Just For Today | July 6 | I’m Sorry

“The main thing [the Eighth Step] does for us is to help build awareness that, little by little, we are gaining new attitudes about ourselves and how we deal with other people.”
Basic Text, page 38

The Habit of Apologizing

To say “I’m sorry” probably isn’t such a foreign idea to most of us. In our active addiction, it may have been a very familiar phrase. We were always telling people how sorry we were, and were probably deeply surprised when someone, tired of our meaningless apologies, responded with, “You sure are. In fact, you’re the sorriest excuse for…” That may have been our first clue that an “I’m sorry” didn’t really make any difference to those we harmed, especially when we both knew that we’d just do the same thing again.

Beyond Apologies: Making Amends

Many of us thought that making amends would be another “I’m sorry”. However, the action we take in those steps is entirely different. Making amends means to make changes and, above all, to make the situation right. If we stole money, we don’t just say, “I’m sorry. I’ll never do it again now that I’m clean”. We pay the money back. If we neglected or abused our families, we don’t just apologize. We begin to treat them with respect.

The Purpose of the Eighth Step

Amending our behavior and the way we treat ourselves and others is the whole purpose of working the steps. We’re no longer just “sorry”, we’re responsible. The Eighth Step helps us build awareness that, little by little, we are gaining new attitudes about ourselves and how we deal with other people. This step is a transformative process that involves:

  • Recognizing Harm: Identifying the ways we have hurt others.
  • Taking Responsibility: Acknowledging our actions and their impacts.
  • Making Amends: Taking concrete steps to correct our wrongs.

Steps to Making Amends

  1. Identify the Harm: Reflect on your past actions and how they have affected others.
  2. Seek Guidance: Discuss your plans for making amends with your sponsor or a trusted friend in recovery.
  3. Take Action: Make direct amends wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  4. Change Behavior: Commit to new behaviors that reflect respect and responsibility.

The Impact of True Amends

True amends go beyond mere words; they involve actions that demonstrate our commitment to change. By making amends, we:

  • Restore Trust: Show others that we are genuinely committed to our recovery and to making things right.
  • Heal Relationships: Rebuild connections that were damaged by our past behaviors.
  • Find Self-Respect: Gain a sense of pride and self-worth from taking responsibility for our actions.

Practical Examples of Making Amends

  • Financial Amends: If we owe money, create a plan to repay it, showing that we are serious about rectifying our wrongs.
  • Behavioral Amends: If we were neglectful or abusive, commit to treating those we harmed with kindness and respect, demonstrating our change through consistent actions.
  • Emotional Amends: Acknowledge the emotional pain we caused and offer sincere apologies, while also working to support the emotional well-being of those affected.

Just For Today: Taking Responsibility

Just for today: I accept responsibility for myself and my recovery. Today, I will amend some particular thing I’m sorry for. This commitment to responsibility and change is a powerful step forward in our recovery journey. It signifies our growth and our dedication to living a life of integrity and respect.

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