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Making Amends with Friends and Family in Recovery

by General Marketing

There comes a time in addiction recovery when patients feel it’s time to reach out and make amends with people they’ve hurt due to their chronic illness. This part of the healing process is easier for some than others and will depend on the length of their untreated addiction, the size of their support network, and their family or social dynamic, among other things. Still, there are several basic steps to help get things moving along, as shame, guilt, and regret are emotions that need to be addressed in order to move forward.

Create a list.

The list of people who may have been wronged during the height of someone’s addiction can be extensive, but narrowing down a list to the most important, closest, or those who were hurt the most can make the task of righting wrongs feel less daunting. Jotting down an email or home address, phone number, or another way to contact each person will help organize the initial process of reaching out.

Choose a medium.

Some people have the gift of gab and can deliver eloquent heartfelt apologies on the spot, while others are brilliant at expressing themselves in words. Whichever the case, it’s also vital to consider whether the recipient is more responsive to a written or verbal apology.

Make apologies personal.

While wonderful templates can be found online to help people write apology letters, a generic copy-and-paste message simply won’t do in this situation. Each person on the list deserves a heartfelt apology letter that includes specific details that show genuine intent and remorse. Using a template can be helpful or organize thoughts, but the sentiments in each letter should be personalized to the recipient.

Take responsibility.

Substance use disorder is a chronic illness that affects the brain, causing people to act in ways they otherwise would never consider. That being said, there are still actions and words that have been exchanged that caused other people pain, and each patient needs to take ownership of their past transgressions. While the disease of addiction did drive many regrettable events, an apology should not be a transfer of blame onto an illness but rather an acknowledgment that the circumstances of past mistakes have caused damage to loved ones.

Ask for forgiveness.

There’s a difference between groveling at someone’s feet and expressing true and utter remorse. The latter is the goal for these letters, texts, emails, or verbal apologies. Asking for forgiveness also doesn’t mean that with three simple words, “I forgive you,” things will magically improve overnight. Recognizing that the path towards forgiveness and repair is a long road that will require work and re-building of trust is essential to mention.

Have patience.

Making amends can take time. Some wounds need to heal organically with enhanced, positive communication and proof of genuine commitment to improving matters. Give each recipient time to digest the apology and prepare to have some potentially tricky conversations ahead that may ultimately improve the chances of repairing important relationships.

HCRC helps thousands of people treat their substance use disorder using comprehensive methods proven to have a high success rate. To learn about medication-assisted treatment and how HCRC can help, message or call the nearest clinic today.

Medically Reviewed By:

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

The Clinical Team at Health Care Resource Centers is our team of physicians and medical directors within the organization. HCRC is a CARF accredited organization and has been providing addiction treatment services for over 32 years in the New England area.

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