You’re on your way to sober living. Through the 12 step recovery process, you are becoming a new person and learning how to take a healthier and happier approach to the way you live your life. In step nine, you have to make direct amends.
What’s the difference between making amends and making an apology? Understanding will allow you to get one step closer to addiction recovery and repair some relationships that may have been broken during your past.
Essentially, making direct amends is to go one step beyond an apology. You don’t want to simply acknowledge that you failed or made an offense in a regretful way. You want to try and make up for it. You want to repair that which has been damaged. Even if you cannot directly restore what has been broken, you can do so in a symbolic way.
One way to look at the difference is to see how you borrowed money from someone and then never paid them back. If you were to apologize, you would simply acknowledge that you had borrowed the money and never repaid them. A direct amends would be to apologize and give them the money back. This is an important part of the 12 step recovery and like the saying goes, anything worth doing is worth doing right.
The Importance of Making Amends
Throughout your path to sober living, you will find that there are many resources to help you determine how to reach addiction recovery.
During step eight of the 12 step program, you created a list of all the people you have wronged. Now it is time to make direct amends. When you cannot make direct amends, such as repairing or repaying, you can look at the indirect amends. For example, you cannot take back the fact that you physically assaulted someone. However, you can volunteer within a shelter for the abused or give to a charity of the person’s choosing.
You will find that many people make amends through public speaking as a way to give back to the entire community. This is part of the cleansing process and a way to bring closure and peace to the relationships that have been broken.
Apologies are a good start, but the best way to overcome the emotional distress of what you have been through is to make full amends. It will be better for you and those you have wronged.