Jul 12, 2014 | By Tim Stoddart
The Difference Between Making Amends and Making Apologies12 Step Recovery
There is no shame in making mistakes or in recognizing them. In fact, those who are able to stand on their own and admit their wrongdoings are courageous and admirable people. From the cradle to the grave, we will all make errors in judgment and struggle to find a way to make peace with those whom we have wronged. In many instances, a sincere apology will suffice. However, when misdoings are results of addiction, a simple I’m sorry, will not do. Consider making amends
If you are working a 12 step program, than we suggest talking to your sponsor about these kinds of things. He or she will be able to guide you on your path.
What are the Differences between Apologizing and Making Amends?
There are many profound differences between giving someone an apology and making amends with them. Simply put, an apology is like putting a band aid on a wound; it covers the source of the pain until it eventually disappears. When you make a sincere apology to someone that youve hurt, it makes you both feel a little better but it doesn’t really do anything to correct the situation that you have caused. People who have made reckless decisions due to addiction cannot simply un-do the pain and often irreversible heartache that they have caused by issuing a simple apology. In most cases, the victim of the abuse, neglect, or crime will need a much more prolific and profound interaction with you before any attempt at reconciliation can be made.
Making amends is the best way to reconnect with the people who have been deeply hurt as a result of your actions. Addiction has the ability to irrevocably sever the most intimate bonds of family and friendship. Whether your goal is to amend a family relationship, a work relationship, or to humble yourself before others whom you have offended, making amends is an important step toward rectifying a broken situation.
Part of the reason why taking inventory is so important is so you can be self aware and know when you are acting in a way that could be harmful to another person.
The Importance of Making Amends
Making amends is an integral part of personal growth and healing. It is so imperative to make amends with those people whom you have wronged that it is outlined, clearly, in Alcoholics Anonymous. Steps eight and nine of the Twelve Steps specifically call for amends.
What are the Types of Amends?
Direct Amends deal with taking personal responsibility and confronting the person whom you want to reconcile with. You will intimately discuss the reasons why you did what you did and you will fix, re-pay, or repair any physical damage that you have caused, to the best of your ability. An example of this would be repaying a debt or repairing or replacing broken or damaged items.
Indirect Amends are ways to repair damage that cannot be physically undone. If you have committed a crime in the past or are in a situation where you cannot confront the people whom you have offended, there are ways to make amends, indirectly. If you physically assaulted someone or committed theft, a way to indirectly make amends would be to volunteer in a shelter or take part in a program that will directly benefit others who need assistance. Sometimes, people who were involved in a drunken driving accident may take the step to become an organ donor. These are all selfless examples of how making indirect amends can help to heal a situation.
Living Amends is a positive way to display to others and to prove to yourself that you have evolved from the person that you used to be. Living amends is a promise to yourself that you have made a genuine lifestyle change. This is a marked end to the destructive patterns that you have been living with and a beacon for change and prosperity.
Making amends with somebody is a crucial part of your personal growth and of their healing process. Only make amends when you truly understand the situation and when you feel a sincere call for atonement. For, it is with this momentous step that you alone are able to bring peace and closure to shattered relationships.