WTS ~ WORKING THE STEPS

2009

STEP NINE
Made a list of all persons we had harmed
and became willing to make amends to them all.



ESSAY

Contrary to Love Story, love does indeed mean having to say you’re sorry. We all make mistakes, but when we do, we need to correct the situation in some suitable way, and saying, “I’m sorry,” is one of the basics.

Some amends are easy to make, but others present difficulties. And for a good many, the best amend is to change our behavior. I can tell my wife I’m sorry about my temper blast, but she really won’t believe it until I stop blowing up – usually, over nothing, of course.

All amends should follow some serious conversation with our Higher Power, and maybe with a sponsor or other suitable person as well. We have to be in the right frame of mind, and we also have to be able to function while doing it. Fear is the enemy, and since love casts out fear, well, you get my drift.

Many amends can be made directly, and should be. Remember that the purpose of this is to clean off our side of the street. Sometimes the person we are dealing with may have done worse to us than we to them, but when we have done something “bad,” we need to make an amend for our part of it. We need to do whatever we do for our benefit, not anyone else.

Sometimes restitution may be a part of our amends. We need to pay something back. And if we cannot do that, perhaps we can pay it forward. A contribution to a charity in the name of the person might be one possibility. There will be some rare cases where we may have broken a law, and making an amend might result in our having to face that. People are usually not in a mood to prosecute, however, in the face of a serious amend. But we have to face up to the reality.

Sometimes the people to whom we feel we owe an amend are no longer around. Perhaps we do not know where they live anymore, or perhaps they are dead. Many people find that writing a letter to such persons making the amend, and then putting the letter in the God Box, or wherever seems appropriate, has to take care of the situation.

The exception allowed in the Step is “except when to do so would injure them or others.” This may require a bit of thought, prayer, and consultation. If I slept with my neighbor’s wife, I may have harmed him, her, and my own wife, but if it is over, and everybody is seemingly happy, making this amend overtly could unnecessarily destroy two good marriages! The amend would make the mistake even worse. (I am not making a confession, by the way. I’ve been quite happily married for 44 years.) :-)

Sometimes, too, we need time to come to terms with the situation , and to know what we need to do. That’s all right. While we should not procrastinate, we also have no specific time limit either. If we ask for help from our Higher Power, we will find both the right time and the right way.

Finally, remember that this is a spiritual journey. We do not need to equalize everything, we just need to find our own spiritual balance. It is good to be thorough, but it is also good to be gentle.

Love,

John

Flowers


STEP NINE QUESTIONS
Made direct amends to such persons whenever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others.


1. As you looked over your list of character defects, you will have made a list of those whom you may have harmed. This list should be thorough, but does not need to be exhaustive or perfect. Pray about the situation with each person on your list. When you have done this, you may answer “Yes” to question one.

2. Make a list of those to whom you can make direct amends right away, and prepare to do so. When you have done this, you may answer question two “Yes.”

3. Make a list of those to whom making an amend may be difficult or impossible due to their distance or demise. When you have done this, you may answer this question “Yes.”

4. Tell us how you plan to, or have done, the amends of question three.

5. Are there people with whom you believe making an amend would be very difficult for whatever reason. Try to see what your part in the situation may be, and meditate on how you might go about doing whatever seems to be needed. You may need more time to do some of these than the workshop format allows, but that is all right, as long as you make progress. If you can share anything of a dilemma you may feel you have, please do so, as your experience may well help someone else.

6. Determine whether there are any situations where to attempt to make an amend may harm someone. If such situations exist, do you think the letter/God Box format might help? Or what might you do? Again, share anything you can within reason.

Love,

John

Flowers


STEP NINE ~ MY ANSWERS
Made direct amends to such persons whenever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others.


1. Usually, the first time we do this step is when we have the longest list. Working a Step 10 regularly, and all the Steps often enough may make the lists shorter for such people. I remember my first list, which was not really so awfully long, but it had on it many people who were near and dear to me. In some cases, it took me time to complete making all these amends, but that has been done, and presently, my list is quite short. So, Yes.

2. I have no people on my list to whom I cannot make an amend right now, so Yes.

3. I made almost all of these long ago. I did use the letter, which I offered to the God of my understanding, and then destroyed the letters with appropriate ceremony – I burned them.

4. See above.

5. I have written before of how I used my wife’s money, and what I finally did about it. The Promises come true: At that time I was almost destitute, financially, out of work, etc., and very new to program. Today, I am not rich, but am better off than most people. And to this day, I think this amend had a lot to do with it, because I have no idea how in only six years, from then until I retired, I went from the pits to this pinnacle. Except to praise God. My wife agrees, just so you know. Blessing seemed to follow.

6. There was no one to whom I felt or now feel I owe an amends that would cause injury to them or others. This is not because I’m so good, you understand, as because I was too chicken to do dark deeds. The few times in my life I ever tried something, I always got caught almost at once, so I just gave up on trying to be bad.

Love,

John




 
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