The vast majority of addicts and alcoholics who enter alcohol rehab in Seattle will eventually find themselves making amends to those they harmed. This process, generally associated with Step Nine of AA, is considered a fundamental part of the recovery process. In order to focus more fully on maintaining a better life in sobriety, the recovering addict must first learn to put their past completely behind them. They accomplish this by overcoming guilt and resentment through the amends process.
There are many reasons for making amends in recovery, as well as several important tips on how to go about it. The following should help those who wish to know more about the process of making amends and why it will ultimately help them to stay sober.
The Importance of Making Amends
While predominantly associated with Alcoholics Anonymous, the amends process constitutes an important part of all 12-step programs. These support groups believe that many of the primary benefits of sober living will begin to reveal themselves once the recovering addict embarks on a mission to heal all wounded relationships to the best of their ability. Benefits associated with making amends in recovery include:
- A new sense of freedom from unresolved guilt
- The ability to recall the past without overwhelming regret
- Inner peace and a firmer understanding of serenity
- The ability to use your own stories to help other addicts
- Freedom from self-pity
- Renewed sense of selflessness
- Relief from fear of other people
- Stronger sense of intuition when facing difficult situations
Not all of these benefits directly pertain to your relationships with others, but they do pertain to addiction. Generally speaking, the pattern of substance abuse includes a rise in tolerance. As addicts and alcoholics begin using with greater frequency, they often become more reckless in their treatment of loved ones. They hurt others, whether directly or indirectly. Acting selfishly, they experience guilt and shame as their better nature looks upon these actions with disgust. To gain freedom from these feelings, they must begin the process of making amends either during or following alcohol rehab in Seattle.
Process of Making Amends in Recovery
When making amends in recovery, most begin by simply making an extensive list of people and institutions to whom they caused harm. Not every harm on this list necessarily took place while in active substance use. Some took place before the addict or alcoholic began using, and some may have even taken place in early recovery.
Once satisfied with their list, the individual begins making their amends. In doing so, they focus on cleaning their side of the street; in other words, do not use your amends as an excuse to point out the flaws in others. When making amends in recovery, you may approach many people who harmed you in one way or another. They may feel inspired by your honesty to make amends themselves. If they do not, you must learn to be satisfied with the fact that you held up your own end of the bargain. Remember, making amends is about maintaining your own spiritual growth, not about soliciting apologies from other people.
After the initial process of making amends in recovery, you will become ready to start doing daily maintenance. If you hurt someone, whether intentionally or not, try to make it right immediately. Do not simply wait until you commit enough harms to form another list. Daily maintenance is important to sobriety, and even non-12-step programs will generally suggest that you take some form of routine inventory to ensure that you are following the path you’ve set for yourself.
Use caution during each stage of this process. Making amends in recovery is important, but do not approach someone if you are unsure of your intentions. For instance, do not make amends to a former lover if your secret intention is simply to get them back into bed. Amends should never cause more harm.
Learning from Alcohol Rehab in Seattle
Whether you begin making amends in recovery as part of a 12-step program or simply a personal mission to build integrity, your addiction treatment center can help. Aspire Health Network facilities provide access to a wide range of support group meetings. During the outside meetings you attend while at a facility such as Aspire Washington, our alcohol rehab in Seattle. There, you will encounter numerous people who have made amends of all kinds. They can share their stories with you and teach you how to approach the more difficult people on your list. Meanwhile, the support you receive from your treatment community will keep you strong throughout the amends process.
For more information on 12-step programs, other support groups and how treatment provides access to these networks, contact Aspire today with any questions you may have.