Entering recovery is a contract with self and the program you joined. When I use the term program it includes 12-step recovery, treatment programs, counseling and therapy. The type of recovery you select depends on what you are seeking to recovery from. Mental health and addictions (inclusion of alcoholism) are states we can recovery from.
There are many paths to take, ideas to explore, examples to follow, insights, and how-to’s available. However, the type of path you decide to take will not matter without two very important ingredients: Willingness and Desire. These two shall be your constant companions as you travel the path of recovery. Anyone can commit to sustain from use of substance (drugs, cigarettes, food, sex, etc.) for a short duration. Generally a 24 hour break and then back to it. The reasons for the break is not always a choice, generally imposed by law or lack of resources. No matter, to remain abstinent for a lifetime takes commitment, making a contract with self to make the amends you deserve.
The one person that is never on the list, the one person that matters the most never receives an amends: Self. Some will say it is a given, it is not. Especially with women who are taught to put others first, when we are told that it is bragging or selfish to consider self in any area of life. “Buck up, stop thinking of your self. It isn’t about you.”
12-steppers know that within the steps is the amends step. The 8th step is preparation, making lists, getting clear about the wrongs. The 9th step is the action step, apologizing for the wrongs committed to others. When it is not harmful to self or others. Be creative and do an unknown random act of kindness is another type of amends. Making a living amends is to never repeat the wrong, no crime, gossip, hate, thievery, lying, sleeping with someone’s spouse, gambling away great grandma’s social security check, you know the events that we never wish to repeat. Learning to live without the need to fix what feels wrong with us or committing a pay-back in order to right a viewed wrong is part of recovery and making amends.
When we reach a place in our recovery path to see our lives clearly it is time to consider a self-amends contract. Many times a person enters recovery, discovers a need to make an amends to those involved in his or her disease. There are those you may decide to make an amends to who will never consider it enough, that the wrong is so great to them, that you will never be able to make up for it. The idea of an amends is to clean your side of the street, to right the wrongs for you, not them. You go to the person with the intent of lightening your load, without anticipation or hope of being forgiven. What that person says or does is not your business, just making the gesture is your business. And so it is with the self-amends, this is your business, no one else’s. It matters not what anyone says.
Here is how you write a Self-Amends Contract:
I (your name), do hereby swear that from this day (enter the date) will continue on my path to recovery. I do affirm my right to health, happiness, prosperity, and love. This is my living amends to me for the years I have neglected my own well-being. I will continue to review and update the contract as it benefits my life and ensures my spiritual growth.
I will commit to achieving these goals through daily action. Where it is too difficult I will make adjustments to aid in achieving my goals.
1. (This is where you will make the list that matters to you. Include all the wished for goals, earning a living, getting a new car and home, better job, relationship, everything that is at the top of your mind goes in this list. Remember the next step is to decide what steps you will need to take to achieve these goals, breaking them down to the daily goals.)
This contract is effective immediately and is a lifetime commitment. I will review (weekly, monthly, you specify the time line) and make adjustments where needed. When a goal is accomplished rather than mark it out I will highlight it and celebrate the achievement.
Signed:(your signature, of course)
(Remember to add the new date when updated and your highlighted achievements. )
The rest is up to you. My self-amends contract has been renewed every few years now, with reviews about every six months. I have met the smaller goals, the larger ones take more time to work on. My life is manageable today. Wow. Never thought I would say that.
Share in this journey. I am available by chat, phone or email for private consult and spiritual counseling simply go to my contact page.
I look forward to hearing about your trials, tribulations, and triumphs.