Making amends with the people you’ve wronged while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is an essential step towards sobriety.
But how do you do it? How do you even begin? How do you make them forgive and trust you again?
These are some of the questions that more than 29.5 million people struggling with addiction ask themselves whenever they think of visiting drug and alcohol rehab centers. Most of them believe that repairing broken relationships after addiction is impossible.
But that’s not true.
If you want to pursue sobriety but are afraid of facing the people you’ve hurt, here are some time-tested tips to help you make amends once sober. These tips will also help you build trust and confidence as you recover.
Choose the Right Time
Making amends can be emotionally challenging. Therefore, you should never try to repair relationships in the early stages of the recovery process.
During these stages, it’s hard for you to withstand the feelings that may arise when repairing broken relationships. You may experience guilt, anger, or even shame.
Making amends at the early stages will only make it hard for you to rebuild the relationship. It’s essential to ensure you’re mentally ready before you approach the people you’ve wronged.
Remember that just as it takes time to embrace sobriety, it takes time to prepare and rebuild relationships.
Know What You Did Wrong
Before you start making amends, think about what you did to upset your loved ones. If you’re uncertain why a loved one is upset, you may ask them or someone close to them what you did wrong.
Once you’ve identified why the person is mad at you, ask yourself why you did what you did.
While you don’t want to use your intentions as an excuse, understanding why you did it will help you come up with a sincere apology. Besides, it’s necessary to show you acknowledge the wrongdoing and are genuinely sorry.
Set Realistic Expectations
Don’t expect the person you’ve wronged to forgive you immediately, even if you offer a sincere apology. Rebuilding relationships after addiction takes time.
Expect little, but hope for the best.
You should have realistic expectations and be prepared that the person may accept or reject your apology. You can seek help from our team since this is one of the most important steps when making amends.
There are those that will reject your apology, but don’t let that interfere with your journey to sobriety. Any action taken towards repairing a broken relationship is a victory; every step you make needs to be celebrated.
Empathize with the Person You Hurt
It’s important to empathize with the person you wronged.
Developing a sense of empathy for the other person will help you understand their pain and enable you to offer a heartfelt and sincere apology. Without compassion, your amends may end up sounding empty and unrealistic.
Ask yourself how you would feel if the same thing happened to you. Would you feel angry or betrayed?
The answer to this question will help you understand the other person’s pain and make it easy for you to ask for forgiveness.
Remember You’re Not a Bad Person
Making amends can be difficult because it requires you to admit that you hurt a person.
Just remember that making amends doesn’t mean you’re admitting to being a bad person. Nurture positive thoughts. You can take a few minutes to affirm the good qualities you have before you meet with the person.
In her latest research, Stanford Psychologist, Karina Schumann, has found out that those who engage in self-affirmation exercises before making amends come up with more sincere and heartfelt solutions.
Meet the Person and Be the First to Start the Conversation
Now that you have everything ready, you can meet the person you’ve wronged.
Start the conversation with warm greetings.
You can even approach the person with a bunch of flowers or a card with a written note. This will help you start the conversation on a good note and break the awkward tension or silence.
Next, tell the person why you wanted to meet with him or her and express remorse for your actions. You may also explain why you did what you did, but don’t let it come out like an excuse.
Show regret and speak from your heart.
The Conversation Shouldn’t Be One-Sided
Communication is a two-way street.
Let the wronged person talk. It’s also essential that you let them work through their feelings as well before you ask for forgiveness.
Make sure you’re listening.
The person will feel more comfortable expressing their feelings if you show that you’re ready to listen to what they have to say.
The person may get emotional when talking. Let them, and don’t take anything they say personally!
Also, don’t say anything that will provoke them.
Set Things Right and Make Amends
After you’ve told them you were wrong and how much you regret hurting them, ask for forgiveness. Make the person know you’re accepting responsibility for your actions.
Once the person accepts your apology, its’ time to rebuild the relationship. If you damaged properties, you need to replace them. If you stole money to buy drugs, repay it if you can.
Making amends will show the person that you’ve changed and have learned from your mistakes.
Nurture Understanding and Patience
If the person doesn’t accept your apology, don’t get mad. Be glad that you played your part.
Remember that forgiveness is a privilege, not a right. Also, demonstrate empathy and show that you’re an understanding person.
Be patient, friendly, and continue trying. Some wounds need time to heal.
Take a Step Today
Making amends with loved ones is an essential step along the road to sobriety. It’ll not only help the person you’ve wronged but also accelerate your recovery process.
Rebuilding broken relationships after addiction is not always easy, but it can be done.
If you’re a recovering addict and want to make amends with loved ones, make sure you apply the tips we’ve highlighted above. They’ll help you avoid new mistakes and make the process smooth and successful.
If you have any questions or need help with your recovery process, you can contact us now.