Updated: Jun 2, 2020
Words can mess up the best of us. They can cut deeply and cause us pain. I am pretty vocal when it comes to social justice issues. There was a time earlier this year that I posted on social media about an issue that weighed heavily on my heart. A friend of mine didn't agree with the post and responded to it by asking "if I was on drugs". The person knows that I've struggled with addiction and getting clean and sober. This really hurt me. If someone else who I didn't respect/love as much as I do had made the same comment, I wouldn't have let it bother me as much. When it's from somebody who's been a part of your life since the day you're born, you react to it a little bit differently. When something is said out of anger, that's even worse. How many of us when mad or arguing with a loved one says " I hate you", "I wish you were dead", "I wish you'd never been born", "you're stupid, you're dumb, you're an idiot, you're_____", etc regret it instantly. What about when it's said to us? How do we get over that hurt? How do we forgive ourselves for what we've said? How do we ask others to forgive us for what we've said? How do we forgive somebody for the hurt they've caused us?
Forgiveness is the relinquishment of negative emotions such as anger, judgment, and resentment that we have toward another person.
Wow. That's big. In 12-step programs, steps 8 and 9 are two of the most important steps you have to do for recovery because they focus on making amends and asking for forgiveness from people you have harmed. Step Eight of AA Alcoholics Anonymous “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” This is the beginning of the process of making amends, forgiving others, and possibly being forgiven by them, in addition to forgiving ourselves. Step Nine of AA says“Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” “The readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well-being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine.”
"Mike, I'm not an alcoholic, drug addict, or a member of ANY 12-step program, how does this relate to me?" I think all of us can benefit from this. First, I think we should look at the difference between apologizing and making amends to another person. (I love this idea!)
"An apology can fix many things, but it doesn't always make it right when time after time, a loved one has been hurt by an individual with addiction. Making amends is more in-depth, goes deeper, and seeks to right the wrong through a change of behavior." -unknown. Wish it was mine! An apology can be like a band-aid, it stops the bleeding, but doesn't fix the underlying problem. Making amends brings about change.....
More to come
“That's a spiritual lifestyle, being willing to admit that you don't know everything and that you were wrong about some things. It's about making a list of all the people you've harmed, either emotionally or physically or financially, and going back and making amends. That's a spiritual lifestyle. It's not a fluffy ethereal concept.”
―Anthony Kiedis,Scar Tissue