“I can’t do sh*t with I’m sorry.” – Red, Orange Is The New Black
Making amends is very different than saying I am sorry. I have said “I am sorry” my whole life.
I am sorry for my behaviors.
I am sorry for my actions.
I am sorry I drank again.
I never intended to cause harm to others. I honestly had every intention of showing up on time, being present, being accountable, and of course, being trustworthy. Drinking just stopped me from following through with it. I am not sure when the bottle became more important than my loved ones, my job, my money, and ultimately, my life. It was like one day I controlled my drinking and the next day it controlled me. By the time it was controlling me, I had already destroyed so much. How was I ever going to fix this mess? I would spend years making it worst because facing it was much harder, or so I thought.
When I first got sober, I wanted so badly to be forgiven by all those I had harmed – especially my family. I just wanted to move past all the crap and just be happy, joyous, and free, but there was work that had to be done. First, I was told to stop with the “I’m sorry” if I wasn’t going to acknowledge my part and do something about it to make it right. Making amends is more than just apologizing; it’s about the act of mending what was damaged. So, I had to mend my relationships by doing the opposite of what I had once done.
If I owed money, then I had to make an attempt to pay back what I could. If I couldn’t pay back everything right away, I had to make an attempt to set-up a payment plan. If I lied, I had to be honest and then continue to be honest moving forward. If I wasted people’s time, I was to now give more of my time. And so on and so forth. Every amends I owed, I would consult those who have done this before, because the ultimate goal was to mend what I had done wrong, not make it worse. This is a process that never truly ends, and it ultimately grows into just trying to be a better person each day. I found that the more I lived this way, the more I showed others the same love, patience, tolerance, and understanding that my Higher Power had showed me. I had finally found myself happy, joyous, and free as a result. Who would have thought making amends could do all that?
The other side of making amends that isn’t often talked about is the amends you owe yourself. Many times we addicts and alcoholics have a terrible tendency of beating ourselves up over and over again for our actions in addiction, as well as our actions in recovery. It’s time to stop morbidly reflecting on all that you have done wrong and focus more on what you can either do to rectify the situation or just let it go. We are not saints and we make mistakes – in and out of recovery – so allow yourself to be human, learn from your mistakes, help others with your experience, and try not to repeat them. We are not perfect and because of recovery, we have the opportunity each day to make it right.
Just for today, make amends to yourself and other by just trying your best to a better person each day.
Written By: Watershed AshlingTags: keep calm, motivation monday, MotivationMonday, Watershed Ashling