If you are a person in recovery, you have certainly traveled a long recovery journey: acknowledged your powerlessness, taken a personal inventory, shared your character defects and then eventually arrived at Step 9: Making Amends. Many find this step anxiety producing, yet freeing. You are at a spot in your recovery where you are able to take accountability for the hurt that your actions have caused others and to make amends.
What if your amends aren’t welcomed at the time that you are ready to take this significant step? What if your spouse or your teenage child does not want to hear or accept it? What if they are not ready? What if they can’t? As you will have needed support through this, so will they. It is important that everyone in the family unit receives counseling and/or attends appropriate meetings to get the support and knowledge that they will need on this journey. Your loved ones will have suffered consequences as a result of your actions. They will have experienced hurt, sadness, betrayal and anger. This list may go on and on.
Step 9 involves making amends whenever possible, EXCEPT when it may hurt others. If your loved one is not ready, you can’t force them, nor should you. An angry, hurt teenager may not welcome your amends at this time. It will need to happen on their timeline- not yours. A distraught spouse may not have been able to work through their grief, hurt, anger that your addiction brought the family. They may not be ready when you get there. You can reach out, state your intent and ask them to let you know when they may be ready and willing to hear the amends.
You have worked hard to get to this point. Your loved ones will have needed to work hard in order to be ready. It can’t be forced because you are ready. This step and healing only comes when everyone gets there.
Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from sex addiction, infidelity, intimacy anorexia, and intimacy deprivation. Ingela Edwards Counseling serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and Sherman area.
Ingela Edwards, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS is an individual and marriage therapist