If you have hurt someone over the years by your drug or alcohol use, making direct amends for what you have done to them as directed by 12 step programs may not be advisable for your future success or for the relationship. Even though you may have lied, cheated, been hurtful or intolerant with people involved in your life; these people don't necessarily want amends from you, no matter how sincere you may be.

Trying to make amends may bring up painful past memories and feelings, which could create more harm than do any bit of good. You can evaluate the amends you want to make, are they truly for the other person or to make you feel better? You may be thinking, how can I move on with my guilt, without going back?

To truly move forward and beyond your substance use problems, you can evaluate your own feelings about guilt and deep regret. You don't have to carry the burden of these feelings forever, you can move past them, but it takes work.
You can release guilt when you make the choice to let it go. To help with this choice, it is imperative to commit to never repeating the offending behavior(s) you made in the past. Make a promise to yourself and only yourself to change your offending behavior in the present and future.

When you are ready to commit to not recreating offending behaviors you are truly ready to change your life and create new behaviors going forward. These two will always go hand and hand. You must make this promise to yourself with no room for excuses or a way out of this personal commitment. Remember, changing your attitude will change your life.

Dealing with guilt in a productive manner is a natural process everyone experiences. Someone with a negative outlook on life can use guilt for self-pity and as an excuse to fail, and then regress to their old behaviors. Sometimes, you may feel bad or guilty about a situation and your next thought is about using drugs or alcohol. This may come off as a "who cares, I'm doing what I want now" mentality.

For many, this is an opportune way to avoid changing the original behaviors that created the guilt in the first place. But there is no way that self-pity and guilt can make you overuse substances; although you may use it as a reason to choose substance use, it is never the cause..

After you realize that you are ready to commit to new positive behaviors in your life regarding your substance use, your guilt will lessen overtime. Those people to whom you wanted to make amends will see the changes you are making in behaviors, choices and attitude.Over time, it is likely you will earn the trust of those you may have let down in the past. This may not happen overnight but as long as you keep moving in a positive direction you may rebuild relationships with many of these people.

Remember, guilt is natural; we all feel it from time to time but as we change for the positive guilt fades, as long as you learn how to productively deal with guilt and not use it as a crutch or excuse for bad behavior.

Author's Bio: 

Saint Jude Retreats is an educational alternative to drug and alcohol rehab. Learn more about the most effective program for alcohol and drug use, which is supported by world-renowned addiction experts at www.soberforever.net.

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