They have been hurt by your actions, and they may not be willing to forgive and forget. They may have been hurt in ways that you were not able to identify when preparing to make amends. If you repeatedly missed appointments or broke plans with loved ones, don’t simply apologize. Refrain from making promises or commitments you don’t intend living amends to or are unable to keep. If you miss an appointment or event due to circumstances out of your control, provide a specific apology that includes why it happened without excuses. If you have devoted the necessary time and energy to the first 8 steps, you should have a solid foundation from which to approach making amends in Step 9.

Living amends means actively improving relationships in your life with a concerted and focused effort. Visit relatives more often, mentor young people you know, teach people close to you skills you’re good at or make time for a regular date night with your partner.

Step 9: The Best 5 Tips for Living Amends

Such situations may allow for partial restitution only. And in some cases, you may not be able to make direct amends at all.

  • Making amends is about acknowledging and correcting the harm you have inflicted on your family or friends during active addiction.
  • Volunteer your time to help your favorite charity or cause.
  • Also, it may not be a good idea to make direct amends if it could potentially stir something up.
  • We’ve written about how common guilt is in grief (you wouldn’t believe how many people get the “coulda woulda shouldas”).
  • I resolved those issues finally knowing that I did my best.

Instead, stay focused on changing your behaviors and being of service to them. Wash a car, mow a lawn, visit with an elderly relative or do anything else that’s useful and considerate.


Our sponsors can help us explore each of these concepts so that we gain perspective on the nature of our specific amends and stay focused on what we’re supposed to be doing. The key is that we keep the focus on ourselves and our “side of the street,” so to speak. We are seeking accountability for our own actions and holding ourselves to the standards of our own values and our 12 Step program. It’s important to have a plan in place before we reach out.

Self-forgiveness can be a long and complicated process. Teasing out the difference between guilt and regret can be tough. Making living amends primarily benefits you and not the people you’ve wronged in the past.

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