Step Nine

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



STEP NINE



STEP NINE

Step Nine Essay:

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

Dear God, was this hard the first time. I had heard repeatedly that the accomplishment of the step lifted a lifetime load of guilt and fear. And then, despite all the tears, doubts, and foot dragging, I found it was so. So I think that the best I can do with Step Nine is to be your cheerleader. Go for it. Get it done. See what a difference it really does make. Step up and hit a home run.

Sometimes we may hold back because we think the other person was more at fault than we were. And this may be true in some cases. But we are responsible for our part, and it is our part that needs attention.

Sometimes the people we really need to talk to aren't available for one reason or another. Rather than just skip them, I found it very helpful to write them a letter, telling what I had to tell, and then putting the letter in a special place, spread before my HP. Some people call this place their God Box. One person I know keeps a coffee can with a slit lid. Some do it in journals. Other do whatever. But just doing it seems to help me put aside the fears and anguish, the guilt and resentments. You might try this.

And what about things that may have been criminous? There may be cases where offering restitution is in order. There may be some few instances where the amends could put us into some legal difficulties. Quite often, the amends itself, with some kind of restitution satisfies the offended. Only a few people are really mean. But if there is a penalty, we may have to be prepared to pay it in some cases.

Then there is the issue of harming others. Joe and Sue have a good marriage, despite some past troubles. Once Sue and I had an affair. It's now over, and Sue and Joe are happy. Do I go to Joe and tell him that I had had an affair with his wife once? The answer is, obviously not. It may be possible that I could tell Sue that I'm sorry I took advantage of her in an emotional time, and want to say so. Or it could be that Sue really doesn't want to talk about it -- let sleeping dogs lie! Sometimes there is little we can do without causing harm. For these situations, there is always the God Box.

But we have to be careful here, too, about our capacity to rationalize. On the other hand, we will speak to some people who will not remember anything about the episode we have carried on our conscience for so long!

You will note that while amends continue to be made throughout life, as Step 10 will require, that the first time is the real biggie. Of course, there may be things that will come up later, that we don't think of right now, but generally, an awful lot gets done in the first trip. This step cleans out the garbage of our past. Step 10 will keep us clean on a daily basis. So try to make this one as complete as you can. And do it at whatever speed works for you. Trying to do them all in a day may not only be impossible from sheer numbers, but it would be too exhausting emotionally. But set a time, a reasonable time, to have it all done. And then, just do it.

Love,
John
Be Realistic, Plan for a Miracle!


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Step Nine Questions.

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

1. Direct amends indicated that whenever possible, amends should be done face to face. In the last step, you ask God to make you ready to do this. Are you ready? What would it take to make you ready.

2. There are always some cases that seemingly will be very hard to do. Sometimes great emotions will be involved. I tell my sponsorees that the lion's share of keeping abstinence is being prepared for is coming, rather than walking around in a fog. What things might you consider when facing your tough amends? Can you make a support system to help you through? (Sponsor, friend, therapist, group, pastoral person, etc.)

3. Are there cases which would seemingly harm others? If so, what are you going to do with these?

4. Are you ready to proceed? What would it take to make you ready?

5. Can you imagine how you might feel after all this lifetime of collected junk is cleared out? Will you have any reason to binge then?

6. Above all, remember that you owe yourself one of the biggest amends. Each of us has harmed ourselves with this disease more than we know. To be honest, we need to face this situation. Have you included yourself, and do you have a list of things that you need to forgive yourself for?

Now go do it, and don't hesitate to speak with significant helpers, such as those mentioned above.

Love,
John
Be Realistic, Plan for a Miracle!


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