The Art of the Apology – Make Amends: This is part-two of a two-part series.
You Recognize That You Need To Repair Broken Relationships
Usually, when people get into recovery, they feel the most regret over the way they treated people. Whether they stole from family members, cheated on a spouse, disappointed their children, or behaved badly toward an employer; broken relationships are an unfortunate result of addictive behavior.
The good news is, most damaged relationships can be repaired. Sure, it will take awhile to regain trust, establish healthy boundaries, and find healing with the people you hurt or wronged in your relationships, but it can be done. Knowing this may help you overcome at least a little bit of shame in the early days of sobriety, which can bring you some immediate relief.
Preparing To Offer A Sincere Apology
Most people who have been hurt by an addict want to have their feelings validated. They want the person who has harmed them to acknowledge what they did wrong, offer a sincere apology, right the wrong if at all possible, and never do the same thing again.
While your guilt may drive you to want to immediately run to the people you have harmed, throw yourselves at their feet, and beg for mercy; this is not a good idea. Apologizing is an art. It should not be taken lightly and you should not approach it as some insignificant opportunity to absolve yourself so you can feel better. It is a sacred chance to reestablish your credibility in the eyes of the people who matter to you.
There should be some preparation when you are getting ready to make an apology to people you have hurt. This often includes mailing a heartfelt letter to someone admitting what you did wrong and telling them how you plan to fix it. Or, it could involve you inviting someone out to a meal (with you picking up the check) and talking to them face-to-face. Apologizes should not be conducted over text, email, or social media.
Make Amends To The People Who Matter Most
Making a true amends to someone is not just about saying the words “I am sorry”. It is about becoming willing to right whatever wrong you are guilty of. For example, if you stole money from someone, you should pay them back. If you caused damage to someone’s property, you should offer to reimburse them for it. It is important to recognize, though, that making a financial amends is actually rather easy. Matters of the heart are another thing altogether.
If you hurt someone in a way that cannot be measured in dollars and cents, you need to let the wronged person know that you would like to make amends to them. Tell them you don’t have the first idea about how to do that and ask them for guidance. They will surely offer it to you. They will tell you how you can help them heal.
Stay Committed To Living Life As The New You
The best apology you can make to someone you have harmed is changed behavior. If you keep repeating the same mistakes, the people in your life will stop trusting you altogether and they will lose faith in you. You don’t want that to happen. Stay on the right path and do the next right thing. This is the greatest way to heal broken relationships.
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