Taking Responsibility for our Harmful Behavior

Part One

We will face many difficult tasks in the process of recovery. Life is difficult. This is the baseline from which all else follows. When we accept life for what it is, we give up fighting. We surrender and accept the extent and severity of our dilemma: we are powerless over alcohol and other drugs and our life has become unmanageable. When we surrender, we develop a belief that we can find a better way of life, accept the reality that we are unable to get well on our own, and make a commitment to finding new solutions to our problems. If we have done this, then we have many of the attitudes and perspectives necessary to tackle the difficult challenges that lie ahead in recovery.

One of the greatest challenges in recovery is taking responsibility for our harmful and hurtful behavior and making amends to those whom we love and whom we have hurt. This action is essential if we are going to enjoy all of the benefits and promises of recovery. Amends are also necessary if we wish to reestablish trust.

In order to propel us and our families toward healing, our amends have to come from a deep empathy for how our illness has affected those we love. Our amends need to emerge from a deep understanding of the spiritual wound that we have inflicted on those we love and care about. Unfortunately, many balk at this difficult task. Why is it so difficult to take responsibility for our harmful and hurtful behaviors?

The answer lies in understanding the ruthless control that false pride has in our life. If we continue to allow false pride to determine what we do and don’t do, then it will interfere and impede making amends and stop us from accepting total responsibility for our hurtful and insensitive behavior.

Stupid Thing #6: Not Making Amends

An Excerpt from 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery

By Allen Berger, PhD

To develop a strong spiritual foundation for recovery, it is essential that we accept full responsibility for our harmful and hurtful behavior and that we attempt to repair the damage that we have caused in our relationships with family, friends, and loved ones.