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Making Amends

Old 02-15-2012, 10:18 AM
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Making Amends

I believe that one of the key components, if not the key to obtaining and maintaining sobriety is making amends. How many of us know what this really means? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines amend as to change or put right. It makes no mention of apooigizing only to repeat the same offensive behavior again and again. The only person we can change is ourselves. We cannot amend or change others as a well known recovery program implies in it's steps. We must fix ourselves. This may be the most difficult thing we ever do. Those who expect an effortless miracle are doomed to fail. Recovery takes a great deal of willpower. The willpower to change ourselves. Are we willing to put forth the effort?
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by davidf938 View Post
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines amend as to change or put right. It makes no mention of apologizing only to repeat the same offensive behavior again and again.
How about apologizing for harm done, promising never to do it again, and then, in fact, never doing it again? That's all most people who were harmed by our past drinking/using really want.
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:34 PM
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So far the vast majority of amends I have made were received with the reply back to me: Just don't drink/drug again and that will be enough.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:46 AM
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I make amends everyday by not drinking. That has way more power than saying, "I'm sorry". I am living my apology.
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by UofI2008 View Post
I make amends everyday by not drinking. That has way more power than saying, "I'm sorry". I am living my apology.
Just what I meant. Our actions will always speak louder than our words. Those we have harmed are more likely to accept the positive changes we make to our lives than the words they have most likely heard over and over. We must demonstrate our sincerity.
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:13 AM
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I am newly sober. I have never been in a 12 step program and I have no one in my circle (what am I saying....of course no one in my circle! lol) that has ever been involved in one. But, apparently I had a sub-contractor that worked on my house that was in one. One day I get this letter in the mail. He was "making amends". All I can tell you is that I felt horrible, violated, dirty, stupid for all the things he admitted to doing while employed in my home. I was so pissed off that he took that guilt off his shoulders in the name of "making amends" and put it on mine. I was sick over it.

I have a tough time with that step because of this. To relieve yourself of guilt by burdening others with the truth is something I'm not sure I can understand (at least at this point).

Can someone help me understand how this works? Because honestly...I wish I never knew what this guy was up to.
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:54 PM
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Unfortunately, many in AA believe that making amends is to apologize for things done wrong. As I have said earlier, to amend is to change. We need to change our behavior. The step does say not to make amends if it would harm others. Unfortunately, there are many in AA that do not fully comprehend. It would be nice if there were leaders who had been trained and could advise in a professional manner, but this violates AA's tradition of being "forever non-professional" .
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Old 02-21-2012, 02:29 PM
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Staying sober is not an amends. Step 9 doesn't say stay sober to make up for all the crap you did.

An apology is not an amends. An amends almost always includes an apology, but apologizing is way too little to do to qualify for an amends.

Did you steal money to support your addiction? Apologize AND pay it back.

Did you bad mouth someone in front of someone else? Apologize to the person, in the presence of the other person.

Did you become verbally abusive? Apologize to not only the person you abused, but their immediate family/loved ones as well. Enrolling in an anger management course as part of this amends may help too - not all of us drunks are abusive, you may have other issues as well.

Keep in mind the two qualifiers in step 9:

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
This can get tricky, but don't kid yourself that an apology or the "living" amends of staying sober is what the BB has in mind for step 9.
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:28 PM
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This is the Secular Connections Forum where:
Originally Posted by SoberRecovery.com
12 Step Programs are off topic for this forum and posts discussing 12 Step Programs will be removed.
My amends are more in the way of apologies I guess. That fashion of remedy has been accepted by all those I have hurt with my past bad behavior. Relationships have been healed, family has be appeased and I'm done with the whole lot of it. Its onward and forward today.
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:19 AM
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I've never apologized for most of my bad behavior. I don't do it anymore, and I think that counts for something. By and large the people who got the brunt of my addiction were other addicts and I don't feel I owe them an apology. When you're doing drugs you accept crappy behavior from other addicts, that's the game and if you don't like it you stop doing drugs. I don't expect them to apologize either.

I do know that my parents wondered about my behavior when I was doing meth. But they didn't know I was on drugs. I don't see how it would be productive for me to go tell them most of the weirdness was due to that. They don't understand how you could try drugs, let alone get hooked. It would probably make them question their parenting and what's the point? They aren't having more kids. There are lots of other reasons. And sure, maybe I'm just justifying to myself why I don't apologize. But it won't change my mind.

Bottom line: I stopped with the bad behavior. I can't change it so if you can't get over it feel free to cut me out of your life.
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by gneiss
By and large the people who got the brunt of my addiction were other addicts and I don't feel I owe them an apology. When you're doing drugs you accept crappy behavior from other addicts, that's the game and if you don't like it you stop doing drugs. I don't expect them to apologize either.
I feel much the same. Many of the addicts I hung around hurt me and I hurt them. It was the nasty nature of the 'game' that we all participated in knowingly or not. I have no business revisiting then for amends or apologies. It could get real ugly if I did.
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by sober4metoday View Post
I am newly sober. I have never been in a 12 step program and I have no one in my circle (what am I saying....of course no one in my circle! lol) that has ever been involved in one. But, apparently I had a sub-contractor that worked on my house that was in one. One day I get this letter in the mail. He was "making amends". All I can tell you is that I felt horrible, violated, dirty, stupid for all the things he admitted to doing while employed in my home. I was so pissed off that he took that guilt off his shoulders in the name of "making amends" and put it on mine. I was sick over it.

I have a tough time with that step because of this. To relieve yourself of guilt by burdening others with the truth is something I'm not sure I can understand (at least at this point).

Can someone help me understand how this works? Because honestly...I wish I never knew what this guy was up to.
If that sub had no intention of " making you whole "
.....that's no amend. Just a misguided attempt to unload some guilt.

heck, if it's still bugging you in the future, you may even call him
.............. and honestly talk about a remedy for his heartfelt "amend"

a little "prayer meeting", so to speak
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:00 AM
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If you wish to evolve to a higher spiritual plane then make all the amends you want to, what that has to do with quitting drinking though I have no idea.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:33 AM
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May I say that my xah, has never made amends to me, he was going to aa and worked the steps with a sponsor, he told me about step nine and I asked him, why you have not make amends to me? his reply was he will show me that he has really changed. A year later he not only moved out but divorced me, refused to help me out or talk to me, he said I was "crazy" and even call the police to get me in trouble, I never ever called the police on him, I was devastated, I was already going to al-anon, before the divoce was final, he made amends to his oldest stepson and kept in touch with him, never made amends to our younger son who was suicidal due to his verbal and emotional abuse or me. He did relapse few months later, he then wanted me to take him back, I was right there againg "helping him" to get back on his feet but told him that I will not taking back unless he was sober for a year and show he was working his program which to me meant to make amends to me and our son.
It has been a year since that last conversation, I have been trying to move on but still wondering if he will ever make those amends to me or our son, it is a way for us to find closure and to believe we did matter to him once as family, I know that day might never come, he may never apologized to us for all his abuse, and I am working my program really hard, but every now and then the sadness comes back and I can't help but to feel sorry for myself that I loved someone so much and that person never consider to have the compassion to say to us "I am sorry".
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:29 AM
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ODAT- sorry for your experiences.

I recall telling my kid recently - the fatal flaw with the golden rule ( referring to the Jesus version-love your neighbor as yourself) is that most people dont know how to love themselves or treat themselves. Until that piece is figured out the rule is moot.
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by dgillz View Post
Staying sober is not an amends. Step 9 doesn't say stay sober to make up for all the crap you did.

An apology is not an amends. An amends almost always includes an apology, but apologizing is way too little to do to qualify for an amends.

Did you steal money to support your addiction? Apologize AND pay it back.

Did you bad mouth someone in front of someone else? Apologize to the person, in the presence of the other person.

Did you become verbally abusive? Apologize to not only the person you abused, but their immediate family/loved ones as well. Enrolling in an anger management course as part of this amends may help too - not all of us drunks are abusive, you may have other issues as well.

Keep in mind the two qualifiers in step 9:



This can get tricky, but don't kid yourself that an apology or the "living" amends of staying sober is what the BB has in mind for step 9.
This intersects with one of the reasons I chose the AVRT method of recovery- I went to a meeting one night,went out to eat with some folks- and was gone from my home for 4 hours.
I appreciate the differences between making an amend for the past and apologizing for it- but can't help note the irony of being focused on working steps and trying to correct the past when (at least in my case) I have a family I need and want to be with at home. I realized that, for me, spending hours in meetings was only slightly better than going to bars- I would still be out in the name of my newfound pursuit of being clean instead of spending that time being an active parent and partner. In choosing not to work a 12 step program because pursuing something like AVRT liberates mental energy to focus on what I should have been doing in the first place- being fully human in the context of the family, work, and body. Even before I moved away from that model of recovery I would simply sit and stare at the poster and zone in on step 4- making an inventory. The other steps made varying degrees of sense- but step one presented a huge problem-I couldn't escape the niggling thought- If I am powerless to stop then wtf am I doing here?
Its noble to make amends- it is also ok to move on- sometimes the harm in making your "now" "then" isn't so obvious, and, as was pointed out- sometimes people aren't as keenly aware of what an ass you have been- though anyone would appreciate the return of lost money!
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:42 AM
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Its noble to make amends
Coming from the other side of the house I have to disagree with this. At least with my wife there is no amends she can make. She says she doesn't even remember most of the horrible stuff she did. I am separated and in the process of divorcing her. The only amend she can make to me is to stay out of my life forever.

To me making amends is kind of like walking into a burn ward with a can of gasoline and lighter and then promising not to light it. Sorry, I've heard that before and that's why I'm in the burn ward.

I salute everyone who is in or has recovered from addiction, I know what that is like. I'm a big fan of AVRT. However it doesn't change has happened in the past and while I may forgive you it doesn't mean the scars are magically healed.
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