Step Nine

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


Dear God,

Talk about raging fear, this piece of action was without doubt my most difficult step.

If those reading this have not become tired of hearing this message or if it was heard but ignored, this is the time to find a sponsor to give guidance. Do not look at what is on your 4th and 8th step lists and just go do it. Please take the time and effort to use the wisdom of your sponsor who by the way should have this step behind them.

As I sit here typing, the memories flood my mind enough to become a distraction. I freely admit to trying my damnest to evade or forget certain parts of my original 4th step, but my ever alert sponsor just smiled and asked in his gentle manner, "Danny boy, did you perchance leave someone out of this amends list?" His beady little eyes looked into my soul as I went home to lengthen the list.

As my stroll down memory lane continues, I remember giving my fifth step to another person, I think. Hmmm!! It was after all 20+ years ago. Both of my parents were still alive and when approached with what I wanted to do said, "No thanks." Seems as though one of their friend's daughters did a ninth step after her therapist insisted on it and all she did was blame her parents for her life of misery. I made sure those things done to offend them not only ceased but many actions took place to reverse any and all harm done. Although my mother is not a person I would pick for a friend or mother, she never has been held up as being responsible for my defects of character, nor should she.

Many times parents are merely doing God's will when they are less than perfect while engaged in parental behavior. I've often been reminded that babies come to us without any blueprints or how to books. For me this popular thought of putting myself at the top of the list of amends is nothing more or less than the psycho-babble that blames everyone else for my defects. Please don't do that to yourself as my experience shows clearly that my emotional growth is stunted and after all this time in the program I'm operating on a level of an 18-year old. Old dogs may be taught new tricks but very slow. Perhaps some of you will share with us the most difficult amends on your list, why and how you plan to make things right.

By far the most difficult amends made was to my ex-wife. From the first day or rather night I saw her, all logic left my mind. It was at Flemmings night club on Merrick road in Laurelton. The date was 10/05/1959. The place was packed, while the band played "Night Train." She was in nursing school and let me know she only dated college men. That is when the lying started and she never experienced the real me. To stand up and ask her forgiveness was so very hard, and even more difficult was not pointing out her part in our failure. While a sad situation, it has healed at least for me - she is having too much fun hating me.

My children, friends, bartenders, people to whom I administered beatings, all had to be asked for forgiveness. Some were so accepting my eyes were filled by the joy of being forgiven. Some were and still do use the bible to respond as they told me to "go forth and multiply thyself." Hmm!!

There were so many institutions, both public and private, to whom an amends would more than likely mean jail time for me and others, therefore prohibiting my ability to support my now extended family. Those amends are done on an ongoing basis through a helping hand for any who needs it. Many think something is wrong with me when money is anonymously presented to the homeless or a case of food is delivered to the local soup kitchen.

There are so many ways to make amends and the greatest of these practises of love is every morning prayer, I share with all who care to read it. The amends owed to my Higher Power is never ending, as surely as my defects bother my God who wants all of us to be happy, joyous and free. Like any good Father, He knows that we need to work for all these things or they will mean nothing to us. This, then, is where the obsession is lifted on a daily basis, if we have been as honest and thorough as is possible for us. We maintain this lovely frame of heart and mind, as long as we ask for it by doing the next right thing.

We will be discussing steps ten, eleven and twelve next. These past weeks have been some of the easiest for my abstaining from compulsive eating that I have experienced in many years. My message has not changed; it is of prodding my fellows to keep on keeping on. Share what is given freely by sponsoring another sufferer. When you post to your home loop or f2f meetings, keep our dream alive by giving this gift to another. Surely this is what my God intended when He saved Bill W. and Dr. Bob Smith from alcoholic deaths, to found the first 12 step program.

Thanks to all, as this COE needs his fellows much more than he cares to admit. AND WHY NOT........Danny

Step Eight

Step Ten

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