It is possible to make amends without hurting ourselves or anyone else. After all, amends are an essential part of the 12 Step program. An amend is not an apology. An amend is a balancing, a righting of wrongs. They’re part of Steps 8 and 9 and requiring a deep amount of soul searching. It’s hard to offer up an amend, as it means looking at opening up some painful old times.
Make Amends Without Hurting Ourselves
The point of getting into recovery is to stop destroying ourselves. How can we possibly do that if we repeatedly torture ourselves mentally and emotionally? To make amends we must offer some form of compensation for our wrongdoing. The proper compensation is find a way to restore justice, to restore balance in your relationship with those you’ve hurt. Sometimes that may not be any more than an acknowledgment of wrongdoing–coupled with a firm commitment to not repeat that wrong. Consistent self-punishment by heaping abuse and scorn on your own head is guaranteed to depress you, will undercut your progress in recovery, and in fact destroy your ability to make amends. In fact, knowing you need to make amends but continually putting it off can generate resentment.
The ultimate key to avoiding self-punishment is forgiveness. We have to forgive ourselves as we make the changes in our behaviors, our thoughts, and our feelings. We’re expected to forgive others in the recovery process. We’re included in the people we have to forgive. That may be the hardest thing to do in all of recovery. It is, however, essential. We’ll touch on forgiveness in a later blog.