Step Nine

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

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Hi everyone
My name is Shlomo
I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.
As you all know the next step after eight is nine.

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

This step is discussed in pages 76-84 in the big book and pages 83-87 in the A.A 12&12.
We already 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 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 discuss 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.
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 a 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 wWrong 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 personally 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 read a comparison table with the step nine promises at the following link:

As you can see, step nine is the last step that helps us overcome our reckage 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 that we can make 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.

What about making amends to ourselves?
Working the steps and reaching recovery is the best amends we can make to ourselves.

Question to the Leader
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.

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 of 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 who 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 painful 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.

1. Read steps 8 and 9 in the AA 12&12 mark and copy the sentences that give you new information.

2. Talk with your sponsor and begin making the amends as explained in this share and the share on step eight. Begin with the easiest amends and continue with the other amends on your lists.

3. Pray for willingness to make the amends that you don't want to make

4. 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?

5. 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.

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

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

g) Copy the promise of step ten.

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

i) Read steps 10 and 11 in the AA12&12. Mark and copy the sentences that give you new information.

I invite you to send me comments and questions to:


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