Living in Recovery - the Amends Process

Now that you are living a life of sobriety, you have hopefully joined a 12-step based recovery group and are conducting yourself in a manner aligned with the principles of this program. As such, you will likely soon arrive at the stage in your recovery program where you are instructed to make amends to those you wronged in your active addiction, whether intentionally or unintentionally. This is an important step in your recovery journey, and should be approached with appropriate deference and gravity. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you begin making amends to those you have wronged in the past.

The amends process is all about cleaning your side of the street and unburdening your mind of any residual guilt you may be carrying as a result of your past transgressions. The point of making amends for you to acknowledge the harm you did to another person and offer to do whatever you can to make it right. Whether or not they accept your request for the opportunity to make the situation right should not be a concern of yours, as their response is entirely out of your control. Instead, focus on maintaining rigorous honesty, willingness, and acceptance as you approach each of your amends.

There may be instances where a person whom you have wronged is out of your reach. You may have lost contact with them after they left the area, or perhaps they have passed away. An amends is still possible in these cases in the form of a living amends. A living amends is a commitment to live your life in a moral, healthy way, contributing positively to society as a means to make up for the bad acts you committed against the person with whom you are no longer able to reach. A living amends allows you to complete the amends process thoroughly and completely, leaving nothing out of the process and completely ridding yourself of any guilt and shame you’ve been carrying due to your past.

Recovery is all about living clean, both in terms of abstinence from mind and mood altering substances and in our day to day behaviors and actions. As part of this new and clean living, we must make amends to those we have wronged in the past so we can completely let go of these old behaviors and the emotional baggage attributed to them. Remember that you are making these amends because you value your sobriety, and not out of any obligation or desire to receive forgiveness. If the individual to whom you are making amends forgives you, great! If not, that’s fine too. The important thing is you’ve made the effort, and you can proceed in your recovery journey comforted by the knowledge you’ve done your best to make things right with those you’ve wronged.


Evolutions is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in beautiful South Florida. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment centers around addressing and healing the underlying issues at the root of addiction, rather than merely medicating symptoms away.

Our treatment program includes individual and group-based therapy to help clients understand and manage their symptoms and emotions.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, alcoholism, or any co-occurring disorders please call us at (833) 818-3031 or visit