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Step 9 of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step program is all about making amends to the people you’ve hurt through your substance use. For many, this can be the most difficult and visceral step of the program. Which makes it all the more important in the recovery process. Not only is this step useful in helping you rebuild your relationships but it forces you to face the very real damage your substance use has caused. Let’s discuss some tips on reaching out and composing apologies to the people in your life you wish to make amends.
1: Make a List and Commit to Reaching Out
Compile a list of people you have mistreated or otherwise hurt throughout the course of your substance use. Reach out to the people on your list, preferably meeting face to face for a more personal experience. It’s important to try and reach out to everyone on your list except when it compromises the safety of others or yourself. If it puts you under high stress or risk of relapse, wait until you’re in a better headspace and your recovery is more established.
2: Start With a Thoughtful, Personalized Apology
Making amends is all about apologizing to the people you hurt during the duration of your substance use. These don’t need to be long drawn-out apologise but try to make them personal and connect with the people you’re apologizing to. Here are some openers to help you get started:
- I’m sorry for what I put you through
- I feel bad for the ways I’ve hurt our relationship
- I apologize this has been so difficult for both of us
3: Take Responsibility
Own up to your mistakes and your involvement in those mistakes. You are not your addiction, but the actions you take during addiction are yours to take responsibility for. Avoid putting blame on the other person or shifting the attention to yourself. Things like, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” trivializes the person’s feelings and your involvement in the mistake. Instead try for something along the lines of:
- I take responsibility for my actions
- I know I cause you to worry and harm
- I realize my actions hurt you
4: Feel Genuine Remorse
There is no point in apologizing if you don’t show sincerity in your remorse. If you truly feel that you have done nothing wrong, it will show in your apology. Be empathetic to the struggles of the people around you during your substance use faced and consider how they felt. It’s usually difficult to be close to someone at the height of their substance use.
5: Ask What You Can Do to Amend
Asking what you can do to amend sends a message that you are looking to change your behavior. In a sense, it is a reassurance that your past mistakes will not happen again. Many substance users live in a cycle of mistakes and apologies that eventually begin to fall on deaf ears. Show that you are willing to break the cycle and apologize in a meaningful and lasting way.
6: Be Patient and Reach Out
Some people in your life may be reluctant to hear another apology or accept an invitation to meet with you. And that’s okay! Respect their space but continue to reach out and let them know you’re looking to make amends. Consistency is your best asset when trying to reach out to someone who is reluctant. Show through patterned behavior that you’re serious about apologizing and mending any damage to the relationship.
Eudaimonia Can Help Keep You on the Path to Recovery
Eudaimonia offers excellent recovery programs with tailored care. In these programs, individuals can develop positive coping skills with the tools necessary to maintain sobriety. Eudaimonia even provides tailored care based on gender and orientation. We also include supervised, short-term housing to provide support for newly sober individuals. But no matter where you are in your recovery, Eudaimonia Sober Living Homes can provide support every step of the way. We have facilities for sober living in Austin, Houston, and Colorado Springs ready to assist you in living your sober lifestyle. Call Eudaimonia Sober Living Homes at (888) 424 – 4029 for more information on the sober living process and current room availability.