not to make the same mistakes with another person. The point of a living amends is showing that you have learned from the hurt you’ve caused, and have vowed to be a better person from it. A living amends is necessary in some cases to show the person that you’ve changed. This is also the type of amends you will make to someone who has passed away that you owe an amends to.

Ways to Make Amends in Recovery

After all it is a regretful perception when with your thoughts you damage yourself both mentally and physically. Alcoholics and addicts are masters of the false apology. Naturally, our friends and loved ones become jaded with the constant promises of change that never occur. We play the boy who cried wolf, and we suffer the same consequences.

If you’re untrustworthy and unreliable, come to terms with those characteristics of yours. Figure out ways to improve upon them, and tell your loved ones what you’re working on to help you improve. You could volunteer at the library or animal shelter; you could living amends offer to pet-sit while your friends are away; or you could help your mom with a home improvement project she’s been working on for years. If the act of making amends will open old wounds or create new harm, then making direct amends should be avoided.

Should I Work on Step Eight Alone?

For your apology to truly count, you will want to take the time to fully address all aspects of the pain inflicted, the nature of your addiction, and your pledge to do better. You should also make sure to express how much you value your relationship with that person, and that you want to make sure you do not lose them. Hold yourself accountable and do not deflect the blame. It’s difficult to gauge our actions without taking into account the perceptions of those around us. To truly understand the extent of your wrongdoings you’ll need to step outside of your usual zone of perception and see things from the angle of the person or persons you have affected. Develop empathy for their situation and you will come to better understand how you wronged them, why it hurt, and ways you could possibly make it better.

Self-forgiveness can be a long and complicated process. Teasing out the difference between guilt and regret can be tough. One of the best ways you can make long-lasting changes to your relationships is by being true to your word.

“Make” Amends Versus “Living” Amends

Sometimes an indirect or living amends is the best you can do. Of course, if you can make direct amends you should do so; this is why having a sponsor or advisor to help give you direction is so important. If you aren’t able to make direct amends, then you can volunteer your time or help someone else out.

To me, it’s big things and it’s little things, and it’s just everyday things. Living amends begins when an abuser not only stops all of his abusive behaviors, but chooses to do the hard work of unpacking and owning his abusive thinking. 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.

What Are Living Amends? And How Do You Make Them?

But I retreat from them so that they don’t see and I feel that I do this so that they don’t worry. Anyhow during this time my father became very angry with me he blames me for my mother’s stroke and therefore in turn blamed me for her death. I was not allowed to be at her funeral and I was not allowed to see him when he was passing. My brother honored his wishes which was to not see me before he died.

How do you make amends in life?

  1. Acknowledge Mistakes. Many parents think it's wrong to be vulnerable with children by acknowledging our mistakes.
  2. Avoid Excuses.
  3. Offer An Apology of Words.
  4. Offer an Apology of Actions.

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