Alcohol addiction causes chaos and devastation to every aspect of your life:
- Your health
- Both mental, physical, and spiritual
- Your job
- Your education
- Your relationships with loved ones
- Your friendships with those around you
- Your home
In a lot of instances your alcohol addiction may have ruined and destroyed your relationships with friends, colleagues, and importantly your family who you will need now more than ever to help you stick with your abstinence.
In your using; you may have done things that were dishonest or broken trust by lying, stealing, and/or manipulation. In some cases you may have become violent and caused injury to another person and damaged property. Dwelling on what you did is never a healthy option, but it is possible to work on amending the damage you have caused and work towards healing broken relationships. This specific part of addiction is addressed in Step 9 from the AA Twelve Steps. If you are partaking in a drug rehabilitation program in residential treatment, your therapists and counsellors will support you in writing an amends list and guide you on how best to approach it.
Step 9 From the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step Program:
Step 9, as you may know, is the step that deals with the amends process. This is the step that helps towards repairing damage caused by your destructive behaviours and to set right past wrongs. Sometimes it is not appropriate to make amends, these instances would be when it would cause more harm than good, for example if you’ve had an affair and it would hurt your partner to know the level of dishonesty in your relationship when you were in the process of working on repairing the relationship. This is known as “making a mess, not amends”. Sometimes it is not physically possible to make amends, maybe if a person on your list has died, your counsellor or sponsor will advise on how best to approach this, maybe it will be in the form of a graveside amends.
Amends is not just about praying and reflecting on these wrongs. Whenever possible, practical action must be taken in order to repair what needs to be fixed. For example, if you stole money to pay for drugs, it is not enough to simply apologise, the money must be paid back. If you damaged property with your mistaken actions, that property must be indemnified by your hands.
Step 9 also states that members making amends “must not shrink from anything, even risking their reputations or going to jail.” Sometimes amends can just be about rebuilding a relationship you had neglected for years. Do not be disheartened if however an amends does not work in your favour, the person to whom you are making amends may not accept them. It is your intention that is worthy, and you have acted as a fully participating member of your recovery, and you will survive! You need to make the effort to make amends to those whom you’ve harmed, wherever and whenever possible, but only to the point where to do so will not bring further pain or harm to those individuals. If and when you encounter this rejection, the first thing that is advised is to call your sponsor, or therapist, who will usually explain that it completely normal, and you have “cleaned your side of the street”.
It’s also important to note that they can’t do it for you. This is something that you have to take responsibility for yourself and make amends for yourself. Having someone else even come close to doing this for you might end up in failure on your part. We don’t need to see that happen, especially if it’s what has helped to cause this alcohol addiction problem in the first place.
If you feel that your past life is littered with one consequence after another and one failed relationship after another that doesn’t mean that this is what the rest of your life has in store. Your life is what you make of it. You’re in recovery, you have been handed the best gift EVER and you have been given an amazing opportunity to put things right not only in your life, but for the others around you that you have harmed.
You are right where you need to be and you have the power to make life good for yourself!