How Making Amends is NOT Making an Apology
Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
The 12 steps are a roadmap to a better way of life. People who actively work a 12 step program are typically free from their disease. Although there is no cure for addiction, the program puts the disease in remission. All of the 12 steps serve a purpose and if completed and worked correctly the promises are endless. If actively working a 12 step program, we suggest heavily that you find a qualified sponsor to help guide you through this process. A sponsor is someone who has been through all 12 steps of the program and has knowledge as to how to live a recovered lifestyle.
Human beings are prone to make mistakes sometimes even shameful ones. And if you are an alcoholic or an alcoholic odds are you have made plenty of harmful mistakes. Those who own up to their mistakes and admit their shortcomings are courageous and admirable people. This is a behavior taught in the 9th step amends format. The 9th step amends process is a vital step in the recovery because it is a way to clear up your past and move forward without having to worry about the wreckage of your pass.
Amends are NOT Apologies
The 9th step format is a very healing practice. Many people are mistaken and believe that making amends and making an apology are one in the same. However, there are many profound differences between delivering someone an apology and making a direct amends. The best analogy I have heard is an apology, is basically putting a band-aid on a wound: the band-aid covers the pain until it eventually dissipates. A sincere apology makes both sides feel a little a better but it never really does anything to improve the situation. Many addicts also use the apology as a scapegoat. So, on the other hand, an amends is an action, it is telling and then showing the person affected you will do differently from here on out.
Are There More Than One Types of Amends?
There are a few different types of amends and they are labeled and described below.
- Direct Amends
Direct amends are those in which involve taking personal responsibility and confronting the person you want to reconcile with. In this situation, you will discuss how you will repair the damage in which you caused. An example of this would be if you stole money from someone- you pay them back.
- Indirect Amends
So let’s say you caused damage that simply cannot be physically undone. Something like a crime you committed in the past or a situation that if you tried to make amends would make the situation much worse. That is indirect amends come in to play. If you physically assaulted someone or stole money from somewhere that would put your life in danger if you fest up you then need to make amends but not a direct one. An indirect amends can be as simple as volunteering your time or becoming an organ donor.
- Living Amends
Living amends is the ones you make to those who are no longer with us. Let’s say someone in your family passed away and the last memory you have of that person was of you wrongdoing them. According to the 9th step amends format, it is impossible to make a direct amends to the person no longer with us but what you can do is live sober and live in a spiritual way. Living your best life possible and making rights of your wrongs is the best way to accomplish these “living amends.”