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Making Amends in Recovery

close up image of one person holding another person's hands as they practice making amends in recovery

Substance use disorders can lead you to act in ways that are uncharacteristic of your typical behavior. You may even hurt the people you care about. One crucial part of the recovery process is to make amends to these people. Call Insight Recovery Center at 828.826.1376 to learn about our family therapy program in Asheville.

Making Amends: Healing After Addiction

Making amends can seem as simple as apologizing and moving forward, but it is a complex process that should not be rushed. It begins with you identifying the people you have harmed. You may not have recognized how your actions affected your loved ones, so it’s important to consider their experiences carefully.

There are two main ways of making amends: directly and indirectly.

For the majority of your loved ones, you want to try to make direct amends. Making direct amends is the act of personally addressing problems with people you have harmed with your behavior. It is best to make direct amends in person instead of over the phone.

Direct amends have to have consistency. Just because you apologized doesn’t mean that your responsibility ends there. You have to show your loved ones that you will not make the same mistake again.

Indirect amends deals more with attitudes and thoughts than behaviors. They focus on the mentality that you have to change. Indirect amends can involve the way you treat people in general.

Some ways of making indirect amends include:

  • Volunteering in your community
  • Donating to charity
  • Writing letters to loved ones that you don’t send
  • Taking steps to regulate your emotions to avoid future problems

In some cases, direct amends may not be possible because you have hurt the other person too much. It may end up causing more harm to meet them or speak with them. That is when indirect amends can help.

Tips for Making Amends

  1. You need to admit to your wrongdoings. Don’t minimize them or try to explain them away. If you are not sincere with the person you hurt as well as with yourself, you can end up causing more harm to the relationship.
  2. You also need to be specific. Just stating that you were wrong is not enough. Name what you did to show that you are taking responsibility for your actions. To do this, you might even want to write down the details of what you did and go to the conversation prepared.
  3. It is vital to listen to the other person. Don’t interject with your feelings. Instead, focus on how you impacted the person. As they speak, try to make eye contact and nod your head to let them know you understand.
  4. Ask the person if there is anything you can do to make things right. Let them know that you are ready to work toward rebuilding trust.

However, you must remember that just because you want to improve the relationship doesn’t mean the other person also does. You don’t want to force the issue if they do not want to rebuild trust or stay in contact.

How Family Therapy at Insight Recovery Center Helps

Family therapy sessions can make it easier for you to communicate with loved ones. You will have the guidance of a counselor to lead the conversation in a healthy direction. Family therapy also lets your loved ones know about your recovery and what they can do to help themselves heal.

Help yourself and your loved ones by making amends in the way that is most appropriate. Learn more about this process of healing after addiction by contacting Insight Recovery Center at 828.826.1376 today or reaching out online.