The Science of Step 9 AA: How Making Amends Can Help

When making direct amends, it is usually best to do so after a sustained period of sobriety and while in a calm state of mind. 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.

I also realized that in my childhood, that I had blamed my Dad for things my Mom actually caused by trying to get him to stop drinking. For years he had been drinking and she started later in my life, so I also blamed his actions for making her drink. This step does carry a condition—except when to do so would injure them or others. The benefit of making amends to the recovering person does not outweigh the need to do any more harm.

Making Indirect Amends

And those words ring hollow when we repeatedly break our promises. So, to truly make amends, we have to offer more than words. It’s really hard to apologize to those you’ve hurt — it takes courage and humility and requires a deep, intense look at yourself. Thankfully, there are tips you can take to help make your living amends permanent and lasting.

Step 9 of AA’s 12-step program directs people in recovery to take accountability for actions that may have harmed others and to make amends when possible. In Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), making amends is considered a crucial component of long-term recovery. The length of time it takes to complete the 12 steps of a recovery program can vary greatly depending on the individual and their circumstances.

Renewal Center for Ongoing Recovery

Over time, as you strengthen and deepen your recovery from addiction, you will undoubtedly revisit Steps 8 and 9 many times. Eventually you will find you are making amends day by day through the positive actions you routinely take in living by Twelve Step principles. However, these promises are usually the result of deep feelings of shame, guilt, and regret and may not be genuine for some.

  • We are seeking accountability for our own actions and holding ourselves to the standards of our own values and our 12 Step program.
  • On a similar note, the sixth and seventh steps give recovering alcoholics newfound humility in order to prevent blame, anger, or self-righteousness during their recovery.
  • Give each other space to figure out any new roles within your relationship and take things slowly.
  • You can’t blame your addiction-related behaviors on stress, a quick temper, or mere impulsiveness.
  • On the opposite side of the street are those individuals who simply say, “All of my amends would hurt people.

Your efforts to make amends may not always go as well as you hope. Try not to respond with anger or defensiveness if others aren’t responsive to your efforts. 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.

An Amend, Not an Apology

Yes, we partake in the process to «clean up our side of the street,» but we do not make amends to clear our conscience or undo our feelings of guilt. If someone does not want to hear from us, we respect that and do our best to move forward with our recoveries. As the last step in the AA recovery process, Step 12 functions as both an acknowledgment of all your hard work and its results, as well as marching orders for stepping into the rest of your life without alcohol. At Boardwalk Recovery Center, we support clients through the steps and encourage them to make amends when appropriate to restore their relationships and sense of morality. To fix broken relationships, you have to put a lot of effort into making things work.

Step 12 of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) calls on you to support other alcoholics. An alcoholic in recovery first creates the list of individuals they have harmed during step eight and then divides the list into four categories. what is a living amends The four categories determine the manner in which the recovering alcoholic will express their amends. In sum, when recovering alcoholics reach step nine, they are completely connected to their Higher Power.

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Today, some critics of the program find that aspect of AA problematic, arguing that self-empowerment is an effective way to manage addiction and achieve lasting recovery. Step 8 is a challenging list to write because this process requires you to hold yourself accountable for your mistakes. You can’t blame your addiction-related behaviors on stress, a quick temper, or mere impulsiveness.

  • Of course, there are many other books and resources available on the 12-step program, and what works best for one person may not work for another.
  • Part of healing the past is owning the wrongs we have made towards people and places while living in our addiction.
  • The reason why it is better to make amends earlier rather than later is based on experience and case studies.
  • You will need to demonstrate that you are committed to rebuilding trust and repairing your relationship with them.
  • During my drinking «career» I lived far away from my family, therefore, no amends were required.
  • But when I worked this step with my sponsor I realized that I had several issues that I didn’t even realize I needed to make amends about.

Early in my recovery, I learned neither my son nor my husband was listening to anything I said. For example, someone living with an addiction may make amends by apologizing for stealing property and then make it right by returning what they’d taken. Of all the 12 steps, Step 9 is often referred to as particularly challenging.