WTS ~ WORKING THE STEPS

2009

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



I am still totally convinced God has a sense of humor. That has not changed from last week! Other things have though! One suggestion I was sent was very helpful to me personally. The person asked if we could use the table to assess our harms to others.

So, that is what I did for my own step nine.. But before I do that, I want to share this reading with you. Even though my step nine might sound a little harsh in the first column, that is not the tone I am approaching it from. I deeply realize I did the best I could or was willing to do all those years. It took all of that to get me here. So I share this reading regarding Higher Power and love of self before sharing how I need to take more responsibility for my life today on an ever deeper level. My primary purpose is to abstain from compulsive eating and that is the beginning of true love of self and then love of others.

All is Well...You are Light

Be so very patient with yourself today.
All is well in every aspect of your existence.
Clothe yourself with gentleness regarding
your "flaws" and "character defects".
They are part and parcel of your evolving
and need not be judged harshly.
Rest in the truth of your goodness and beauty.
Be not dismayed by anyone or anything.
All of Life supports and befriends you.
You are never alone.
Nor do you labor alone.
Someone is forever watchful
toward your comings and goings.
Someone who only loves,
never judges.
Rest and be renewed in Love.
See yourself as the Light
that you are.
I am glorified in you!!

Here is my table for step nine today. It is not complete, just a sample, in case it will be helpful to anyone else. As always it is important to protect the anonymity of others by not listing their names.

Person harmed

 PHYSICAL 

                    

 MENTAL

 EMOTIONAL

 SPIRITUAL

Linda – I harmed myself this way but I also put these expectations and beliefs on my children, coworkers, friends, and a spouse. I especially added to some of their stress by emotionally distancing over the slightest infraction. I have a specific list.

By pushing myself to work more hours for employers, family, and other entities than was reasonable.

 Allowed others to over-influence my thoughts and thinking intelligence was more important than love and relationships--being right and smart in other words!

 Accepting more emotional abuse and even abusing myself long after abusers had stopped

 Believing my dear sick parents were the last word on spirituality even though they were avowed atheists. Refusing to allow anyone to love me once I became disappointed in childhood.

Again, I expected this of myself and others as well. I used them to do the impossible sometimes. I shared many of my negative thoughts as well, venting my frustrations on others who cared about me. Sometimes I shut others down emotionally and would not listen to them. Many times I pretended to be spiritual and yet I wasn’t even praying for those around me or myself either. My children especially are affected by my addictive role model.

 Lifting and doing other physical labor that was beyond my capacity and injured me.

 Negative thinking

 Allowing myself to stuff emotions with food and activity to distract me from my grief and pain

 Trying to keep God in a box instead of putting prayers in a God box!

I have pushed myself unmercifully all my life trying to “BE” someone extra special so I had the right to exist. I often neglected my mental health and spiritual issues causing them to worsen and make me hard to be around. Eating all the while. Just trying to pretend once again that there was no solution to my misery so I could keep on using.

 Always in a hurry to people please and then being accident prone (once a car even ran over me because I was too busy to put it in park)

 Untreated depression and PTSD

 Neglecting to encourage myself and to allow myself to be nurtured and loved and supported.

Believing human beings were an adequate representation of God instead of going within myself and trusting my truth.

I have refused to really live. I have allowed bitterness and disappointment to limit me spiritually and by that same token I have limited what I could have contributed to those I loved around me. I have acted as if the material world was all there was even though pretending to have faith. This affected my children but also friends and spouses and coworkers.

 Put off medical care

 Too little stimulation and development of talents and gifts and learning.

 Very little development of my artistic side which is a large part of my God given personality.

 Believing in cultures and manmade society and man-created communities more than the aliveness and truths of nature and spirituality.

I have been so angry and unforgiving to myself despite knowing my background was pretty rough. I have blamed God and even though I have not voiced this out loud I believe my life itself reflects this negative belief and it affects those around me. I have to add to my list of those I have harmed in this way as I become more aware of this very subtle issue.. I have been very passive and modeled this to my children. I had the mistaken belief that passiveness was spiritual. Now I know it was childish and irresponsible.

 Not enough sleep

 Living in fantasy and escape thinking

 Being dishonest when scared and angry and sad and hurt. Denying it so no one knew where my boundaries were.

 Believing God was wrong for giving us free will--that he/she should have drawn the line somewhere! (Especially before I was harmed!)

Sitting and stewing has been a big issue for me. I was told that “figuring it out” was not a tool! I need to act.

This is more in the realm of living amends to self and others. I have not been fair to others when I have been silent and resentful. I owe them an adult response not childish silence.

 too much sedentary time

 entertaining pity parties

 Being silent when I needed to stand up for myself

 Trying to seek the God of intellect rather than opening up to the Spirit of God within me and without. The force of the universe.

Again more living amends. But I also have led a life of self indulgence with the food. Even though I am making progress now there have been years of this fruitless kind of living. Control issues alone, shutting people out of my life for the slightest harm done to me instead of talking to them about it. I have a list of the people I have done this to.

 overeating/binging

 Hanging on to resentment and thoughts of worthlessness

 Allowing fear to paralyze me and keep me from enjoying life.

 Believing so little! Trying to make my world small enough to control it!

Defiance. I was going to hold out and “insist” the world meet my expectations. I was not going to try and fit in to this imperfect world. Very sick thinking and living. This affected every relationship I have ever had. If not directly then indirectly.

 large weight gains

 thoughts of low self esteem even when I had assets I was very aware of.

 Keeping up walls to avoid being abandoned or betrayed or hurt in any way

 Expecting far too much perfection in an imperfect world.

Excuses. Everyone else does it. I was very hard to live with and I always thought I was such a nice person. But my addictive self was not at all pleasant to be around and much of the time it had to be very confusing. I have blamed religious people for these very attitudes. Judging. At a minimum, this is a living amends that non-judging has to be fully embraced.

 eating foods that were harmful to me

 all or nothing, black and white thinking, always thinking in extremes and drama

 Took life way too seriously and did not cultivate the enjoyment of humor and fun.

 More interested in criticizing than being part of a spiritual solution.



So here's how I feel. My addictive self is exactly what I no longer want to be--selfish, self centered, resentful, fearful things aren't going to go my way, and fighting reality every step of the way. My Higher Self is awesome and I can only live out of my Higher Self when I open up to my Higher Power and stay free from addictive substances and behaviors. I know this change will be ongoing and take a lifetime and that's fine with me because I have all of you to journey with!!

On to some really good reading about making direct amends--be sure and work closely with your sponsor on all amends. This is one more area where "ALONE" does not work well!

Assignments:

AA BB page 82- mid 84 ending with the promises

AA 12x12 - Summary on step nine page 7

Step 9 page 83-87

OA 12x12

Step nine page 75-81

Questions for response:

1. How have you been like a tornado in the lives of others - or does some other natural disaster describe you better?

2. Having made it this far, how many of the promises are you experiencing so far?

AA 12x12

1. What could be important about timing when doing an amends?

2. According to page 83, when do amends begin?

3. According to page 87 what is the spirit of step nine?

OA 12x12

1. According to page 76, what is the purpose of step nine?

2. Why is it important to keep our apologies as simply worded as possible?

3. What are some of the living amends you have already been making to yourself and those close to you?

4. Write an amends letter to yourself and begin to practice living amends based on your letter.

5. Share any amends experiences with the group you would like to share.

6. Consider this statement from page 81: We no longer need the crutch of excess food because we have discovered a way of life which nourishes us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Has this sentence become a little more true for you? In what ways?

Optional visual journaling assignment:

Draw, write a poem, or create a word picture of the promises on page 83-84 of the AA BB.

Thank you for letting me share my experience, strength, and hope with you. We are all together now, and together we can do what we could never do alone!

Many blessings of peace to each of you!

With even more surrender,

Linda E. (AKA Linda S) :)



 
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