Our amends usually fall into one of a few categories:
Full Amends – This is an amends we make face-to-face and correct the damages directly. This could mean making a financial amends for the full amount of money stolen. It could mean repaying the other with quality time and mending the relationship. It could be a heartfelt apology and promise to live differently. Whenever possible, and when doing so will not cause others harm, we should make a full amends.
Partial Restitution – These are the amends we have to carefully navigate because complete disclosure could do more harm than good. During these amends, we admit what we can that will not cause harm. We repair the relationship to the best of our ability. And we live differently going forward.
Deferred Amends – These are amends that are either not possible yet due to circumstance, or are amends that the timing is not deemed appropriate by our sponsor. We defer these amends only as long as absolutely necessary.
Indirect Amends — These are the amends we are unable to make face-to-face. These amends could involve a written letter. They could involve making a donation to charity in lieu of making direct financial amends. Or these could be what we call “living amends,” which is to commit to living differently.
Resisting Making Your Amends?
The Twelve & Twelve tells us that we are going to be tempted to skip some of the more humiliating and dreaded meetings. It says:
“We will often manufacture plausible excuses for dodging these issues entirely. Or we may just procrastinate, telling ourselves the time is not yet, when in reality we have already passed up many a fine chance to right a serious wrong.”
We should avoid making excuses for ourselves or procrastinating. If we have lost our willingness for a particular amends, we need to return to Step Eight and ask our Higher Power to help us become willing.
“Above all, we should try to be absolutely sure that we are not delaying because we are afraid,” reads the Twelve & Twelve. “For the readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well-being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine.”