My first living amends was to a friend with whom I'd had a falling out years earlier. It's not important what it was about, other than to say in retrospect it revolved totally around two large egos (his and mine) butting against each other.
So I rang him up (he lives in another state) and told him that I wanted to put things right between us. I told him that I had been obstinate and prideful. To my surprise, he was pleased to hear from me, said that he had missed our comraderie, and wanted to get together when he next came to the area. Sure enough, he did come down and we went out to dinner. To this day, we have the ability to laugh and to be comfortable with each other in a meaningful way.
But what do you do when you make an amends and it isn't accepted? I had that happen with the second person that I met face to face with. It was Christmas and somehow all seemed right in my mind and heart for making amends. The fellow had been my closest friend until he found out about my wife's alcoholism and my struggles to deal with that. A wedge in our friendship grew into a gap and then a large hole formed. He didn't want to listen to what I had to say. And so I had no choice but to accept what he said and acknowledge that this friendship was over.
This result was one that my sponsor had warned me about. Not all amends will be graciously accepted, not all will be reconciled for the other person. What is important was my willingness to make amends. If someone does not accept my intention, then I need to let it go. I have done my part.
I think that willingness to change my behavior is the key to making an amends. I need to get honest about my character defects and become willing to give them up. I needed to transform my attitude in order to make a sincere amends. Otherwise, I am just a hollow man speaking hollow words.
I believe that by being mindful of my attitudes and by accepting that the Twelve Steps represent a permanent way of life, I can live differently.