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Making Amends with Family in Recovery

Relatives making amends with family in recovery

Repairing relationships is an integral part of addiction recovery. Struggling with an alcohol or substance use disorder can drive people to do things against their values. Recovery includes taking responsibility for bad decisions and hurtful actions. If you’re ready to correct past mistakes, contact Northpoint Omaha at 888.687.8014 for more information about addiction treatment and family therapy programs.

What Does It Mean to “Make Amends?”

The term “making amends” is frequently used in recovery circles. It comes from one of the steps in 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. However, many recovery programs recommend participants make some effort to make amends to the people they hurt while they were using drugs or alcohol.

Making amends with family and friends is an essential step toward repairing relationships that became strained because of addiction. However, it’s also more than that.

Recovery patients often feel overwhelmed by guilt for the things they may have said or done while using substances. The amendment process allows them to clear their conscience and take responsibility for their actions.

Amends is more than a simple apology. It is viewed as an intentional act to correct a past mistake. Apologizing for past actions shows remorse, but making amends is actionable. For example, someone who stole money from their loved one to buy drugs might make amends by paying their loved one back.

Taking action shows that the individual isn’t just remorseful. It shows they are doing their best to change their behavior and become a person who is worthy of trust once again.

Being Accountable, Not Forgiven

Making amends doesn’t mean everything is alright and the person you harmed forgives you. To be sincere in your amends, you must prepare for the possibility that they won’t forgive you.

The person you owe amends to may not even want to speak with you, much less accept your effort. This exercise aims to do what is right, even if your efforts are not reciprocated.

Making Amends with Family: Direct Amends and Indirect Amends

Often, patients can make amends during a family therapy program. Still, sometimes they must find alternate ways if the person they wronged is unavailable for face-to-face interaction. There are two basic types of amends to consider.

Direct amends involve face-to-face conversations with the people you wronged. It is possible that people may not even realize you were the one responsible for the damage to their property, their stolen valuables, etc. It is still your responsibility to own up to your behavior and do what you can to make up for it.

An indirect amend may be necessary if the person you have wronged:

  • Can’t be located
  • Is no longer living
  • Refuses contact with you

In this instance, you can volunteer your service to a needy cause, donate money to a charity in the person’s name, or resolve to “pay it forward” in some way. This is sometimes referred to as making “living amends” because your intent is reflected in how you live your life.

An indirect or living amendment may also be appropriate in cases where a direct amendment could cause harm to another person.

Find Support for Repairing Relationships at Northpoint Omaha

Addiction can cause people to feel guilty and ashamed, but part of recovery is moving out of negative thinking patterns and into positive ones. Making amends with family and friends is an essential step in repairing the relationships that became damaged due to addiction.

With the support of family therapy, you can mend meaningful relationships and rid yourself of past guilt. Contact Northpoint Omaha today via our online form or by calling us at 888.687.8014 to learn more about our addiction treatment services.