You’ve been sober for months. Everyone in your Life Recovery group says you’ve made significant progress. You’re seeing a counselor once a week, working your recovery program and from the outside, everything seems to be going great. But deep down inside, you wonder if life will ever go back to normal and you doubt that long-term restoration is possible.
Restoration is possible. But first, you must make restitution. Step 9 in Life Recovery states, “We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” When we make restitution, it can bring restoration, if not for the relationship but for you in your recovery. Restitution is making amends to those whom your addiction and behavior have hurt.
But what about restoration? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as, “A bringing back to a former position or condition–reconstruction of the original form.” In other words, making restitution will bring restoration to our lives. It may not look like it did before, but it’s part of our reconstruction process for our new life.
GOD — If you want to realign your life, start by being honest with God about your addiction (confession). And take steps to turn from it (repentance). Spend some time alone with God and His word. Acknowledge the reality of your addiction; accepting reality will help you deal with it.
Talk about your addiction and any of your issues to another person—a counselor, sponsor, or Life Recovery group. Much healing comes from telling someone: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results,” (James 5:16, NLT).
OTHERS — Before you started recovery, your addiction affected all of your relationships. You may have stopped your addiction—but you have lost connection! And the old connections may not be helpful for your recovery.
Making amends with those you’ve hurt will help to restore your relationships with others. Does this mean all of your relationships will be restored? No, and it won’t be easy. But you’re doing the right thing by taking responsibility for your part. Ask help from your sponsor or group as you begin this process of making amends. Then trust God to restore broken relationships and help you form healthier ones.
YOURSELF — After you’ve done the hard work of making restitution with God and others, you need to make restitution with yourself. You need to forgive yourself fully by accepting the truth that you have been forgiven by God. This is an ongoing way of life as old feelings will resurface and you will need to work your recovery, connect with others, and realize you are not where you used to be.
Making amends is not a onetime process. In recovery we learn to keep current with our offenses, making amends as we recognize where we have caused pain. Accepting forgiveness and responsibility for our lives will give us restored lives!
“Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus…” (Acts 3:19, MSG).