The phrasing is important. The phrasing AA uses is:
Step 8: “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
If someone has made it clear that want nothing to do with you, trying to make amends is a new transgression, which triggers the “except when to do so would injure” clause. (And also the “become willing to” part.)
While the point IS for making amends to benefit the addict, that benefit is NOT a restoration of the relationship. It is clearing your soul of the baggage of crappy things you have done in the past. Anybody who says, “I said I was sorry, now can we be friends again?” didn’t really understand what they were supposed to be doing.
But oddly, it IS the transgressor who should be getting something out of it. If an addict stole $5 from a roommate, they should seek out that person and give them the $5 (if possible). The roommate will get nothing substantial from this, but the addict can forgive themselves for this misdeed.
From what I saw, the show My Name Is Earl did this fairly well: each episode had him finding a person he had done something horrible to in the past and trying to “make that right”. Not to become their friend, not to be any part of their life, but just to undo or balance the wrong he’d done. (Although Earl often tried to force this on people who wanted nothing more to do with him, so not the best example.
When I read the title, I didn’t realize this would be about the STEP to make amends, but the more general practice, and I have a story of that to share.
I work in a convenience store, and a few years back I worked in one that was a neighborhood store, with the same faces every night and lots of people walking to the the store. There was an older couple (late 50s or maybe 60s) who would come in occasionally, often to play lottery.
One night I said to the lady, “Ma-am, I’m going to have to ask you to watch your language.” She replied, “I only said (excrement) once.”, and I said (with a not of anger) “That was THREE times, and if you go for four I’ll throw you out.”
At this point her husband gets involved. I always have difficulty understanding him, but he said something about how if I wasn’t behind the counter things would be different. I forget what was said by whom, but I remember it ended with me repeatedly saying, “Are you challenging me to a fight, sir?”
MONTHS later, in the last week of December, he approaches my register and … I always have difficulty understanding him, but he made it clear he wanted to apologize for that incident. Something about starting the new year with a clean slate.
Now, they’d been in in the intervening time. This wasn’t about being allowed back in the store or something. This was about him not having to think every time he saw me, “Boy, I was a jerk to that guy that one time.” He knew he’d been wrong, and wanted me to know he knew he’d been wrong so that he could stop feeling guilty.
So yes, I’ve been on the receiving end of somebody making amends.