Step Nine

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others."


Step Nine Contents:

Part 1 and Questions for journaling
Part 2 and Questions for journaling
Part 3 and Questions for journaling
 
 

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Step Nine ~ Part 1

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others."


 

Hi...my name is Andrew, and I'm a compulsive overeater. I'm also your step leader for this  month. I'm happy to have the opportunity to share my thoughts on Step Nine with you...it's the step that was the most daunting for me, and the most rewarding. Let me begin by taking a moment to look back...

If you've worked these 8 previous steps, if you've really given your best, most honest effort, this step will be a breeze. If you've skated by without literally throwing your entire being into each step, you're more likely to end up feeling like you've hit a brick wall at 55 miles an hour! The talk is over, and the time for action is at hand. Remember, this is like building a house...Do NOT attempt to raise the roof before making completely sure that the house you're setting it atop is capable of and prepared to bear the weight. Is your spiritual house in order?

Example...in 1987 I needed to make amends to a man who terrified me - my Adopted Father. This man had molested me, beat me, humiliated me, and proven his capacity for insult throughout the 11 years I lived with him and his wife. Yet, there it was...a glaring need for me to make  amends.

HOW in God's name was I going to have the strength to look him in the eye, speak my mind, tell the truth, and not melt into a pool of goo at his feet!

I talked to my sponsor, I talked with friends....they all said the same thing. Take a leap of faith.  This new relationship you have with God?  Try it out. Not under nice, easy, safe  circumstances...try it out in a minefield, or when you've jumped out of the proverbial airplane without a parachute! Like Indiana Jones (in the Last Crusade...) standing at the mouth of a cave on a sheer cliff wall, sometimes the only option is to take a deep breath, trust that The Higher Power will be there, and leap forward.

I was at an event with him, and I knew that I couldn't let this go by again. I went to the bathroom, and had a quick moment of prayer..."God, I know that you are there, cause I came to believe in you in StepTwo. I trust that you will steer me in the right direction, and I WILL follow that direction, as I committed to in Step Three. Now, I lay my life in your hands...if he harms me, you will be there. I trust that you will guide me, and catch me if I fall". And then I walked out of the bathroom, straight up to him, and said "We need to talk".

I told him succinctly and clearly what I had done, and that I was sorry. I did NOT rationalize it, nor did I attempt to muddy the waters by throwing up what HE had done to ME...that's not what I was there for. I was sweeping my side of the street only, and I did so. How did it go? Surprisingly good! Not a "Father Knows Best" moment, but I can attest to the fact that God did NOT let me die!


Step Nine ~ Part 1: Questions

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others."


 

1. Do I truly believe in the Higher Power? This step looks like it's gonna be a rough one...do I ACTUALLY believe in my heart that a power greater than, and separate from, me exists?

2. Have I truly surrendered my life and my will to this Higher Power? I'M SCARED TO DO THIS STEP!!! IT'S GONNA BE PAINFUL AND EMBARRASSING! Can I do it anyway?

3. Do I hear God calling me in my heart to do this, or am I doing it because it's the next step in line? I know intellectually that it's not a race...that I don't get points for "finishing" the steps in a hurry! What is my motivation for doing this at this time? Am I listening for God's Will for me?

4. If I am, then am I ready to trust the HP completely? Am I willing to put aside fears of judgment, humiliation, retribution, embarrassment, exposure? Am I ready to do this in  accordance with the HP's will, and trust that I will be OK?


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Step Nine ~ Part 2

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others."

My name is Kay and I am a compulsive overeater.  I am grateful to be able to do service by providing questions for journaling for Step 9.

From the very first time I worked step 9, it was a scary and yet a fascinating and very productive step.  I guess you might say I am one of those who "are eager to sing its praises."  In my original process of working Steps 4-9, I had a revelation as to the fact that there were many things that I could do that was going to make my life better.  That was exciting for me.  Previously, I wanted everyone else to change so it would make my life easier and better. Well, they didn't -- and my life stank.

When I finished my original list, I was not ready to make all of the amends. However, I was encouraged to start making the ones I was ready to make.  It was a neat thing to see that I never got to a place on my list where I was ready to stop.  Each amend I made prepared me for other amends.

It was important for me to understand exactly how I had harmed others (and myself).  It was equally important for me to understand the difference between hurting someone and harming them.  I always like to use the analogy of going to the dentist to illustrate hurt and harm.  When we go to the dentist, he may hurt us by drilling on our teeth, giving us the shots to deaden our mouths, etc.  He may have to pull our teeth.  All of these may hurt us, but the dentist has not harmed us.  As a matter of fact he has helped us.

One of the persons I had harmed the most was my son.  I was one of those jump-in-there mothers who was ready to come to the rescue and fix everything.  I harmed him greatly by doing for him what he could do for himself.  It was also easier for me to give advice and try to fix the problems of others than it was for me to look at myself and see what responsibility I needed to take.  A great burden has been lifted off my shoulders because, concerning the problems of others, all I am required to do is share my experience.

I really had a lot to learn.  Some of my amends went well and others I felt like I was floundering.  Each time I learned new skills of communicating and dealing with problems by being respectful and considerate of the other person. I am much better about sticking to the issue instead of getting sidetracked or deviating so far from it that nothing gets resolved.

I would like to encourage each of you to step up to the plate (so to speak) and submit your answers to the questions on Step 9.  I desperately need to hear people share what they used to be like, what they did, and what they are like now.  That is the only way I will be able to recognize the things about myself that I am unable to see.

Hugs,
Kay
 
 

Step Nine ~ Part 2: Questions

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others."


1.  What were some of the fears you had/have about making amends?  How did you deal with them?

2.  On page 76 of the OA 12&12 it states "....we'll need to acknowledge the specific harm we've done."  Share with us a recent amend you made by (1) Writing how you practiced your character defect, and (2) Writing your amend whether it be of your thinking or your actions.

3.  "To amend something means to change it."  (OA 12&12, pg. 78)  In what ways did/do your attitudes harm someone?  List two changes you have made in your attitudes.  Please be specific.

4.  In what ways did/do your actions harm someone?  List two changes you have made in your behavior.  Please be specific.

5.  "Appropriateness should be our guide each time we make amends, whether we make them directly or indirectly."  (OA 12&12, pg 79)  Give an example of how your sponsor helped you to move from inappropriate to appropriate in an amend.
 
 

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Step Nine ~ Part 3

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others."


My name is Kay and I am a recovering compulsive overeater.

I will forever have gratitude to the sponsor who helped me to learn to do the 9th Step with appropriateness foremost in mind.  One thing in particular is that my sponsor had me, in Step 8, write down the name of the person I had harmed and how I had practiced my character defect.  Then in Step 9 she had me write down what my amend was to be.  This gave me the opportunity to think on my own and to see which of my responses (with the help of my sponsor) were
appropriate or not.  It also gave me the opportunity to be creative with my thoughts and ideas about taking corrective measures.  Most of all, it gave me a clear cut example of how to sponsor others without becoming their Higher Power.  It was not my responsibility to do the thinking for my sponsorees.

There were some situations in which I knew what would be appropriate in making the amend.  Some of them were very clear cut.  There were others in which I had absolutely no idea of how to handle the situation.  I was so emotionally enmeshed with some people that I had no idea where they stopped and I began.  Making amends helped me to learn some boundaries like what was my business and what was not.  It helped me to be able to understand what was my
responsibility and business.  You see, I was so busy taking care of the responsibilities and business of others that I spent no time taking care of my own.  I had let others take care of mine (when they would), but they didn't do a very good job and I was still unhappy.  LOL

When I first started doing a written inventory, I checked that it affected my self-esteem on every resentment and fear that I wrote down.  Today, my self-esteem has been elevated by taking the appropriate corrective measures called for in my amends.  I am better able in a bad situation to handle myself in a manner that leaves me feeling good about myself when I walk away,  regardless of the outcome of the situation.  Today, the way I walk and the way I talk are much more congruent than when I came into the program.  I am less likely to put on a false front.  I am less likely to blame others for the predicament I am in.  I am more likely to take responsibility for getting what I want instead of waiting around for others to do it for me.

Thanks for allowing me to be of service to this loop.

In OA service,
Kay
 
 

Step Nine ~ Part 3: Questions

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others."


1.  What is your definition of a direct amend?  Which of your fears about making direct amends were realistic?  Which of your fears about making direct amends were unrealistic?

2. "Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil.  We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety (abstinence) is enough." (AA Big Book, page 82, paragraph 3).  List some of your selfish and inconsiderate habits and how they affected the home.

3."Our behavior will convince them more than our words."  (AA Big Book, page 83, paragraph 2).  List one behavior that you are in the process of changing right now and share with us your vision of how you think that your Higher Power would have you be.

4.  The promises start on page 83 of the AA Big Book.  Please write about one of the promises that has come true in your life and how it has meant a lot to you.
 


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