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

My name is Shlomo I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop

ASSIGNMENT 1 Read pages 76-84 about step nine in the Big Book. Copy the sentences that speak to you and the sentences that give you new information. Reflect and share with us.

ASSIGNMENT 2: Read the chapter on step nine pages 83-87 in the AA 12&12 . Copy the sentences that speak to you and the sentences that give you new information. Reflect and share with us.

When we have our step eight list and begin to pray for willingness we immediately begin step nine.

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

The Big Book gives general directions on making amends in the wording of step nine. DIRECT means that amends should be made FACE TO FACE. WHEREVER means anyplace, anywhere anytime of day or night as agreed between you and the other person. That means I have to meet the other person face to face where and when He/she can meet me and repair the damage I did in the past. I don't make direct amends only if to do so, would harm the person I have to make amends to, or if it would harm others. In such cases I recommend to talk with your sponsor and check if it is possible to make indirect amends in some way.

Others DOES NOT INCLUDE ME. The Big Book is very explicit about it. "Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any length to find a Spiritual experience, we ask that we be given the strength and direction to Do the right thing, NO MATTER WHAT THE PERSONAL CONSEQUENCES MAY BE." page 79

We also see that the Big Book directs us to pray before making the amend. Example: God please give me the strength and direction to do the right thing no matter what the personal consequences may be.

The matter of not harming others by our amends is very serious. Making amends is not always a simple matter. There are situations in which we may cause additional harm by trying to make amends or we may even cause worse harm. Therefore I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that before we make any amends we talk with our sponsor and check to see if the amends I have in mind are according to the directions in the Big Book, and if I will not cause additional damage and harm by those amends to the person I plan to amend or to others.

Now let us mention some specific examples that are mentioned in the Big Book Persons we dislike or hate who may have done more harm to us than we to them. We DON'T wait till we like them or forgive them. We make amends for our part no matter how small it is compared to theirs. We don't deal with or mention their part at all.

People we owe money to. We meet them and make an arrangement to pay it back. If we can't pay it all at once we make an arrangement to pay back in Installments.

When we are married and had relations with another woman or man. If the wife/husband does not know, we shouldn't always tell. It depends on the damage we may cause to our partner or to the children. This is clearly a situation where talking with the sponsor is a must. If we can't tell does it mean that we don't make amends at all? NO!!! We can't make direct amends but we can change our behavior and stop playing around. This is called in the Fellowships LIVING AMENDS. "Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead,… So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance kindliness and love." "…our behavior will convince them more than our words." page 83. So we turn to God and try to live up to our ideals of intimate relationships and other relations.

If our partner does know, we make direct amends. We don't involve the third party and don't give any details about that other person. "…we have no right to involve the other person. We are sorry for what we have done and God willing, it shall not be repeated. More than that we cannot do; we have no right to go further." page 81

The Big Book doesn't consider divorce or ending the relationship with our significant other. But sometimes this is the right way to stop harming each other. We should consider this too.

If we cannot meet the other person face to face because he does not agree to meet us or he lives in a different country and there are valid reasons that make it impossible for us to meet. Then as second choice we talk over the phone. If even this cannot be done we write a letter.

Sometimes we don't know where the other person is. Maybe she/he changed her /his name or moved to another address or country and we don't know his whereabouts. Then the name remains on the list and we do everything we can to find that person. If we still don't find him than we cannot do the amends. "There may be some wrongs we may never fully right. We don't worry about them if we can honestly say to ourselves that we would right them if we could" page 83.

How do we make amends to people who are dead? We can't. Those belong to the category of some wrongs we may never fully right. There are sometimes partial amends that we can do. If we owe them money may be we could return it to their heirs, or to some charity. We can also perform some symbolic acts that from personal experience may be of some help to us. Like apologizing to them on their graves. Or writing a letter to them and symbolically giving it to God.

How about amends to institutions? Those are usually cases of stealing or borrowing, and not returning debts. So we make direct amends and return the money or objects. If it is not possible to return money because the institute cannot take it back, then from personal experience it is best to donate it to a charity or some volunteer organization that helps people.

What do we say when we make amends and what do we avoid saying? "We go to him in a helpful and forgiving spirit, confessing our former ill feelings and expressing our regret." page 77. The big book tells us that we express our regret but it does not say that we ask for forgiveness. So we don't ask for forgiveness. I think the reason is simple. The other person does not have to forgive us. We should not expect or ask for anything of this kind. This is his decision. We deal only with our part and don't throw obligations his way. We explain that we are in a twelve step spiritual program, only if the other person understands and is in favor of a spiritual way of life.

What about mentioning what the other person did to us, that may be far worse than what we did to him? "Under no condition do we criticize such a person or argue…We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing that nothing worth while can be accomplished until we do so, never trying to tell him what he should do. His faults are not discussed. We stick to our own." page 77 How should we behave generally? "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. " page 83

What about the behavior of the other person? His behavior is his business not ours. "It should not matter, however, if someone does throw us out of his office. We have made our demonstration, done our part. It's water over the dam". page 78.


1. Go over your step four lists of harm done to others by sexual conduct and by general conduct. Try to remember people you have harmed that are not on the lists. and people you have harmed after writing the lists. Give yourself some time to sit quietly and if any names come up add them to the lists as in step four and share with your sponsor as in step five.

2. Read pages 76-83 carefully. Mark and copy the sentences that tell you the following: a) What is the real purpose of making amends?

b) There is a saying 'Don't take another person's inventory'. Copy the sentences that validate that saying.

c) Copy the sentences that validate that personal consequences to us don't generally count. And copy the sentences that show when the personal consequences do count and what we should do then.

d) Copy the sentences that tell us about living amends.

3. Go over your lists of harm done to others by sexual conduct and general conduct. Copy the names of the persons to a new eight step list, which will consist of five lists. Each list will have three columns and three names to a page. a) People That I find it easy to make amends to and I am willing to make the amends as soon as possible.

b) People that I find it more difficult to make amends to but I am willing to make amends to them.

c) People that I am not willing to make amends to.

d) People that I can't make amends to because it will cause harm to them or others or because they are dead or because I don't know where they are.

e) Institutions that I have to make amends to.

3. In the second column of each list write very briefly the harm you caused to each person on the list

4. In the third column of each list write the amends that should be made and how you plan to make them. If you are not willing to make them then write that you are not willing to make them. If you can, share an example from each list with us.

6. Contact your sponsor as soon as possible and meet him or talk with him on the phone. Discus with him what you have written for each person on the lists. Make sure that you are not going to cause harm to other persons by the proposed amends. Discuss with your sponsor the amends you are not willing to make and your reasons.

7. Pray to H.P. every day to help you be willing to make the amends that you don't want to make

8. begin making amends to the people on your five lists beginning with the easiest one and gradually continuing to the more difficult ones, and ending with the list you don't want to amend. From personal experience and from working with others I can tall you that when you do it gradually as suggested here you will find yourself making amend to the ones you thought you will never make amends to.

9. Read the step nine promises on pages 83-84, and then read the bedevilments on page 52( "We were having trouble...of course it was". Big Book fourth edition.") The bedevilments express the spiritual malady and the step nine promises express the recovery from the spiritual malady . Read the attachment that presents one vs. another. If you began making amend, share with us the promises that begin being fulfilled in your life.

You are invited to comment and ask me questions. on the subject line write QUESTION TO THE LEADER. Send your questions and comments to me at:

Send your answers to the assignments to the loop at: . Have a nice day


Step One
Step Two
Step Three
Step Four-part one
Step Four-part two
Step Four-part three
Step Four-part four
Step Four-part five
Step Five
Step Six
Step Seven
Step Eight
Step Nine

WTS Home
The Twelve Steps
Recovery Home

© Copyright 1995 ~ 2017 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved