Addiction is a terrible disease that affects every single person in our society. Whether you are an addict, a recovering addict, or if someone you know is affected by addiction, learning how to cope with addiction is something every person must learn.

As a person moves from a state of illness to health, they may find working the “12 Steps” to be useful. One of the ideas in the 12 Step model is making amends to those people an addict has caused harm to during the addiction phase of their illness.

Keep reading for your guide to making amends to others after recovery.

Don’t Expect Forgiveness

The concept of making amends to loved ones you have harmed isn’t to gain forgiveness. Forgiveness comes from other people, according to their own schedule. It is something totally beyond your own personal control.

Your actions are yours and for you. You should not expect forgiveness from other people. You should be open to the possibility of reconciliation, but you should not expect it.

The attitude of being receptive to forgiveness from others, but not expecting it, is the proper attitude of anyone trying to be sober. Once you truly adopt it, it won’t even matter if other people forgive you or not. You’ll find that by being open to forgiveness, but not demanding of it, it will creep into your life through the back door.

By not demanding acceptance from others, you will begin to walk the path to accepting yourself.

Definition of Apology

In many recovery traditions, the person making amends is implored to contact the people they have harmed during their addictive phase. The purpose of this contract isn’t to initiate a new relationship, but rather bring a catharsis to both sides of what was an unhealthy relationship (at least on the addict’s side).

The purpose of an apology is for the person who is making the apology to express it, not for the person receiving the apology to accept it. You should not expect anything from the person you are trying to seek forgiveness from.

The person might not be ready to forgive you. They might not understand the sincerity of your feelings or might need time to process what you are saying to them. Make your apology, but don’t expect the other person to accept it, or even to respond to you.

How to Make Amends

Alcoholic Anonymous is a very popular fellowship that helps people deal with addiction and recovery. AA is the originals “12 Step” program. Two of the steps focus on making amends to the people an addict has hurt during their addiction.

  • Step 8: “We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
  • Step 9: “We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

You don’t have to be a member of AA to find these steps useful. Anyone who wants to change their life can follow all or some of the 12 steps.

Making Amends

Recovery is a lifelong process. It’s not just something that happens to you, it becomes a part of your very being. Making amends to the people who you have harmed is an important step in moving away from addiction and towards a healthy and happy life.

Recovery isn’t something you’re likely to accomplish alone. Seeking professional help is a very important part of the process.

Check out our blog to learn more about one of the best inpatient treatment programs available.