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

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

Amends comprise both direct amends and living amends. A living amends is a change in behavior.

Step 9 looks terrifying, but both the 12 &12 describe it as freedom. By making amends you are released from the mistakes of the past. The OA 12 & 12 also prescribes caution. Amends must first do no harm to others. The community that is involved in amends includes the people you have harmed, but also those closest to you. It’s important to consider our actions carefully, a new idea for an addict. That’s why it is essential, while doing step 8, to discuss possible amends with a sponsor. It’s also important to recognize that “We cannot control how others receive our amends.” (OA 12 & 12)

“Clearing off our side of the street.” (OA 12 & 12) This is a primary idea as we move forward into recovery. What is our part in it? Even if the burden is shared, there is always a piece of it that I am responsible for. This is an aspect of my process of ongoing inventory and amends. Always, when a situation arises, I am responsible for clearing off my side of the street. What is my part in it?

“To amend something means to change it.” (OA 12 &12) Amends are completed with a willingness to change. Some will owe restitution, and must make plans to pay what is owed. (The AA 12 & 12 stresses that cleaning financial issues up, or owning financial amends to your employer should be discussed with your sponsor.) Many, however, will need to set about improving how they treat people closest to them.

What about amends that cannot be completed? Some will be set aside, with intention to make an amend should the person appear. (The AA and OA rooms are full of stories of people turning up after long absences.). Some people will have died. There are strategies for making indirect amends.

Step 9 promises

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappeare. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.” (pg. 83-84 BB)

Have you begun making amends?


Robin B

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