Alcoholics Anonymous - What Does it Mean to Make Amends?

May 2, 2023

Making amends is one of the 12 Steps in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It's important for anyone struggling with addiction to take this step.

It can be a challenging process to make amends, but it is necessary to heal from past harm and repair relationships. It also helps prevent conflict and relationship issues that could trigger relapse in the future.

1. Apology

Apologies are one of the most important aspects of healthy relationships. They help people understand and repair broken connections by expressing sincere remorse and offering solutions for the future.

A good apology also provides an opportunity to reaffirm boundaries in relationships. It can be an important step to rebuild trust, establish rules, and create positive feelings.

An effective apology requires understanding and sensitivity to another person’s situation, as well as the ability to say what you mean and understand what they mean when they say it (Howell, Turowski, & Buro, 2012; Schumann & Dweck, 2014).

A genuine apology can make a world of difference in a relationship. It shows the other person that you have learned from your mistake and that you are willing to do whatever you can to avoid it in the future.

2. Forgiveness

Making amends is a way to show someone you're remorseful about something you did. It can be difficult, but it can also be a great gift to give.

A recent study found that people who made amends to others were less likely to self-harm and experience suicidal ideation. That was even true among people who had experienced traumatic situations in their lives, the researchers said.

Forgiveness is an important part of the recovery process, according to Dr. Enright, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has conducted many research studies on forgiveness.

To forgive, you must be able to let go of resentment and anger toward the person who hurt you. This may be hard for some, and it can be very challenging for those who are tempted to harbor those feelings, says Dr. Enright.

3. Repairing Relationships

Whether you’ve been the victim of a mistake or your partner has done something to hurt you, making amends can be a cathartic way to restore trust. It’s important to make amends in a genuine way, though.

To be sincere, it’s important to take responsibility for your actions and to be ready to listen to the other person. They may be hesitant to forgive you for their own reasons.

In addition to taking ownership, you should be willing to make a specific offer to fix your wrongdoing. This will show the other person you’re committed to repair your relationship and to help them overcome their pain and heal from it.

Repairing relationships takes time, so be patient with your friends and loved ones as they recover. It’s also important to remember that everyone heals differently and at their own pace.

4. Change

Sometimes the circumstances that make amends difficult are beyond our control. You can try, but sometimes it just isn’t possible to fix things. Some people need space from their previous behaviors and actions, or the individuals you need to make apologies to are no longer alive.

Changing the way you think about your situation can help. It will help you to take ownership of the harm you’ve caused and to be honest with yourself about what you can do to right your wrongs.

Making amends also demonstrates that you’re committed to living a sober lifestyle and to changing the way you treat others. This is an important step in recovery because it can prevent future conflicts and relationship problems that could lead to relapse.


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