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There are many pieces that make up the recovery process. However, one of the most important is making amends.  This is placed so high on the list because it can profoundly affect how people approach the post-treatment world. West Coast Recovery Centers is aware of this fact and is prepared to assist clients in creating the best possible situation for everyone involved.

The Importance of Making Amends

People who have been going through a recovery process will, at some point, need to make amends. This means taking time from focusing inwards and beginning to focus on those that have been affected by their substance use disorder (SUD) and subsequent behavior.

What Is a 12-Step Approach?

Social Work in Public Health states that a 12-Step program is “a peer-based mutual help program for alcoholism, drug abuse, and other addictive and dysfunctional behaviors. These steps are guiding principles that outline how to overcome addiction, avoid triggers and live a healthy, productive life.”

The Purpose of Making Amends

When a person is in the grip of SUD, they will often exhibit self-destructive behaviors. These come in the form of knocking down established social bridges with loved ones, acquaintances, and strangers. This can be especially damaging because, without these bridges, individuals become isolated. Self-imposed isolation, whether on purpose or by accident, is a leading reason for SUD to spiral even further out of control.

Making Amends in a 12-Step Program

In a 12-step program, two of the steps involve making amends. The first is to list amends. This involves making a list of everyone that has been affected by the person’s SUD. It can be anyone from a divorced spouse to a store clerk that was insulted. Essentially, anyone that the individual feels they have wronged in some way.  

The second piece is actually making amends. This involves actually taking the time to speak with these people and apologize. However, simply apologizing is not always enough. Making amends often means having longer conversations. During these conversations, both parties can discuss their motives, feelings, and the aftermath of any painful interactions.

Alternative Methods to 12-Step Recovery

No matter what program people decide to utilize, making amends is always a part of the process. Thanks to years of research and the development of new methodologies, people have choices in how they go about their recovery process.

Traditional Support Groups

For some people, a traditional support group can get them through their toughest times. In these scenarios, people are able to talk to each other about their issues with no judgment. This often brings about personal changes that can lead to making amends either during or following the process.

There are a variety of different support groups where people enter a process that will allow them to eventually manage their behaviors and issues. These programs often come after an inpatient or outpatient program but do not necessarily need to be paired with them.

For those who decide to utilize these programs, the guiding force is getting their life back on track. Moderators for these programs will work with them to realize that they are responsible for their behavior. This not only applies to the present but to the period of time they were in the grips of their SUD. Taking responsibility also involves making amends with those who may have attempted to help them. These people may have lost faith and possibly even contact.

2 Reasons for Making Amends in Any Program

When a person is said to make amends, it is not always for their sake. Making amends is often about two things: closure and healing.  

#1. Closure

SUD can create rifts between people that are left open and undefined. In some cases, these rifts cannot be healed. However, for the sake of everyone involved, the individual may wish to make amends as a way of putting a final cap on the situation or relationship.  

People whose SUD has ended relationships may wish to attempt a final talk with their former partner. If the partner allows for it to happen, they can unpack the problems that the SUD brought to their relationship and end things on a more positive note. This allows both parties to walk away knowing that they may never get back to where they were, but they had the chance to have the conversation.

#2. Healing

In other situations, the main issues caused by SUD are between loved ones that honestly wish to repair the damage. People are hurt because they have felt abandoned, or their loved ones may have attempted tough love and cut them off.  

For all those involved, making amends can bring everyone back together. This admission of guilt and openness to repairing relationships can create stronger bonds and understanding. When a person shows that they are ready to reenter into the bonds of friendship and love, it can be the start of a new socially connected lifestyle.

What Is the Red Road Curriculum At West Coast Recovery Centers?

At West Coast Recovery Centers, the Red Road Curriculum offers “a deep sense of obligation and a meaningful personal commitment to purposefully live your life each day practicing and embodying The Seven Sacred Virtues of the Lakota.” Two of these virtues are wičákha – honesty – and wahwala – humility. 

In these two virtues, a person learns that part of their journey includes being honest both with themselves and others. Making amends can play a large role in their humility as they begin to understand who they have been and who they truly are. Each of these methods creates a way for people to make amends and, in turn, find peace with themselves and the ones they love.

There are a variety of ways to make amends. In a 12-step program, this involves two of the Twelve Steps, while in other programs, it can be a longer process. For people at West Coast Recovery Centers, the methodology can be quite different. We believe a person’s path to bettering themselves can come in many different forms. One way we explore this path is through the Red Road Curriculum. For many people, this method has helped them look at their recovery process through new eyes. We understand that making amends is never easy, but we are prepared to assist our clients in finding a point where they feel comfortable accepting responsibility for their behavior. To learn more, call (760) 492-6509.