Repairing the Damage Caused in Active Addiction
Recovery Reflections: September 13, 2017
Hello everyone! My name is Bianka, and I would like to give you another warm welcome to Detox to Rehab’s Recovery Reflections. Please join us and listen to the experience, strength and hope shared by Megan, Madison, Patrick and Joey.
We will pre-record readings from the book Daily Reflections. We express how this reading has helped our recovery or how it has impacted us. We thank you and hope we can inspire your recovery journey!
September 13, 2017: Repairing the Damage
Good judgment, careful sense of timing, courage and prudence – these are the qualities we shall need when we take Step Nine.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 83
To make amends can be viewed two ways: first, that of repairing damage, for if I have damaged my neighbor’s fence, I “make a mend,” and that is a direct amend; the second way is by modifying my behavior, for if my actions have harmed someone. I make a daily effort to cause no further harm. I “mend my ways,” and that is an indirect amend. Which is the best approach? The only right approach, provided that I am causing no further harm in so doing, is to do both. If harm is done, then I simply “mend my ways.” To take action in this manner assures me of making honest amends.
Changing Behaviors Built in Active Addiction
When I was using drugs and before I was introduced to a 12-step program, I was a dishonest, selfish, untrustworthy and manipulative person. I would lie about the simplest things because it was second nature to me to do so. However, when I got sober, my actions did not change overnight. I had and still have to constantly work on my behaviors so I don’t become the person I was while using drugs.
“I really have to watch how I behave in this moment,” Megan said.
The reason why it is so important to constantly watch my behavior is because I have already made amends to the people I wronged, telling them I was going to change and making sure that I am a person of my word today.
While in my addiction, I lost count of the times I told someone that I was going to change, but never following through. Today, I prove to these people that I am not the same person I used to be while I was using, by sticking to my word and taking action.
“I’m tasked to make a change, a true change others can see,” Patrick said.
It would be pointless to make amends to an individual and not do anything to make it right, because I would just end up having to go back to make the amends again. In my opinion, the more amends you make to an individual, the less effective they are. It is important to talk with this person you have harmed when you are ready to completely change your life.
“As long as I’m continuing to progress is the only way I can prove to anybody that this program works,” Patrick said.
Also, when working a 12-step program, it is important for me to set an example to the newcomer, to show him or her how this program really works.
Let’s say I make amends to an individual for being rude to them in a 12-step meeting and a newcomer overhears the amends making process. The next day, we are all back at the same meeting and I am rude to this person again who I have just made amends to the night before. If a newcomer sees this, he or she may believe it is okay to go back on your word or he or she may think the amends process is not important.
If you are showing a newcomer you aren’t really working the steps and have stayed sober, he or she may do the same thing and end up suffering a relapse. It is vital to watch how you act today, as your actions have consequences.
The amends process isn’t just for others- it is just as important and helpful to my life. Now that I am sober, if I treat someone badly or cause someone great harm, I will immediately feel guilt and shame in my life.
Recovery from Addiction
“I’m doing it because I need to feel that peace and serenity in my life,” Joey said.
I used Heroin to cover the guilt and shame that I felt, so I make my amends almost immediately so as to not go back and pick up and use again over something that I did.
This doesn’t mean I have to be a saint; I still mess up and I am far from perfect. Somedays are worse than others but at the end of the night I review my day. I think about if I have harmed someone and if I have, how I am going to make it right. Then, the next day, I take the steps to make my wrong doing right.
I still mess up but the difference about me today is that I can admit when I was wrong. Becoming a better person through the 12-step program takes time, but it has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. Without it, I wouldn’t be alive because my addiction would have put me into a grave.
If you want to become a better person and stop using drugs and alcohol, give us a call. We can help you find the right treatment program for your individual needs.