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A big part of working the 12-Step Program is making amends. Unfortunately, after you get sober, all the hurt and destruction you caused in the wake of your addiction doesn’t just go away. You have to put in the work to repair the damage and heal those relationships. To make amends, you must do more than just make apologies for your past behavior. Instead, making amends means you apologize for what you’ve done and make it right. Similarly, making living amends means you completely change the way you live and remain committed to that lifestyle.
Making any type of amends can be challenging, but in this article, we’ll focus on living amends and tips for how to make them. If you or a loved one is struggling to stay sober or needs help maintaining sobriety while working the 12 Steps, Eudaimonia Recovery Homes can help. Call us or fill out our online contact form today to get started.
Related post: How to Work Step 9 (of the 12 Steps)
What does living amends mean?
Living amends is a certain type of amends you make in addiction recovery. Essentially, it means making a radical shift in the way you live and sticking to that. When you make living amends, you make genuine changes to support your emotional and physical sobriety. In doing so, you promise to live a sober and honest life and never return to your old ways of lying and hurting the people you love the most.
All types of amends are good, but living amends are some of the best kinds you can make! They affirm your decision to make lifelong changes, which has a positive effect on both you and everyone around you.
What are some examples of living amends?
When you make living amends, you change your behavior for the better. This looks different for everyone, depending on the areas of your life that need work. However, some examples of living amends might include the following:
- If you used to break your promises all the time, focus on staying true to your word. When you can’t do what you said you would due to an unforeseen circumstance that’s outside of your control, apologize and explain what happened without making any excuses. Do everything you can to make it right.
- If you have trouble controlling your anger, make a committed effort to work on this with your counselor or therapist. Instead of lashing out on the people you love, learn effective strategies for controlling your anger and use them in everyday situations when you feel yourself getting mad.
- If you were a bad friend while you were addicted, make a conscious effort to rebuild those relationships by being the best friend you can be. Have open and honest conversations about the relationship and where it can use improvement and stay committed to those changes.
Tips for making living amends
Making living amends is never easy, but the following tips can help inform and ease the process.
Don’t settle for an apology.
It’s much easier to just apologize and move on, but committing to living your life differently looks different. It requires ongoing and conscious effort to change. Making these types of life improvements typically requires that you work with a counselor or therapist who can provide an outsider’s perspective and objective view of your life. Making these types of life changes is difficult and requires lots of hard, emotionally-complex work, but it’s worth all the effort in the end.
Fulfill your promises.
One of the best ways you can make long-lasting changes to your relationships is by being true to your word. Essentially, don’t make promises that you can’t keep and do everything you can to live up to the promises you do make. The unfortunate truth is that we’re all human and we all fall short sometimes. However, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed at your new, honest and sober lifestyle. You can still be true to that by making an honest apology and not making excuses for why you didn’t follow through. Then, the next time around, make sure to make good on your word.
Be generous with your time.
Addiction takes over your life, stealing both your joy and your time, and making it impossible for you to give back to others and live a generous life. Instead, as you pursue a life in recovery, focus on being generous with your time and giving back to others. In this way, you can take the focus off of yourself and choose to live a life of greater meaning. Whether you choose to give back by sponsoring others in recovery or volunteering at your local food pantry, donating your time to any worthy cause that resonates with you is a great way to transform your life.
Use the PANDA method to apologize in a meaningful way.
After months or years of addiction, the truth is, your apologies and attempts at making amends may not mean a whole lot to some people in your life. They may not be willing to trust that you’ll change after being burned so many times in the past. Although you can’t change anyone else, one strategy you can use to make living amends is giving PANDA apologies. Here’s how to do it:
- Promise that whatever happened will never happen again.
- Admit that what happened was your fault.
- No excuses allowed!
- Describe how you will handle a similar situation in the future.
- Act. Do what you say you will.
Apologizing in this way may open the door to continued healing, growth, and restored relationships in recovery.
Focus on your behavior.
Again, in recovery, your words may not mean as much to some people as you wish they would. Understandably, some people may just need more time to learn how to trust you again. In these instances, the best thing you can do is to focus on your behavior and remain faithful to your commitment to live an honest, sober life.
Related post: Why Is Making Amends Important?
Get help for recovery and the 12-Step Program
Working Step 9 is challenging and you’ll likely need support and assistance as you work through it. At Eudaimonia Recovery Homes, we provide personalized recovery support with comfortable sober living Austin, Houston, and Colorado Springs. We also provide regular drug and alcohol testing, professional peer recovery support programming, a three phase recovery program, volunteer placement services, and employment and educational support.
If you’re ready to get help in recovery, please call (512) 580-3131 or contact us online today.
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