The Webster dictionary defines amends as: compensation for a loss or injury; and some related words are: correct, rectify, reform, remediate, and remedy. So, lets face it, when we come into a treatment facility or recovery program we all have a lot of things to amend. Some of the things that need to be amended are hurts we have caused, harms we have done, and ways we have behaved toward ourselves and others that we wish we hadn’t. There is also a need to amend the way we live our lives. Making amends can feel insurmountable at times and we become overwhelmed with the mountain of wrongs that we have done and become buried in a mountain of regret and shame. It is very important to remember that the first amends that has to be done is to ourselves and the way we are doing that is by staying clean and sober. We need to amend the way we see ourselves and that begins with self examination. After this we can forgive ourselves and begin to live productive lives.
This journey toward amending our old ways begins in 12 step meetings, treatments centers, and recovery homes. We start by getting and staying sober and doing everything we can to remain that way. There are some promises that Alcoholics Anonymous makes to us, and these promises come after the book explains how to make amends and encourages each recovering alcoholic to make amends. The promises are as follows:
(From pages 83-84 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous) If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Selfseeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them” (Reprinted from the book Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book) with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.).