Just For Today | June 3 | Direct and Indirect Amends

The Importance of Direct Amends

The Ninth Step of our recovery journey emphasizes the necessity of making direct amends wherever possible. The phrase, “We make our amends to the best of our ability,” as mentioned in the Basic Text, underscores our commitment to taking responsibility for our actions. Direct amends involve not just an apology but taking concrete steps to rectify the harm we’ve caused.

For instance, if we’ve broken someone’s window in a fit of anger, a heartfelt apology alone won’t suffice. We need to acknowledge our wrongdoing and take action to repair the damage, such as replacing the broken window. This tangible act of restitution demonstrates our sincerity and willingness to make things right.

Steps to Make Direct Amends:

  1. Acknowledge the Harm: Admit to the person affected that you have caused harm.
  2. Take Responsibility: Accept full responsibility for your actions without making excuses.
  3. Offer Restitution: Provide a practical solution to remedy the harm, such as fixing what was broken.
  4. Seek Forgiveness: Ask for forgiveness, understanding that it might take time for the person to grant it.
  5. Commit to Change: Show through your actions that you are committed to not repeating the harmful behavior.

By making direct amends, we address the immediate harm and lay the foundation for rebuilding trust and repairing relationships.

The Power of Indirect Amends

While direct amends are crucial, they are not always enough. Indirect amends involve deeper introspection and behavioral changes to prevent future harm. As the reading suggests, if we’ve broken a window out of anger, we need to examine the underlying attitudes and behaviors that led to that outburst.

This process requires a commitment to “mend our ways.” It’s about more than just fixing the window; it’s about addressing and altering the anger and impulsiveness that caused the damage in the first place. This ensures that we do not repeat the same mistakes and cause further harm.

Ways to Make Indirect Amends:

  1. Self-Reflection: Identify the patterns and triggers that lead to harmful behavior.
  2. Behavioral Changes: Develop strategies to manage emotions and reactions, such as anger management techniques.
  3. Attitude Adjustment: Work on changing negative attitudes and adopting a more positive and compassionate outlook.
  4. Ongoing Effort: Continuously monitor your behavior and make adjustments as needed to avoid falling back into old patterns.
  5. Seek Support: Engage with support groups, therapy, or mentors to help maintain these changes.

Indirect amends are about transforming our inner selves to ensure our outward actions reflect our commitment to growth and change.

Integrating Direct and Indirect Amends

True recovery and healing come from integrating both direct and indirect amends. It’s a dual approach that addresses the immediate consequences of our actions and the root causes behind them. This holistic method ensures that we not only make things right but also evolve as individuals, reducing the likelihood of repeating past mistakes.

For example, in the case of the broken window, direct amends would be fixing the window and apologizing. Indirect amends would involve anger management classes, developing healthier ways to deal with frustration, and making a daily effort to practice patience and kindness.

Benefits of Integrating Both Approaches:

  • Holistic Healing: Addresses both the symptoms and the root causes of harmful behavior.
  • Building Trust: Shows others that we are committed to genuine, long-term change.
  • Personal Growth: Encourages continuous self-improvement and emotional maturity.
  • Preventing Relapse: Reduces the likelihood of falling back into old, destructive habits.

By combining direct and indirect amends, we create a comprehensive strategy for personal and relational healing.

Commitment to Continuous Improvement

Making amends is not a one-time event but a lifelong commitment to improvement. Each day presents new opportunities to practice what we’ve learned and to demonstrate our commitment to change. By staying vigilant and proactive in our efforts, we ensure that our past does not dictate our future.

Daily Practices for Continuous Improvement:

  • Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness to stay aware of your thoughts and actions.
  • Gratitude: Maintain a gratitude journal to focus on positive aspects of life and relationships.
  • Self-Assessment: Regularly assess your progress and identify areas for further improvement.
  • Healthy Habits: Develop and maintain healthy habits that support your emotional and physical well-being.
  • Service to Others: Engage in acts of service and kindness, contributing positively to your community.

Just for today, commit to making both direct and indirect amends. By doing so, we not only repair the damage we’ve done but also transform ourselves, fostering a healthier and more positive way of living.


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