Seeking forgiveness - Making Amends With Others

When an individual is suffering from an addiction, one of the first signs is behaving in ways that are contradictory to the person’s usual character. As a result, often bridges are burned and meaningful relationships are destroyed because of the lying, stealing, and abuse that took place while under the influence, or in an attempt to get another fix. 

All drug rehabilitation centers have a multi-step recovery process. Though the steps can vary, it’s universally agreed upon that support from loved ones is crucial in successfully overcoming addiction. A recovery process will always have one, if not multiple steps, that are dedicated to seeking forgiveness and making amends with those you’ve hurt. 

The Power Of Self Awareness

Acknowledging your actions while under the use of substances helps you and your loved one separate yourself from your addiction. Showing that you are clear-headed enough to recognize your poor behavior while using shows that you are starting to step outside your addiction. Drugs and alcohol can make people delusional and irrational, and with that comes shame from making poor choices. You take the power back when you recognize that the things you said and did were a result of a disease, not your character.

Apologizing Vs. Making Amends

The apology comes first, the work comes second. Apologizing is crucial in order to make it clear that you understand the damage that was caused to others as a result of your addiction. Making amends happens when your lifestyle matches your words. Chances are, a million apologies have been given, but your actions didn’t align with them. Making amends means aligning your words with your lifestyle to prove to those you hurt that you can be trusted and that you are a person of integrity.

Should We Always Make Amends?

A general principle while making amends is not to cause further damage to yourself or others. If someone is not in a good place to receive your apology, it’s not beneficial to force it upon anyone. Making amends isn’t just about clearing your conscience, you must respect people’s boundaries. The reality is that some relationships are irreparable due to poor choices, and you must accept and forgive yourself for that in order to move past your addiction. If you hurt someone you cannot reach, another way to make up for it is to live a life of honesty and integrity to ensure you do not hurt anyone in that way again. Volunteering and/or donating money are other ways to continue doing good work in circumstances where you may not get the chance to apologize and rebuild all broken relationships. 

It can be extremely difficult to walk into a room and look at someone you’ve hurt and ask for their forgiveness. Remember that addiction is an illness. You are not yourself when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While you may have made bad choices, you are not a bad person. You are not your mistakes, and it is never too late to turn things around for yourself. If you are willing to make the effort, you are deserving of forgiveness, just as they are deserving of an honest apology.