How to Make Amends with Loved Ones

If you are in recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction and are currently working through the twelve steps, you will be aware that step 9 involves making amends with the people you have wronged. Step nine says:

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

It is a good idea to make amends with those who you have hurt, but for some people, this list can be quite long and so they may not know where to begin. Addiction is an illness that affects the brain and causes those who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs to say and do things they would not have done otherwise. This means that it can be quite common for addicts to say or do hurtful things, especially to the people they love. A long list of hurt people can be daunting, but it is not impossible to work your way through it.

Making a List

You have probably already made a list of those you have harmed in step 8, but it would be a good idea now to divide that list into three groups. The first group should be individuals you can make direct amends with now. The second group should be those you could make amends with at a later date, and the third group will be people that you will probably never make amends with.

Once you have your three groups, you can start with the first group and think about how you are going to begin making amends with those on the list. It is relatively easy to say that you are sorry, but it will probably be necessary for you to prove you are sorry, and this could be tougher.

Convincing Loved Ones You Are Sorry

While you were addicted, you probably made plenty of promises that you did not keep, so your loved ones will understandably find it hard to trust the things you are saying now. They will want to believe you more than anything and will be keeping everything crossed that you can follow through on your promises, but at this stage, you need to convince them that you mean what you say now.

You can do this by continuing to make positive changes and by doing things that will show them you are serious about moving forward and living a clean, sober life. This will include taking charge of your responsibilities at home, holding down a job and spending quality time with your loved ones.

It may be the case that you borrowed or stole money from your loved ones; if this is the case, you should start paying this back. This might just be a few pounds every week or month, but you can increase it when you can afford to pay more. Even if your parents say that they do not want the money, for example, you should still make steady payments to show them that you are serious about making amends.

Being Honest

Lying and manipulating others is a major part of addiction. Those who are affected by addiction will often do or say anything if it means it will help them get whatever it is they are craving. This means that your loved ones have probably learned not to trust a word you say. So no matter how much you say that you are sorry and that you are going to change, they will find it hard to believe you.

What you can do to rectify this situation is be completely honest about everything from now on; even if it makes you uncomfortable. Do not lie to your loved ones because you are embarrassed about the truth. If you are ashamed or embarrassed, talk to your sponsor first as this may help you to put your feelings into perspective. At the end of the day, how you feel should not be an obstacle to making amends because doing so will help you to have a successful recovery.