Making Amends in Recovery

One of the most well-known steps in a twelve step recovery group is that of making amends to those you have wronged. People are familiar with this step because it is one of the most difficult but important elements of recovering from an addiction. An addict may have hurt people in their lives or damaged relationships and they need to address these issues if they want to remain sober.

Making amends consists of both step eight and nine in an AA program and most members of the group will already have worked through many other issues before they reach this point. Step eight asks the addict to make a list of all the people they have harmed and become willing to make amends with them. Step nine asks them to make direct amends to the people on the list in whatever way possible.

This process can be challenging and delicate and will usually require the help of a sponsor or a counselor who can help the addict prepare for what they will say and do. Making amends can be complex because it involves more than simply apologizing for something that you have said or done. It means restoring justice to the person who has been wronged in any way possible, either directly or in a symbolic way.

Making direct amends may not be possible in all cases but the addict may find a way to do something positive that gives back or restores what they have harmed. A sponsor or counselor can assist you in thinking of ways to make amends that will help others and repair some of the damage caused by your addiction. Making amends opens doors to bring back old friendships and relationships to your life so that you don’t have to avoid or feel guilty about the people you have hurt.