Addiction causes people to do reckless things and hurt others in the process. Although it’s impossible to erase what’s already been done, you can try to make amends with the people you’ve hurt. So, how do you discover the best time to start making amends during the recovery process?
People recover differently, so the best time to start making amends for one person may not work for others in recovery. However, if you evaluate where you are in the recovery process, you will be able to make an informed decision about the right time to start making amends.
Before discussing the step in the 12-step program that deals with making amends and the right time for making amends, let’s find out why the step of making amends is needed for a successful recovery.
WHY do YOU need to make amends?
An important part of the recovery process is accepting all the ways you’ve wronged people during your addiction. Recognizing how you’ve hurt others prevents you from repeating these offenses while progressing through your recovery. Also, this part of your recovery helps you to accept that your addiction is not who you are. You may have wronged some people because of your addiction, but you are not your addiction.
Making amends helps you devise ways to right the wrongs you’ve done to others. It’s a means to wipe the slate clean concerning your past mistakes, and it lessens the guilt you may have been carrying because of how you’ve treated others. In short, making amends helps you accept the consequences of your actions, and it helps you restore the bridges you’ve burned when you hurt others.
Who should addicts apologize to?
Before you start making amends, do a mental inventory to discover all the people you have done wrong. This is a critical component of step eight of the 12-step program that involves personal reflection.
You may find yourself needing to review the steps you’ve already completed. Your inventory of people wronged may change once you realize there were other people impacted by your mistakes. So, the process is not set in stone. There’s always room to revisit a step when necessary.
STEP NINE: MAKING AMENDS
Step 9 of the 12-step program deals with confronting your past mistakes. Not everyone will arrive at step 9 the same way. It’s going to take some reflection and consultation with sponsors, counselors or spiritual advisers to figure out what’s the best time for you to start making amends.
For those who may decide to try another path to recovery other than the12-step program, it’s still important to include a timeframe for making amends. Although the timing to make amends will depend largely upon your own reflections, there are some resources available to help you determine the best time for making amends if you are not in a 12-step program.
When is the best time for addicts to apologize?
If you’ve just begun the road to recovery, making amends is something that needs to be put off to a later time. However, you don’t want to procrastinate and make excuses for why you’re still not ready to start apologizing. It is recommended you consult your sponsors and counselors and sponsors to gain better insight on the right moment to start apologizing to those you’ve hurt.
Remember, the best time for you to apologize will be the time that’s best for you. So, you will most likely be able to determine the best time to start making amends on your own. No one said this step would be easy. So, make sure you pick a time that you are emotionally and mentally ready to confront your past wrongs.
When is not the right time to make amends?
One critical component of step nine is knowing when apologizing may cause more harm than benefit. Although it may make you feel better to try to make things right with some people you’ve hurt, it defeats the purpose of the apology only makes the person hurt even more. Therefore, it’s important you consider how your attempts to make amends might affect certain people. Just because it makes you feel better to apologize does not justify causing someone more hurt.
However, there are still ways you can make things right with people who you may not be able to apologize to directly. For example, you could support a local charity that relates to a wrong you’ve done. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have thought it out clearly. Also, try getting some pointers from your counselors. The goal is to make your effort count, so only try these alternative means of making amends when you are sure you are ready to implement them.
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