Addiction to drugs and alcohol has the potential to severely harm relationships between the one battling substance abuse and the people they care about. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken when the disease of addiction has seemed to sever important relationships in a person’s life, as described by the process mentioned in Step Nine of the Twelve Step Program associated with Alcoholics Anonymous, which encourages program participants to “Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?
Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is an international fellowship of people who have a drinking problem. The program was founded in 1935 by Dr. Bob and Bill W. in Akron, Ohio. AA is self-supporting, nonprofessional, multiracial, apolitical and can be found almost anywhere. Anyone can participate in AA.
The Alcoholics Anonymous includes a group of principles that are spiritual in nature that are believed to expel the obsession to drink while helping the sufferer from alcohol addiction to become “happily and usefully whole.” This group of principles is called The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
What Are Amends in Addiction Recovery?
Making amends is an important part of the recovery process. Amends are essentially a verbal acknowledgement or admittance of something you have done wrong and asking what you can do to make the situation right again between you and another person. Making amends with others involves mending relationships that were harmed during your addiction.
The action of making amends can help you during addiction recovery as well as encourage sobriety. When you make amends, you are committing to lifestyle changes and a new set of principles and values. People who hurt others during active addiction often find that the issue catches up with them in the future. Sometimes this can be a relapse trigger. Making amends helps to rectify any potential problems with the other person while possibly preventing repercussions that could contribute to relapse.
Apologizing and Making Amends Are Not the Same
After learning the answer to the question, “What are amends?”, you may wonder how amends are different from apologies.
Making amends is not the same as apologizing. Apologizing to someone means you acknowledge that you did something that was not right and you tell the other party that you are sorry. Apologizes consist of words but do not necessarily include an associated behavior change. For example, you might have apologized many times to friends or family when you were battling addiction but you didn’t necessarily change your behavior. Many people who battle addiction continually break promises.
Making amends on the other hand involves more than just words. You not only recognize your behavior verbally to the other person but you also take steps to make things right if you can. Your actions and outward evidence begin to align with your words when you start making amends.
How Does Alcoholics Anonymous Ensure Long Term Addiction Recovery?
One study by Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the functions and methods of Alcoholics Anonymous in addition to how participants were able to maintain sobriety over time. Researchers found that there were two significant elements of AA that were helpful in long term addiction recovery. The time spent with other individuals who are supportive of one’s efforts to quit drinking is an important factor and the increased confidence the program gives others in the ability to remain abstinent in situations they once struggled are the keys to lasting behavioral change.
Reach Out to Atlanta Recovery Place Today
If you feel like you are no longer in control of your life or have acknowledged that you have a problem with alcohol, our passionate and experienced rehabilitation experts are readily available and dedicated to helping you end the painful cycle of addiction. Call us at 866-278-6306 or send us a message today to find out how we can help.