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How Can I Practice Living Amends?


If he specifically asks for my opinion, which he doesn’t, I will give it. When I first came to recovery, I was certain steps 8 and 9 would be a breeze. After all, I hadn’t hurt anyone (Step 8), so I didn’t need to make any amends (Step 9). In fact, every day I make a living amends to my husband, son, Mom, and brother Ricky. To discern whether to make amends, ask yourself why you’re wanting to contact the person.

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It can be a challenging list to write, even for those who want to embrace forgiveness and inner peace—but the list is important. It represents many of the feelings and struggles you’ve had. By working through the list in Step 9 and making amends to each person named there, you will restore a piece of yourself with each conversation. When first writing your list, don’t worry about including everyone you have wronged.

How Step 9 AA Reduces Drug-Seeking Behavior

The continued awareness this demands makes it easy to pair the step with its accompanying principle. Now you need to make amends to others so that you can start fresh with them as well. In step 6, you have to prepare for your sins to be taken away by admitting to yourself that you’re fully ready to move past them. Step 4, which involves documenting every mistake you’ve ever made, is clearly tied to courage.

aa 12 step what is a living amends

But I know they will know, we had settled everything made our amends to each other and enjoyed the rest of their lives. This makes me realize more and more how much this program is a lifetime program. This was a good start for me but there were still a lot of “I’s” as I experienced this step. As with all the steps I have found for me, that as time moves on they reveal more and more to me. I have found that there is so much spiritual depth to them. The more I practiced this step the more I found out how much healing comes from it and not just for me.

What Is Step 9?

Making amends means apologizing but also goes one step further—doing everything in your power to repair the damage, restore the relationship, and/or, replace what you took. If you’re writing a letter, whether sending or sharing it in person, spend some time reflecting on and sharing the actions you’re taking to redress the wrong(s) done. Making indirect amends means acknowledging your faults and resolving to live well in the future. After acknowledging how actions tied to their addictions had a negative impact on people in their lives, those in 12-step recovery programs commit to making direct amends whenever possible.

  • Living amends, in this event, can include making changes to the behaviors contributing to the falling out between the survivor and the person they owed an apology to.
  • You can also turn to AA’s Big Book and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (the 12 & 12) for guidance specific to Step 8.
  • Living amends look different for everyone, depending on the specific negative behavior patterns you have identified while working the 12 Steps.
  • It’s not enough to say to someone that you apologize and feel badly for how you acted in the past.

Even so, the 12 Principles of AA have remained its central guiding influence. Many people suffering from alcoholism continue to find success in recovery by participating in AA’s program. By making what is a living amends direct amends to the person harmed the temptation to skirt the issue because of embarrassment or pain is avoided. I don’t call him to see how his meeting went this week or what step he’s on.

What Is the Purpose of Learning the Principles of AA?

Don’t simply say, “I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to you.” This can be seen as an attempt to minimize the effect your actions had or to imply that the other person doesn’t have a right to be upset. You want to specifically state what you’ve done to cause harm, then express your commitment to lasting change. Listen to what the other person has to say, validate their feelings, and ask what you can do to help rebuild trust in your relationship. I cannot go back and change the past, but I can take responsibility for my actions. Each day I ask my Higher Power for the strength to help me stay sober and live responsibly and with honesty. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, but if not, I understand.

Living with awareness means always paying attention to the higher power that guides you. Living with courage means that you can start fresh without forgetting your past completely. Step 2 is about finding faith in some higher power, and the accompanying principle of hope means that you should never give up that faith, even when you suffer a setback.

Promises to do things differently

For every time you said you’d be there or that you’d help someone do something and didn’t show up, you’ve left an impression upon that person that they can’t rely on you to keep your word. You can start making amends by showing up, even if it’s years later, to do the things you said you’d do. To learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous, read why it still works all these years after its creation. If you’re interested in learning how you can leverage a 12-step group to help your recovery, contact FHE Health and learn about our aftercare and support group options. Practicing your sobriety with the principle of love means that you’re not just existing for yourself but in service to the people you care about. Humility is one of the simplest principles to understand because it’s straightforward.

  • When you go directly to the person, real spiritual transformation is more likely to occur.
  • How blessed we are to become free from our past, and given the gift to help free another.
  • If the harm you caused someone included monetary damage and you do not have the financial means to make direct amends in a monetary way, this does not mean that you should not make amends to that person.
  • When you make a real effort to change your past behaviors, you need to make the initial move in repairing broken relationships.
  • For example, if you neglected or mistreated your children while you were using alcohol, a simple apology may not repair the damage.

This may involve attending family therapy or individual therapy. You will need to demonstrate that you are committed to rebuilding trust and repairing your relationship with them. If you have devoted the necessary time and energy to the first 8 steps, you should have a solid foundation from which to approach making amends in Step 9. Your relationship with a higher power—no matter how you define it—can help you to remain open and willing, even as you acknowledge hard truths about pain you have caused to others. 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. It can be helpful to explore different options and find what resonates with you personally.

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