Step Nine

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


Below is one of the entries I made in my journal this year. Even today I feel the release I received after taking this step.

June 26th 2001

I am now facing step 9 again having made amends to all except one and folks this has just got to be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life; typically I have saved the toughest challenge to last.

From the moment I read step nine about making amends to those I have harmed and asking for forgiveness, how I have prayed that I could be released from the guilt I feel about something I did over 26 years ago. I also prayed that it would be a case of making amends without having to face my Aunty about what I did. But nope for the past three years God has been poking me and pricking my conscience about confessing. Of course I could have told my uncle but somehow I knew that there would be absolutely no way on earth that I would tell him, besides he spent time as a military policeman, a prison officer and a spell in a boys remand centre as a care officer so I was not about to stand before him and tell all.

So yet again standing at the foot of this step, that prick of conviction came to me and I was so hoping that God would just take the task from me. I have absolutely no problem with being honest, no problem at all in facing my challenges and in fact gain an extraordinary strength in doing something that proves difficult. But right now at this point in time, I would trade all just to get out of this task.

But to phone my aunty and confess that 26 years ago while we were staying with them before being sent abroad, I stole money from their savings jar in order to buy sweets from the corner shop seemed so unachievable. Part of me realised that perhaps this was the beginning of my seeking food to hide feelings. I am so ashamed about what I did and whilst all other amends have been dealt with, this one still remains. I know it sounds foolish for me to feel so strongly about not wanting to do this, but it really really is the most difficult thing I have ever faced in my life. I shake with fear at even thinking about doing it. Yet I know not doing it is preventing me from moving on.

I decided to seek God about how to go about making my peace with Him on this matter and offered to do a deal. But I knew, I heard His words so clearly. I WAS going nowhere until I had completed this task. I weighed up how life would be living with the knowledge that I had failed to accept the challenge. I saw myself at the gates arguing my case with God. I contemplated the deal that if I sinned no more that this one would be ok. I know sick so sick but the fear and sickness I feel inside at facing this makes not one logical ounce of sense!

I phoned my sponsor, God saw to it that he was not in. So I phoned a friend. I told her all I was facing and why I had to do this and why I could not live with failure. I also told her that I felt God had given me a date but it was July 24th and that right now, that seemed a torturous amount of time to live with my turmoil. Afterwards telling the tale to my friend I felt strangely strengthened, so I told her I was going to make the call. I was going to seek Gods guidance and I was going to call and confess my misdemeanours.

I put the phone down and dialed my auntie's number, it was engaged. I felt so down and could feel the strength sapping from me. I dialed again several times and it was engaged. I prayed and dialed once more and this time it rang. I prayed that it would be my aunty that picked it up ... and it was.

I took a deep breath, a very deep breath and explained about the 12 steps and about the fact I needed to ask her forgiveness for something I did when I was 8 or 9. She sounded surprised and to be honest, wouldn't you if you picked up the phone and your niece was talking gibberish. Well I continued and told her the whole sordid story, each word was like peeling away the onion skin, some fell away easily other parts needed more of a shove. It was not the best of apologies and certainly not the most eloquent way to ask forgiveness but I said what I knew I had to and half way through I knew there was no going back.

At the end my aunty, well she was so sweet and so forgiving I wanted to cry. I wanted to tell her how hard and how long I had held on to this guilt. She was so forgiving and told me not to worry about it any more.

We talked for a little longer and then I put the phone down.

I sit here now having phoned my friend and told her the story and also that now she can stop praying and that God had indeed released me like He promised. I feel so relieved and yes, the hurdle looks as big from this side as it did from the other, only now I am on the right side of it.

Thank God!

Love to you all,

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