Allen Berger, PhD, is an internationally recognized expert in family and couples therapy, and in the science of addiction and recovery. He is best known for his work on integrating modern psychotherapy with the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and for his insights into emotional sobriety.
12 Hidden Rewards of Making Amends
Finding Forgiveness and Self-Respect by Working Steps 8-10
Author: Allen Berger, Ph.D.
Did you know there are hidden rewards to making amends?
Without a willingness to experience our painful feelings, we can never grow and mature into the person we’d like to be. We can never reach our potential. We can never become our true-self.
To grow, we must stay in close contact with our experience, whatever it is. We need to stay in close contact with how we behaved in our relationships in order to make a thorough list of those we have harmed. We must face the wrongs we have done without running away from the truth.
If we were rigorously honest with ourselves while making the list of people we had harmed, we probably felt one or more of the following feelings: anxiety, shame, discomfort, or guilt. This is exactly what we were suppose to feel. We were learning that we don’t have to feel comfortable to be OK. In fact, another hidden reward is that the more willing we are to feel uncomfortable the more comfortable we become. Yes, another paradox!
One of the many hidden rewards in working Steps 8,9, and 10 is to stay in close contact with our experience so we can learn from it. This self-understanding is at the heart of self-forgiveness and emotional recovery.