Step Nine

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







Part 1
Part 2

Leader's Share and Step Questions


Greetings to all my dear friends in recovery. My Higher Power has been working overtime in my life and in my recovery these past several weeks. When we put the food down, and do the work of the steps, we reap incredible benefits. I pray for each person reading this e-mail today, that you will experience freedom and joy in recovery.

This week we are looking at Step 9. Made direct amends to such people (those on our step 8 list) wherever possible, except when to do so would injure the or others. The principle behind this step is Discipline.

Discipline: practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.

I read through the OA 12 and 12, Step 9 chapter, as well as the AA Big Book, paragraph 3 on page 76 through the promises on page 84, and I did not really see the connection between this step and the word "discipline" as defined above. Our program is not a punishing program, and my personal Higher Power does not use punishment to correct me either. I do wee where I am being trained by the steps to do the next right thing and to live by a certain code of behavior. I see how Step 9 contributes to this training. Discipline is understood to be synonamous with restraint and self-control. I believe these are played out in this step as we are restrained from bringing up the wrongs of others, and we exhibit self-control going forward so that we don't repeat the offending behavior.

Since we are more than half-way through this quarter, I thought it would be a good time to review. Steps 1 and 2 are conclusions of the mind. Lack of power is our problem. We are powerless and need power. (Honesty and Hope) Step 3 is a decision to find that power through the working of the steps (Faith) Steps 4, 5, 6, and 7 unblock our character defects and allow us access to this higher Power. We rehabilitate our relationship with our true self. We come into a right relationship with our self. (Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility) Steps 8 and 9 is where we learn to live in harmony with our fellow human beings. (Brotherly Love, Discipline)

In Step 9, we make amends by acknowledging the harm we have done, taking responsibility, and cleaning it up by repairing the damage. Doing this will help us get rif of remorse, fear, shame and guilt that has blocked us from our higher selves, other people, and God. Page 76 is step 8. Sweep away the debris on our side of the street. Make amends. Go directly to these people and clean up the past. Importantly, we do this step after steps 1 through 8. We don't jump into try to make amends right after we surrender in step 1. At the end of step 9, we find the Promises (page 83). Please note the words "phase of our development." We need the process of steps 1 through 8. We are building on the solid foundation of the steps in order to remain abstinent.

Before making any amends, please consider the instruction on page 83 where it says that we ask each morning in meditation to be shown the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love. These characteristics will help us to make the amends the way God wants them done versus how we think they should be done.

I found some very practical advise on how to make amends on pages 76 through page 84. Here are five points on how to make a proper amends.

1. We want to make a specific statement of offending behavior. (Page 77) We are not vague about our amends. Remember that the purpose of making amends is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and to others. We announce our convictions with tact and common sense. What was the harm done? We state it specifically, not generically. Also, importantly, while we are stating our specific offending behavior we are careful to not find or point out faults in others. This is not about what they did, only about what we did. Examples of specificity might be, "I apologize for being verbally abusive to you, for withholding my affections, for not paying you back, for not inviting you to my home," etc.

2. We acknowledge that what we did was harmful. Page 77 says, "The man is sure to be impressed with the sincere desire to right the wrong." Page 81 says that we are sorry for what we have done. Page 83 instructs us that a remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won’t fit the bill at all. You can say something like, "I acknowledge that I hurt you by my actions."

3. There is an assumption of responsibility for our behavior and the harm done. Acknowledge harm, take responsibility and clean it up, repairing the damage.

Help get rid of remorse, fear, shame, guilt that blocked us from self, others and god.

Page 76 is step 8. Sweep away the debris on our side of the street. Make amends. Go directly to these people and clean up the past. Page 83. Going backwards. The promises.

Do this step in order, not after step 1. Phase of development. We need the process of steps 1-8. {hases of recovery compared with phases of development of people --infancy, toddler, childhood, adolescence, adult.

Building on the solid foundation of the steps to remain abstinent. The promises come to those people working the steps while they are abstinent.

Prayers page 79. Page 83. Asked every morning to show patience, tolerance, kindness, love. These principles will help us to make the amends the way god wants them done vs. how we think they should be done.

Page 76-84. Five points and how to make a proper amends. Make an apology that conveys the principles we are doing be shown here, to correct the harm.

1. We want to make a specific statement of offending behavior. Page 77. Not vague about our amends. Purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to god and others. Announce our convictions with tact and common sense. What was the harm done. Specific. Not generic. P. 77 do not find faults in others. Not about what they did. Only about what I did. I want to apologize for being verbally abusive to you, for not inviting you to things, for withholding affections, for not paying you back.

2. Acknowledgment that it was harmful. Page 77 the man is sure to be impressed with the sincere desire to right the wrong. Page 81 we are sorry for what we have done. P 83 remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won’t fit the bill at all. I acknowledge that I hurt you by my actions.

3. We make an assumption of responsibility for behavior and harm done. Pate 78 says we look resolutely at our faults. We sweep our side of the street. It is helpful to look at where we have been selfish, inconsiderate, self-seeking and/or fearful. You might want to say something like, "I acknowledge and accept the responsibility for my being inconsiderate. It was inconsiderate of me to not include you in our family plans."

4. We make an admission of regret. We have remorse or deep moral anguish that needs to be conveyed through our emotions. If you do not yet feel such remorse, please go to your sponsor to discuss whatever specific person or situation you feel you need to make an amends for but that you don't truly feel sorry for.

5. Lastly, we make a commitment to not repeat the behavior, and if necessary to make restitution. (Page 81.) We are sorry for what we have done, and, God willing, it shall not be repeated. God will give us the strength and direction to not repeat the behavior. Financial restitution means paying back the money. I definitely see humility being played out in this step.

If you go through these 5 points with each amends you and your sponsor agree you need to make, the promises found on page 83 and 84 will be a checkmark to know if the amends were made correctly. They will be an indicator. If they are not true for you, you may want to review your amends. We are assured that these promises come true for those who work this program. Sometimes they come true slowly, sometimes quickly, but they do come true.

Please read Step 9 in the OA 12 and 12, as well as paragraph 3 on page 76 of the AA Big Book through the Promises on page 84. There is a lot of information here to help you through this intense step. Please share anything from the readings that stands out for you.

1. Why do you think the principle behind this step is "Discipline?"

2. Have you had any personal experience at this point with making amends?

3. Has anyone ever made an amends to you? If so, how did you react?

4. Here's an exercise for you (and me): Write out an amends to someone on your list. It can be big or little. Use the 5-point guide above. Share it with us or with the group before you actually share it with the intended person.

This step is so intense, especially the first time through. There's a lot to say about it, so I expect to continue with this step next week. I would never want anyone to feel rushed to get to or through this step. All proposed amends should be reviewed with your sponsor or trusted guide on this journey. I do believe, however, that our Higher Power honors all efforts to improve our relationship with Him, with ourselves and with others.

Have a blessed week in recovery. Thank you, again for this amazing opportunity to learn and grow alongside you.

Jill


Greeting in recovery! Hope everyone had a week full of serenity and progress. I decided to spend another week on Step 9, because, well, some of us have a lot of amends to make, and could use the extra time!

If you are actually on this step, I hope you took an opportunity to review your Step 8 list with your sponsor, and discuss which amends you will make first, as well as what those amends will contain. Remember step 9 says, "We made amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others." The principle behind this step is Discipline.

First, let me thank you all for helping me have a better understanding of the principle of Discipline as it relates to this step. Part of the discipline of this step is practicing a code of behavior, or making living amends. For me, this means living my life in a way that does not make me a repeat offender of the harms I have done in the past. It means living in the principles of the previous steps, and treating others with respect and honor.

While we always want to be living in a way that makes amends, there are definitely people and situations where we will want to go, in person, to the person we have harmed, and speak our amends directly to them. There are times when we won't be able to meet a person face to face, but are certainly capable of picking up the telephone to call them and read our amends to them. I've known other occasions when neither of things are possible because the person is deceased. In those cases, we may visit a site that reminds us of that person, or perhaps visit their gravesite to read or even leave our written amends. Still other cases will present themselves where we simply cannot locate the person to whom we feel we own an amends. In those cases, our sponsor can help us figure out the best course of action.

When making amends, we are told there are 4 possible ways that people will react.

1. They won't remember the harm that was done to them. It may take them by surprise that you have a disease at all, that you are in a program of recovery, and that you want to apologize to them for something they have no recollection of. That's okay. We make the amends anyway.

2. They treat us better than anticipated. My personal experiences have almost always been of this variety. My amends were all well received with understanding and acceptance.

3. Some people will refuse of restitution. I have had this happen in cases where I owed money and my debt was forgiven. I definitely appreciated this. I have read of examples where people refuse the refusal, though, and find a way to make the restitution. If you and your sponsor agree this is necessary, then just be willing to do whatever your Higher Power directs. Many creditors will make special arrangements either to pay the entire amount off over time, or will cut the owed amount, allowing you to pay less immediately in order to wipe out the debt.

4. Some people will not accept your apology. They have their own bitterness to deal with. They don't care that you are trying to make amends. They may accuse you of only trying to make yourself feel better. In these cases we simply agree to disagree. We have done our part, and are free from any further attempts at reconciliation.

Hopefully the majority of your amends experiences are beyond pleasant, and that after making your amends you feel a freedom such as you have never known before.

I do not have a specific reading assignment for you this week, but feel free to review pages 76 through 84 in the AA Big Book, remembering that the promises will come true for all who follow this incredible, divinely-inspired design for living.

1. What does living amends mean to you?

2. Have you ever had to make an amends for something that the person didn't remember?

3. Have you had experiences with amends where you were treated better than expected?

4. Has anyone ever forgiven your debt or refused your offer of restitution? How did you handle that?

5. Has anyone ever refused to forgive you or accept your apology? How did you react to that?

Thank you all for sharing your experience, strength and hope with regard to step 9 with this loop. I know some of us have done this step (more than once), some are working this step right now, and others have not yet come to this step. I hope and pray for each person here that your experiences with making amends leaves you with an extraordinary sense of relief and freedom. Have an awesome week in recovery.

Jill






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