Why Do I Have to Make Amends?

Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-Step fellowships suggest making amends to people whom we have harmed in the past. This is the 9th Step, which states: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Many people are filled with anxiety at the prospect of facing those whom they have intentionally or unintentionally harmed in the past, but the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains why this step is necessary and how to go about the amends process.
“Faith without works is dead” is an often quotes phrase in Alcoholics Anonymous. The amends process is a way of putting our newfound faith and recovery into action. In previous steps, we went through major self-searching and came up with a list of all the people we have harmed. The Big Book explains, “Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves.” The purpose of cleaning up the wreckage of our past is to help us become more spiritually fit and connected with our higher power, without the weight of past misdeed getting in the way of our ability to be of maximum service to others.
The amends process is not about clearing our own conscience, nor is it about being forgiven by those whom we have hurt. Rather, we are “cleaning our side of the street” to the best of our ability so that we are able to help others and live a spiritual life. Many men and women worry that there are some harms they have caused in the past that they cannot make right no matter what they do. The Big Book tells us, “There may be some wrongs we can never fully right. We don’t worry about them if we can honestly say to ourselves that we would right them if we could.” This, however, cannot be used as an excuse not to attempt to make certain amends. After all, we made the decision that we were willing to go to any length for our recovery. We are also told that, through the process of making amends, “we are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace.” We begin to overcome all the fear, anxiety, and regret that were holding us back from being able to live a truly spiritual and sober life.

Recovery from the hopelessness of addiction and alcoholism can be the next chapter of your story. You can begin building a future of peace and serenity by seeking help now. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment facility in Orange County, California, is staffed with caring and compassionate professionals dedicated to providing you all the tools needed to achieve and maintain sobriety. For more information about treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777