When in our active addiction we think that our drug use and drinking is only harming one person—and that person is us. The reality of this situation though is that we harm so many people. Anyone who cares about us in the least bit goes through their own personal struggle that quite honestly is sometimes harder than our own. That is why when we get sober we MUST make amends to our families and loved ones. The people who have stood by us, who lost sleep, and precious TIME, because of us—deserve us being the best version ourselves when it comes to our relationships with them.
Making Amends to Your Family: Tell Them You Know What You Did
Most people don’t want to hear the words, “I’m sorry.” What most people want when you are making amends is to know that you know what you did. Saying out loud what you did to hurt the people you know, shows that you not only recognize it, but are now also capable of changing it. There is a lot more thought that goes into saying something more along the lines of “I stole money from you and that wasn’t right nor was it fair,” without the excuse. Saying I’m sorry is easy, even if you don’t think you did anything wrong you can apologize. But saying what you know you did that was hurtful, or wrong shows you put thought into this—because you have.Making Amends to Your Family: Don’t Say the Word “But,” Ever
Excuses are not allowed here. There is no excuse and you aren’t there to explain why you did anything you did. In fact you aren’t there for yourself at all. You are there to offer them the chance to say what they need to say and to make it right to them. Excuses aren’t invited to this party. So if you say, “I stole from you and that wasn’t right, but I was high and didn’t know what I was doing,” you’re basically no longer taking accountability. You are making this amends process about explaining yourself and not about the amends at all.
Making Amends to Your Family: No Expectations
Your family may say “We are just glad you’re ok.” Or, your family may say “Yeah you are an asshole and we still don’t like you.” They may tell you to never talk to them, they may go on a rant about how terrible you are for like 30 minutes. They may just say they love you. Whatever the case is, that is what it is. You aren’t going in there with the expectation of being forgiven. Remember this isn’t about you explaining yourself or getting what you think should get out of it. You’re cleaning up your side of the street and whatever the outcome of doing that looks like that is it. Done. Nothing else. Going into amends without expectations is surefire way to keep your peace and not ending causing further damage.
Making Amends to Your Family: Doesn’t Mean Everything is Perfect
The amends process is a healing process for both you and your family but that doesn’t mean everything will become sunshine and rainbows. In fact, for some people their family has basically disowned them and has no plans of ever talking to them again. But guess what? We are ok no matter what. We did a lot of damage to our families so whatever they need or want to do to make sure they are ok, we should be ok. We don’t force ourselves back into our family dynamic and we don’t try to make it what we think it should be. We give everyone the time and peace they need to figure their own stuff out.
The most important thing to remember about making amends is that it isn’t about you. It is about the other people. You have to be rid of selfish motive when you go into amends. You aren’t there to prove a point or show off how well you are doing. Also, talk to your sponsor about amends. Everyone’s amends process is different. There aren’t clearcut directions on this even though I just tried to write a blog about it. There may even be scenarios where you don’t make amends. Just take your time with the process and follow the suggestions given to you!
Family members looking for advice about how to go about rebuilding relationships that have been harmed by addiction should call 855-441-2449.