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

They have been hurt by your actions, and they may not be willing to forgive and forget. They may have been hurt in ways that you were not able to identify when preparing to make amends. If you shut out your friends when using alcohol, commit to rebuilding those relationships and being open to honest conversations. living amends When choosing to make amends, exercise careful consideration of yourself and others to ensure you avoid causing further harm in your recovery efforts. Before you decide who to approach and how you intend to make amends, reflect on your efforts at recovery and the intent behind making amends.

While many people are receptive and supportive to attempts to make amends, some are not. And some people in your life may not be receptive on your timeline. Communicating about the way you harmed others can evoke strong emotions. If you have devoted the necessary time and energy to the first 8 steps, you should have a solid foundation from which to approach making amends in Step 9. Your relationship with a higher power—no matter how you define it—can help you to remain open and willing, even as you acknowledge hard truths about pain you have caused to others. Before you start working step nine, you must have already completed step eight. Step eight says “Made a list of all the people we have harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.” You cannot work the 9th step effectively without doing step eight first.

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Wash a car, mow a lawn, visit with an elderly relative or do anything else that’s useful and considerate. A sincere apology is a necessary step for sure, but an apology by itself is not enough to undo the pain and heartache that one’s addiction can cause. On the other hand, your loved ones may simply say that they are not ready at this moment and leave the conversation there. You can try again in the future to reach out, but you need to wait a significant amount of time. Talking with your counselor can help in determining exactly how long to wait depending upon the circumstances of the situation. Some of these same things can happen to the other person in the process. They may find resolution and understanding about the past.

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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.

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Now that you’re committed to a sober life, make it all about others as well. Volunteer your time to help your favorite charity or cause. A few examples are working in a soup kitchen, helping out at an animal shelter or donating your time to any worthy cause that resonates with you. When you make amends, the way you look and feel about situations changes. You can gain clarity about what happened and what should have happened. Sometimes it can be hard to know what to say when preparing to make amends. There may be so many times we feel we let someone down that it can be hard to know where to begin.

So, speaking with your friend or family member face-to-face is important. Indirect amends refers more to the thoughts and attitudes behind the behavior. Indirect amends focus on the mentality that must change for the better. The practice of being honest with yourself regarding your behavior is crucial. Recognizing how your behavior has harmed others is the first step.

Wait, what does it mean to make amends?

In fact, two of the 12 Steps are specifically about making amends. Unlike apologizing, making amends involves acknowledging the hurt, amending your behavior , and righting a wrong.

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