What are Living Amends? Living amends are simple in concept: making a living amends means living a completely new lifestyle and being committed to that lifestyle (in part for those who you harmed and in part for yourself). Living amends mean making genuine changes, that our behaviors and actions be true and honest and follow an emotionally sober path. Instead of making apologies only to go and repeat old behaviors and re-open wounds over and over, we commit to living clean, sober, honest lives. These are some of the best amends we can make, because they mean that we are promising to never go back to the old ways that hurt those we harmed in the first place. Amends are a Key to Your Serenity Here’s the deal. In our using most of us hurt numerous people, employers, neglect obligations. If we do not make amends to those that we have harmed, then our world becomes smaller and smaller as we make concerted efforts to avoid anyone that we wronged. We fear chance encounters with people we owe amends to, our lives become filled with worries and cautious avoidance of any place that we might see someone we knew. Once we become willing to make amends, those people, places and things that we avoided become open to us once more. We are able to walk through life without the worry that we might have to see someone we dread. Avoidance is no longer a thought, and we will find serenity and a whole new sense of living. Stress levels are reduced, room to grow and learn is created. As the Big Book tells us about the ninth step, “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.”
i have made many mistakes and caught many many breaks. won some gambles and lost even more bets. i have thrown away chances and run from success. i have remembered my failings at some very moments i needed to be fearless. i have made it this far with no real explanation as to why.
i do believe it is an imperative that i return all the blessing i have whether or not they are happenstance. most days living amends has become second nature (i hope). there is not a struggle, nor a question about which way i should go- once in awhile, my ego gets the best of me, but i have people close to me to help me redirect my thinking. thank heaven for these moments. and i am thankful from the inside out.
but even more rarely, and even more profound are the times when the opportunity to give back is directly related to someone who has given to me without cause and without expectation.
i find myself at the doorstep of the latter of these situations. i am swirling in a sense of slow motion and a scent of ambrosia. with each year of recovery that passes, i am continually surprised by the tender mercies that a broken life can dare to dream about. but that is the miracle that is recovery in my life. and it keeps me fueled to travel north.