STEP NINE

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




Step Nine

Leader's Share:






God,
I have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience.
Please give me the strength and direction to do the right thing,
no matter what the personal consequences may be.


Hi everyone My name is Shlomo I am a food addict and compulsive overeater, and leader of this workshop.

Those of you who have missed my previous shares and assignments can read them on the website: http://www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/2006

We don't wait between steps eight and nine . That is why they are discussed together in the Big Book. So here we go.

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

We discussed the amends in the step eight share. So here I will give some reminders and expand a bit on the actual making of the amends.

We begin with the amends that are easiest for us to make and continue with the amends in a rising order of difficulty.

Before making the actual amend we discuss it with our sponsor.

We don't go alone to make amends. We go with God, saying the amend prayer: "God, I have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience. Please give me the strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be."

We remind ourselves that we are going to correct the damage that WE have made. Therefore we talk only about ourselves. We don't criticize the other person and we don't argue. We don't tell him what he should do. We don't discus his faults or the harm he did to us. We stick to our own.

With family and friends that we live with or see often. It is sometimes advisable to first make living amends. Especially if we are in the habit of apologizing all the time and continuing to wrong the other person. By making living amends I mean changing our behavior for a period of time like a few months, and then making the direct amends. Make such decisions after discussing the situation with your sponsor. Of course we have to continue with living amends after the direct amends too.

We remind ourselves that the reaction of the other person to our amends is his business and prerogative. Of course we will be glad if his response is positive but a negative response is also his right.

We remind ourselves that: "At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us."

We remind ourselves that: "We should be sensible, tactful, considerate and humble without being servile or scraping. As God's people we stand on our feet; we don't crawl before anyone.

Now an important suggestion based on my personal experience and my experience of working with others.

Sometimes we are not aware of all the harm we caused the other person. Sometimes the other person does not feel that he was really hurt by the behavior we are trying to amend, but he feels very hurt by some other things we did. Therefore I always suggest that after talking about the damage we think we did, we ask the other person if he is willing to tell us if we did anything else that hurt him. We assure him that we intend to correct any additional damage that he feels we did. Sometimes you will be surprised at what comes up. Then the rule is simple. WE LISTEN. WE DON'T INTERUPT OR ARGUE OR TELL HIM THAT HE IS WRONG. If what comes up can be amended by an apology we apologize even if we think he is wrong. If we are sure he is wrong we can still apologize and say that we are sorry that he was upset and felt hurt by us. If it is something that needs more action we thank him for telling us and say we have to sit and meditate on it and will call him soon about it. We discuss what came up with our sponsor and decide what should be done and do it.

Remember that step nine is the transition step between clearing the wreckage of the past and living in recovery on a daily basis. It is a most crucial step and I find it to be a very difficult one. Since here we deal with repairing our relations with others which is usually most difficult for us. But the more difficult it is the more rewarding it is as we can see by the promises of step nine

Those promises are written on pages 83-84. They are promises of healing our spiritual malady. Remember what the big book says: "When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically." The spiritual malady is described by the bedevilments on page 52. Just to see the healing, let us write each bedevilment with the appropriate healing promise under it:

1. Bedevilment: We were having trouble with personal relationships. Promise: We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away.

2. Bedevilment: We couldn't control our emotional natures. Promise: We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

3. Bedevilment: We were a prey to misery and depression. Promise: Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

4. Bedevilment: We couldn't make a living. Promise: Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

5. Bedevilment: We had a feeling of uselessness. Promise: That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

6. Bedevilment: We were full of fear. Promise: We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

7. Bedevilment: We were unhappy. Promise: We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

8. Bedevilment: We couldn't seem to be of real help to other people. Promise: No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

MORE PROMISES:

9. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development we will be amazed before we are halfway through.

10. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

11. They will always materialize if we work for them.

As you can see, step nine is the last step that helps us overcome our wreckage of the past. If we do it seriously the promises begin to materialize even before we are halfway through. And we enter the daily recovery phase.

If there are still some amends that we are not willing to make we pray for willingness every day and many times a day.

Remember that not completing the amends means that our spiritual illness is not treated. The Big Book tells us explicitly that half measures availed us NOTHING. This means among other things that we cannot recover unless we make all the possible amends to everyone on our list, and this includes amends that we are unwilling to make.

A lot of people in this program relapse repeatedly because they have not completed their amends. Only completing all the amends gives us complete freedom from our illness on a daily basis.


ASSIGNMENTS:

1. Begin making the amends as explained in this share and the share on step eight. Begin with the easiest amends. Remember to pray the ninth step prayer before and during the amend: "God I have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience. Please give me the strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be."

Share with us what you can about the amends that you have made.

2. Pray for willingness to make the amends that you don't want to make: "God, pleas make me willing to be willing to make amends to_______________." Pray every day, more than once a day.

3. On Page 83 it is said: "The spiritual life is not a theory. WE HAVE TO LIVE IT." What is the meaning of this sentence to you?

4. Copy the paragraphs that contain the ninth step promises on pages 83-84. Share with us which of the promises are being fulfilled for you.


PRELUDE TO STEPS 10-11. 5. Read pages 84-88. a) Which of the twelve steps comprise step ten? Copy the appropriate sentences, and write which step they imply.

b) When do we work step ten?

c) Copy the tenth step promises

d) Copy the sentences that warn us not to let up on the work, and the sentences that explain what is meant by recovery.

e) Which of the twelve steps comprise step eleven? Copy the appropriate sentences and write which step they imply.

f) When do we work step eleven?

g) Copy the prayer sentences in these pages. Remember when we turn to God, or ask God, or thank God it is a prayer.

h) Copy the sentences that describe the eleventh step meditation.

i) Copy the promise of step eleven.

j) Copy the sentences that show that working steps ten and eleven is not enough.

I invite you to ask me questions. Anything that is not clear to you about my explanations, about the assignments, maybe you would like me to enlarge on some point, or to mention points that I have not dealt with. Anything at all that is connected to our 12 step workshop. There are no stupid or trivial questions. Every question is important to our understanding of what we do, in order to do it properly. I am aware that not everything I write is clear or sufficient, and the questions will enhance our understanding and therefore are very important. When you ask questions write them in a separate e-mail to the loop. In the subject space write QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER.

Wishing us all a life full of recovery Shlomo Food addict and compulsive overeater



Questions for the Leader

QUESTION:

Thanks for your 12th step work. It has been a wonderful experience for me, trying sometimes but wonderful.

I have a question about "Do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it."

About my past, MY childhood, some of the abuse that happened, I cannot say that I would not change it.

Comment please.

ANSWER:

No one can change the past. Our program does not deal with hypothetical wishes. It is an action program that teaches us to deal with our reality. The sentence "We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it" Refers mostly to what we did. Not to what was done to us.

I did some very stupid things in the past. I made many mistakes and harmed others. By working the program I repair the damage I did to others and to myself in the past. So I get rid or remorse and shame. I don't regret the past and don't wish to forget it because working the program Gave my past a different meaning for me. This is said in another sentence of the promises: "No matter how far down the scale we have gone our experience can benefit others" Now the past is useful to us as experience that enables me to help others, and thus get out of my self centeredness and be 'more happy joyous and free.'

Now a word about what was done to us like abuse , or other painful things like illness, accidents, desertion, rejection, death of loved ones etc... There are a lot of things in this world that cause us pain. I suffered most of my life because of the pain that I could not forget or accept. Working the program taught me that pain is part of living but suffering is the result of my attitude.

For example suppose I am involved in a car accident , am injured and as a result am confined to a wheelchair.
For life.
There is a lot of pain involved. I can feel sorry for myself, blame God and envy others and live the rest of my life suffering from my handicap, and manipulate others emotionally using "poor me" as a tool.

Or I can have another attitude and see how I can grow and develop from this painful experience. One of the presidents of the United States was confined to a wheel chair. There are Olympic athletes that are confined to wheelchairs. Look at Hawkins the physicist and what he achieved with such a crippled body.

I can help other handicapped persons. I can work, I can study, I can look on it as a challenge and not as a problem. With the program and H.P at my side I don't have to suffer. I can use any painfully past or present experience as a growth tool and be happy joyous and free today no matter what.

If I suffered abuse as a child I can use this experience to help others and feel better about myself. It is all in our attitude towards what happens to us and what we do about it. We are blessed to have our program and H.P at our side to help us get rid of suffering and feel good about ourselves no matter what. It works if we work it and it doesn't if we don't.

Shlomo



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