The excessive use of drugs, alcohol or gambling is a double-edged sword that can rapidly cut lives and relationships to pieces. Making amends to those who have suffered from your actions is a gigantic step on the road to recovery for addicts who have been responsible for such heartbreak and despair.
Below we will look at the two sides of this sword from both an addicts’ perspective and from those who have suffered due to your actions.
The user becomes addicted:
We have all heard the stories, indeed many of us will know someone who is or was an addict. In terms of drugs it generally starts off with a user taking drugs socially, or only on ‘special occasions’. The problem is that certain drugs are harder to control than others; think heroin and cocaine as prime examples and certain people are more prone to addiction than others.
The vicious circle:
The more drugs you use, the more alcohol you consume, or the more money you gamble means you want and need more, the more you want, the more addicted you become, the more addicted you are, the more desperate your needs.
In many cases this cycle progresses until the only thing that matters is your need for that next ‘fix’.
Beg, Steal and Borrow:
In the quest to feed your craving you will beg:
This will of course include false promises of making amends, and assertions that you will “putting things right”.
You will steal:
In the vast majority of cases your habit affects your judgement and every aspect of your life.
If you see money lying around it will quickly be in your pocket, you will make it your business to understand where valuables are stored, and there is a good chance you will become an opportunist thief. If you see something of value which is unattended there will be little hesitation in lifting it.
While remorse may hit later you can always justify these actions to yourself by excusing your behavior in that quest to feed your habit.
You will borrow:
This appears an easy option in terms of getting money for your next ‘fix’. Promises of money returned will flow easily from your lips, and of those you ask, many will believe you, at least in the beginning!
This is one word that is used by recovering addicts time and again. The need, the urge, the desire for another hit makes them completely and utterly selfish, other people’s feelings are disregarded in an instant, and that old saying “You hurt the ones you love” is a very true one in such cases.
The other side of the sword – Those close to you:
Those who are close to you will generally go through hell and high water to help. They will believe your problem can be controlled or solved, they believe you will see the light and they will accept your words when making those false starts in terms of making amends.
The problem is that everyone has a breaking point, and rest assured, addicts will test breaking points of their loved ones to the absolute limits.
The important thing here is that in many, many cases your loved ones are far stronger and resolute than you would ever imagine. They will stick with the sadness and heartbreak for as long as possible in an attempt to help you.
When you are on the road to recovery it is extremely important to remember what you have put these individuals through.
What is, and how do you go about making amends?
We should be very clear here. You are not simply apologising to those you have wronged, an apology lets you off the hook as much as those you apologise to. Saying sorry is all well and good, but you need to put more than that into it.
Making amends means you will change the way you do thing, the way you act to those people you have wronged, and the way you work towards repairing and improving those relationships.
This is not a quick process, and nor should you try to rush things or skip over people your actions have affected.
You should be seeking the help of a specialist addiction centre and qualified counsellors. They are there to assist, they will talk things out with you, they will explain things honestly and frankly and they will help greatly on your road to recovery.
Planning the way forward:
With the help of qualified, caring and understanding professionals you will begin to recover.
It is a sensible idea to make a comprehensive list of all the people you have harmed and make a deal with yourself. That deal will be a determination to genuinely make amends to each affected person in turn.
There will be exceptions on this list where it is not sensible or possible in terms of making amends. An example of this relates to those that could suffer harm, or harm others if you came back into contact with them.
But, the vast majority on the list will be people that you should do everything you can in terms of repairing the emotional heartbreak and building bridges in an attempt to get back on an equal footing with them.
While this will not be easy for you, the plus side is that as you build these bridges you will feel a great weight lifted from your soul and consciousness. You will begin to feel far stronger and far more positive within yourself. These self-reactions will do you the power of good as you proceed down the road to recovery.
Making amends is far more meaningful than a simple apology
In closing, it is very important for you to understand that simply saying “sorry” is not the route to take. While this may be a start, it is also a way of closing the issue more with yourself than the person you have harmed.
By working hard at making amends that are genuine, heartfelt and meaningful this will benefit those people you have wronged and give you a new purpose in life.
It also goes without saying that this process will not be a quick fix, and that you will need to work at it with sincerity, honesty and determination.