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Why Making Amends with Others is Critical in the Addiction Recovery Process

Christine O'Kelly
Nov 13, 2007
Step nine of the 12 step program begins the process of the addict re-connecting with fellow human beings through the process of amends. After completing step 8 of the 12 step recovery program, the addict has a list of all the people and institutions he or she owe amends to. Amends can be made in person, through the mail, or by telephone.

By living the self-centered life of an addict, those in recovery can begin to see the havoc they have caused in the lives of those who care about them the most. Addicts have a tendency to manipulate their friends and family and have often treated them with disregard for their well-being in order to meet their selfish needs.

In step nine, the addict must face those that they have wronged and make amends for the harm they have caused. The recovering addict must pay back debts owed to people and institutions. The goal of step nine is to take direct and personal action to right the wrongs.

Mark Houston, founder of the Mark Houston Recovery Center talks about his personal revelations with Step 9

"My personal experiences with Step 9 were profound and life changing I did not realize prior to the process of making amends that I had disconnected from people through my alcoholism and drug addiction. I was an island unto myself and I was the only one on the island."

"As I made face to face amends with family members - particularly my parents - I began to experience a greater sense of ease and comfort within myself. I was able to accept the people in my life just as they are with no desire to change them. I owed a lot of money and as I began to pay the money back I began to earn more money at my job. I learned through this process that everything is connected. When one area of my life improved because of making amends, every area of my life became undeniably more rewarding."

We Don't Control the Outcome

The addict's role in Step 9 is to make amends with each person, institution, and entity on the list created during step eight. There is no guarantee that those who receive apologies and amends will forgive. We do not control the outcome. We do not control the thoughts and intentions of others. We only offer the amends and accept what transpires.

The Role of Step 9 in the Recovery Process

By taking a series of actions to re-create in a positive way all the destruction created while being unconscious during addiction, the addict begins living with the positive effects of their new creations. Through amends, the recovering addict can finally begin consciously creating their own lives.
About the Author
Christine OKelly is an author for The Mark Houston Recovery Center, a drug rehab in Texas that offers a 90-day program for males designed around the principals of the traditional 12 steps to recovery. The team is passionate about its mission to help men free themselves from alcohol and drug addiction and recreate and reclaim their lives.
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