Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Creative Amends


"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible..." from the 12-literature.

When people in recovery make amends I believe they're serious about staying clean and sober. The idea the recovering person is willing to right their wrongs sends the world a message..

I heard a story this week of an addict who went to great lengths to make amends. And it was quite creative.

He found that when he'd go into a store from which he'd shoplifted it was a challenge for them to accept the money he offered. It seems that most chain store accounting systems are not set up to accept amends from recovering addicts or alcoholics. When he'd explain what he was trying to do they'd send him to upper management. But even then, he had difficulty giving them his money. Finally though he hit upon a solution.

Whenever he had the money to make another amends, he'd go into the store and buy something that cost about the same amount as he was trying to repay. Then, once he'd made the purchase and had the receipt, he'd return the merchandise to the shelf from where he'd gotten it. He figured that that way he wouldn't have to go through bureaucratic red tape.

And while he might've messed up the store's inventory, at least he was able to complete his amends. And as far as I know he never got into trouble for putting merchandise back on the shelf.