The Process Of Making Amends

The Process Of Making Amends

Most of us are aware of the success of the 12-step method of recovery. Structured as a task list, these clear-cut objectives add focus to a former addict’s journey and create a “goal-setting” experience that is both therapeutic and rewarding. Well, two pivotal steps in the process involve Making Amends; which is a treatment method we heartily embrace at Valley Recovery Center.


In the 12 Steps, Step Eight and Step Nine reflect making amends. Clearly spelled out, they read:

  • Make a list of all persons you have harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.


Who Have You ‘Harmed’?

So, making amends truly involves two components. The first is identification. We know how harmful an addiction can be for family, friends and even acquaintances. It is not uncommon for you to lash out verbally or physically to those close to you. Perhaps it’s a parent or friend trying to intervene. It can also be a co-worker, a boss, or even someone you encounter at the grocery store. Substances like cocaine and alcohol can make a person very volatile, leading to difficult confrontations.


If your addiction had gone on for years (or even decades), the list of people you “harmed’ can be a long one. We encourage our patients to dig deep and carefully look back at every big and small encounter they may have had under the influence. This, in itself, is a very therapeutic process. It allows for reflection, remorse and helps people come to terms with the damage their addiction may have caused.


How Can You Repair The Damage?

It’s interesting to note that the word “amends” differs greatly from the word apologies. Sure we think of making amends as saying sorry to those you’ve hurt, but it actually goes much further than that. Amends can be more closely aligned with the word “restoration.” What you’re doing when you make amends is restoring damage that has been caused. This could mean repaying financial debts spurned by your addiction. It could mean fixing damaged property. The purpose of this process is to handle unfinished business, which can prove to be very challenging at times.


If you notice, there is also a slight caveat in this Amends Step; namely, to avoid hurting the person you hope to rectify a relationship with. What does that mean exactly? Well, sometimes coming too clean can cause even more pain to a loved one. If your addiction led to you cheating on a spouse, for instance. Think deeply before revealing that after the fact. If you know it will cause more heartache and, on your recovery journey, you have stopped any and all affairs, then be selective in what you choose to reveal.


We understand that this can be a difficult process and a very personal one. At Valley Recovery Center, we use trained counselors and life coaches to guide each patient through the identification and reparation process. Every journey is unique, but it cannot be fully complete without revisiting the damage of the past. To learn more about our Amends Programs, give us a call at (866) 986-2486.


Valley Recovery Blog