It’s about making positive changes within yourself so that you don’t repeat old patterns of behavior that led to your broken relationships in the first place. The changes that occur due to your efforts positively affect your commitment to becoming a better friend, child, parent, living amends or person all around. Living amends is a concept linked to addiction recovery and part of the twelve-step program for sober living. In simple terms, it means taking responsibility for the person you used to be and how you caused harm to the people in your life who care about you.
What about the late nights that we kept our parents up worrying? What about the relationships we ruined, the emotional wreckage we created? Sometimes direct amends are not possible, and this is where living amends come into play. Whenever possible, a direct amend is made face-to-face rather than over the phone or by asking someone else to apologize on your behalf.
Preparing to make amends
There may be so many times we feel we let someone down that it can be hard to know where to begin. We want to convey our heartfelt remorse but worry that our words will fall short. For example, someone living with an addiction may make amends by apologizing for stealing property and then make it right by returning what they’d taken. Of all the 12 steps, Step 9 is often referred to as particularly challenging.
There is no such thing as a “living amends” in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. That is just one small example of what are living amends. Part of my living amends is also being the friend my friends deserve and the employee my employers hired in good faith. Living amends touches deep parts of our lives and souls if we allow them. My living amends to my mother is to be fully present in my life so I can be fully present in hers. I am not proud of that, but it is the reality of how I used to behave.