26 Jun How to Make Amends After Addiction
There are many philosophies of addiction treatment and care, but nearly all recognize the importance of making amends. Making amends in recovery means more than just apologizing to those you have wronged. Going through this process means doing all you can to make your wrongs right, taking action and, in the process, forgiving yourself for what you have done. It isn’t easy, but making amends is an important step in your recovery process and one that you should take seriously.
Making Your List
In order to make amends, you must determine whom you have treated badly while under the influence of your addiction. Very addictive drugs can derail your life and also lead you to do things you wouldn’t have done otherwise. Maybe you took money from your parents or spouse. Maybe you neglected and ignored your children. Maybe you were even violent or emotionally abusive while high or drunk. Make a list of the people in your life you have treated badly and also include what actions you can take to try to make things right.
Why Is Making Amends More Than an Apology?
Apologizing to all these people you have wronged would simply mean telling them how sorry you are. While that is worth something, it does not go far enough in repairing the damage you have caused. Making amends involves more than just words. It means taking action. If you took money from someone, give it back. Even if it takes time for you to earn enough to replace it, you should make the effort to do so. If you neglected your loved ones, now you can spend time with them. If you caused lasting emotional harm to someone you love, be there for her. Attend counseling sessions with her and do anything else she needs to have her trust in you restored.
Control Your Negative Emotions
Making amends to certain people in your life may be difficult or even impossible. For example you might feel as if someone you love was a part of your problem. Enablers of addicts often think they are helping when really they are fueling your addiction by making excuses, giving you money, or ignoring your problem. If you learned about enablers during treatment, you might now feel resentful toward them. These people in your life still deserve your apologies and amends. Control your sense of resentment and any other negative feelings so that you can make sincere apologies and amends. Ultimately, you only have yourself to blame for your addiction.
You may also face instances in which making direct amends is impossible. Some of the people you have hurt may want nothing to do with you. Don’t push these people. Let them know that you want to apologize and do what you can to right your wrongs, but if they do not want to accept it, you may have to let it go. When you face this situation, consider doing something else in place of the amends you cannot make. Donate your time to a volunteer organization, for instance. The amends are not going directly to the person you hurt, but you can still make a positive impact on the world. Making amends after being dependent on the most addictive drugs is a challenge, but it is one that will give you great rewards as you begin to heal and repair the relationships that you broke.
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