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Rebuilding Past Relationships in 12-Step Recovery

It can be difficult to look back on the wreckage of our past once we become sober and the fog of addiction begins to clear. We realize there were many people, even close friends and family, to whom we inflicted undue harm upon. Alcoholics Anonymous, a 12-step recovery program dedicated to overcoming alcoholism, suggest that we fearlessly examine all persons we had harmed and make direct amends to them. Though not everyone will be receptive to our amends, it is an important step if we are to begin repairing our past relationships.

The most important thing we can do when going about the process of making amends is to do our best to be as selfless as possible. If we enter into the amends process thinking about what others had done to harm us, rather than what we had done to harm them, we will find that we end up causing more harm. The goal is to clean our side of the street and do our best to make up for past harms, even to those who we hated.

It can be difficult to summon the courage to go to the people we hurt and apologize for our past behavior. Certainly we would prefer to forget about it and move on with our lives as though it never happened. However, our spiritual fitness depends on our ability to make up for the wreckage of our past. The main text of Alcoholics Anonymous, known as the “Big Book”, explains, “under no condition do we criticize such a person or argue. Simply we tell him that we will never get over drinking until we have done our utmost to straighten out the past.” We will often be surprised how understanding others will be, even the people we thought we hated.

The “Big Book” explains, “a remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won’t fit the bill at all. We ought to sit down with the family and frankly analyze the past as we now see it, being very careful not to criticize them.” We may be full of fear at the prospect of openly discussing things which we may be ashamed or embarrassed about, but after doing so we begin to feel free and unburdened. More importantly, the shame of our past will no longer be a weight on our souls that limits our ability to be of maximum effectiveness when it comes to helping others.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can break free by making the courageous decision to seek help now. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addiction specialists, holistic experts, and spiritual guides to help you heal mentally, physically, and spiritually from the damages caused by addiction and alcoholism. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431