Topic for the week: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s much more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting in the middle of page 76. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
In Step Eight I revisited the concepts of willingness and ego-deflation! I had to acknowledge the painful adventures of the past in which my character defects manifested themselves.
Once again, I had to own up to the wreckage my self-will had caused me. It was then time to admit my faults, mistakes
and character defects not only to God, to myself, to another human being, but also to the very individuals whom I had harmed! I had to make amends for what I had done.
In the process I accepted both responsibility for, and the consequences of, my past behavior. Only in that way could I find freedom. There was no other way to put the guilt and shame of the past behind me and ensure that I would not behave that way again!
Step Nine is a painful, humbling Step…..but rewarding. The A.A.’s Twelve Promises are said to come true with the Ninth Step. The Big Book is clear on the necessity of this commitment. And I have found that the power of
this Step lies in facing the person I had wronged as well as in confronting the wrongs themselves, and in trying to correct them. The pain of this Step and the ego-deflation it brings come directly from this confrontation.
I have also found that there is no “easier, softer way” that works!
I put off making an amends to my “favorite” ex-husband for over 20 years. When I finally returned to Hawaii and made my amends, he said: “Huh?” He had long forgotten me and my bad behavior! The importance of this recollection is this: I carried around in my head, for over 20 years,
remembrances of this bad behavior and definitely put a thorn in my peace of mind – –hence it stayed in the “committee” in my head!
IT WORKS WHEN I WORK IT, and doesn’t when I don’t!!!
I look forward to your shares and experiences with Step Nine.