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Old 01-25-2011, 04:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation {Amends} Direct and Indirect.. Step 9

.....Now I have my 8th Step list in front of me in black and white. My Sponsor helped me see which amends can be made directly. He said.. as the text says..."If it isnt practical it isnt spiritual." My list was narrowed down to a few that can be made directly. Their are two parts...I Believe..to this 9th Step.."Made direct amends to such people wherever possible"...Friends, Family, & Co-workers..etc..However...The second part of Step 9 is VERY important. "EXCEPT when to DO so would INJURE them or others"...Myself included..If I didnt have a Sponsor I would have been in serious trouble after doing my 8th Step list and moving to make amends to everyone on that list. Most of my amends would have hurt the people more by opening old wounds and Ive learned .."We do not have the right to......endanger another person." "Indirect amends may be necessary where direct ones would be unsafe or endanger other people." [Basic Text page 39,40 Step 9]. This Step is for me, but if its going to hurt others the best amends would be indirect. One way to make indirect amends would be to continue on the road to recovery and to not repeat the behavior on my list. Forgiveness and Courage are some Principles to be practice in this Step..Im learning and have come a long way from smoking crack in strange places to seeking help from God and others on "The Path"..This is a lifetime process so I need to easy does it..But do it....Im ready for Step 10 Peter F.
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Old 01-25-2011, 05:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Awesome

Your doing the deal! Have a great day!
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I am moving on to step 9 soon, and I am wondering (I am sure my sponsor will cover) what we do when the people we harmed do not know we harmed them! Do we just say "Hey, sorry I called you a fatty McFatterson behind your back for 8 years" or "Oh, by the way, I slept with your boyfriend-- sorry about that!" that just doesn't seem right to me...
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Onewithwings View Post
what we do when the people we harmed do not know we harmed them! .... I slept with your boyfriend-- sorry about that!" that just doesn't seem right to me...
Wrestling with this myself. Not calling this the correct answer (would love to hear what others think) but I look at it like this, that such an amend would be a clearing of my conscience at the expense of someone else...Sort of trading my hurt for another's.

Just my thought...
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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... Not calling this the correct answer (would love to hear what others think) but I look at it like this, that such an amend would be a clearing of my conscience at the expense of someone else...Sort of trading my hurt for another's.
IMO, that's exactly what it would be.

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...and I am wondering (I am sure my sponsor will cover) what we do when the people we harmed do not know we harmed them! Do we just say "Hey, sorry I called you a fatty McFatterson behind your back for 8 years" or "Oh, by the way, I slept with your boyfriend-- sorry about that!" that just doesn't seem right to me...
What comes to mind here is how it talks about (in our literature) how we could be in a meeting - listening to someone share - and judging them harshly. It states that we shouldn't go up to them and divulge what we were thinking, but we should make a conscious effort to change our behavior.

Step 9 (in IWH&W) tells us:

"Suppose that, in our Fourth Step, we wrote about people we had secretly resented for years. Unbeknownst to those people, we had ridiculed, judged, and condemned them or otherwise defamed their character to others. Because all that character assassination was taking place behind those people's backs, do we now go to them and confess? Certainly not!"

IMO, this would apply to most (if not all) harm that people aren't aware of. To bring about this awareness would cause more harm, and that's not what Step 9 is about.

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Old 01-25-2011, 07:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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would that apply to financial amends as well? I wouldn't think so. If someone stole money from me without my knowing it, I would still want it back!
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Any financial amends it was inappropriate for me to make directly....I made indirectly by paying it forward into the fellowship. ...with only me, god and my sponsor knowing what for. I did it like this;

bought books for newcomers
bought raffle tickets at NA functions or conventions
made newcomer donations
put extra in the basket

Peace,
Missy
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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how do you know when a financial amends is inappropriate to make directly?
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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how do you know when a financial amends is inappropriate to make directly?
The purpose of making amends to others is to heal our Spirit, to clear our conscience, to dump any baggage from the past that we are still carrying. We do this for ourselves. Often the other person doesn't even remember an incident that we make amends for. Sometimes the other person is hateful and bitter still. We can still make amends for our side of the street, even if they are not owning their side of the street. We are not making the amends so that we can all make up and be friends, although that is certainly possible sometimes we are making them to free us from the past, we are doing them as a Loving thing to do for our self. We do not have the power to get others to do what we want them to, so we need to focus on what we do have the power to change. We can shine the Light of Love and consciousness into any dark corners within so that we can stop giving power to the past.

Making amends for the ways in which our behavior has hurt others is part of the process of healing self. And making amends is much more than saying "I'm sorry." Making amends is about changing the dysfunctional behavior patterns. Making amends is about doing what it takes to stop empowering the dysfunctional attitudes and black and white thinking so that we can change the behaviors. It is about becoming willing to face the terror of healing our emotional wounds, so that we can stop reacting and hurting other people and our self with our behavior.

Here is one of my many experience of making financial amends. I avoided many of my area convenient stores. At the end of my addition the choice between drugging or buying something to eat was simple. I would buy the drugs. Unfortunately I stole food from the convenient stores in my neighborhood to eat. I now live in a different neighborhood. In early recovery, I still had the guilt of my wrongdoings and I avoided these convenient stores like the plague.

When I started on my 9th and started making my amends. My sponsor suggested that I should go back to each store with a logical estimate how much I owed them. Shop for the items I stole, pay for them, leave what I paid for on the counter, tell who ever is behind the counter that you are ‘Sorry’ and am here to make my amends, take your receipt and walk out the store. I look at my sponsor like he was completely nuts. He look right back at me and said. (and I quote) When you relapse don’t come back crying to me (end quote). I actually miss going to those convenient stores. Now I can drive by them and stop and buy a cup of coffee with out feeling guilty for my wrongdoings. To live in the now, I have to be willing to say am sorry and make financial amends to my past.

TB
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hmm, I owe about $1500 to one though, in stolen food, cash, lotto tickets, tobacco, and alcohol. How do I make that up?
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:02 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Arrow We Now ..More Than Ever..Need The Guidance Of Our Sponsors..

Most of my amends like owing money to a grocery store was on my 8th Step list because I was 'Willing' to make restitution. However, just because its on my list doesnt necessarily mean I make direct amends. The Basic text says.."Inderect amends may be necessary where direct ones would be unsafe" (Step 9) We need to remember "EXCEPT"when to do so would injure them or others...Ourselves included. My sponsor and I thought it would be better making indirect amends. The store is still there but this was 20 years ago. Are the owners the same people I stole from? How would it look if I went into the store and said... "Your on my 8 Step list so here is my $200 dollars I owe you..." If it isnt practical it isnt Spiritual. I think that the cashier would probably put it in his/her pocket anyway. Like Missy shared their are ways of paying back what was stolen one day at a time. One way is by 'NOT' Repeating that behavior. Steps 1-8 prepare me for this Step. Sponsorship is very important here....Thanks for all the comments above..Clean
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:23 AM   #12 (permalink)
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How are all of you defining harm to yourselves? I'm very curious because I was not guided to avoid amends that might bring me harm unless it would directly or indirectly harm others as well (for example: if I were to go to jail as the result of amends, my children would suffer, so those amends may need to be done indirectly).

As far as making financial restitution, it can be done anonymously with a letter and a money order. If the owner at the time of the theft is uncertain, a public records search can settle that. Easy? No, but do we scratch it off the list because it's not easy? One of my sponsees made financial restitution in this way when the threat of jail was imminent if she came forward directly and she was in the process of trying to make a stable home for two teenagers who'd suffered greatly as the result of her addiction. But she made them--a $25 money order at a time.

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Old 01-26-2011, 01:57 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Step Nine

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

This step should not be avoided. If we do, we are reserving a place in our program for relapse. Pride, fear and procrastination often seem an inpossible barrier; they stand in the way of progress and growth. The important thing is to take ACTION and to be ready to accept the reaction of those persons we have harmed.
Step 9 is also one of the most difficult to actually do. It's one thing to make a list of the people we've hurt as we did in Step 8 – but quite another to go to those people in person or in writing, and actually admit what we've done and work to make it right – with an apology and, if warranted, restitution.

It should be our intention to resolve the disturbances that we encounter. This act of restoration will eliminate our regretful feelings. The faults of our past are now brought to light for the healing process to take place. No longer does shame and guilt have to inhibit our forward growth.

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Old 01-26-2011, 03:00 PM   #14 (permalink)
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would that apply to financial amends as well? I wouldn't think so. If someone stole money from me without my knowing it, I would still want it back!
Step 9 - We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

I put emphasis on "wherever possible" and "or others" to make a couple of points.

In a case where money has been stolen and the victim of this harm is unaware of who stole it, for me, there are questions that arise: [1] Would it cause more harm to admit to the theft? [2] Would old wounds get reopened? [3] Would an admittance to this crime bring about criminal charges? As Sugah mentioned, we need to take into account the results of a direct amends, not avoid them because to do so would create discomfort, but thoroughly and honestly examine the potential to do more harm than good.

There are times when a direct amends just isn't possible without bringing harm to "others," including oneself. Step 9, IMO, isn't about being foolhardy and this is why sponsorship is so important. Sure...we want to correct our wrongs and make compensation for injury or loss, but if I can barely pay the mortgage, feed the kids, pay the medical bills or keep the lights on, is it really "possible" for me to pay financial restitution without consequence?

But here's the hit - there is no set time frame for direct amends. "Wherever possible" is not a date set in stone, and as long as there is a willingness to make amends, the opportunity to do so (without causing harm to others) will present itself. In the meantime, we can make indirect amends many ways, but certainly by NOT repeating the behavior.

Quote:
Hmm, I owe about $1500 to one though, in stolen food, cash, lotto tickets, tobacco, and alcohol. How do I make that up?
[1] Stay clean. [2] Stop stealing food, cash, lotto tickets, tobacco and alcohol. Don't steal ANYTHING. [3] Seek guidance from your HP and your sponsor. That's a start.


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Old 01-26-2011, 04:28 PM   #15 (permalink)
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how do you know when a financial amends is inappropriate to make directly?
You and your sponsor can discuss this. An example of one of my amends that was "not appropiate" to make directly: I shoplifted some petty stuff from several pet stores. When I mean several...I mean all over an entire midstate region and I was high enough not to remember exactly which stores. In my quest to produce the drugs I was using, I went all over the state collecting/purchasing materials. During these traveling times I would "treat" myself by going into pet stores and getting something I wanted to spoil my little dog or cat. Sometimes I paid for it and sometimes I didn't.

Not knowing exactly which stores I took something from I couldn't make direct ammends in an appropriate way. When I didn't pay for something it was valued (a guess) at $15 or less dollars. My sponsor and I concluded this that legally this is considered "petty". However, I was stressed with the guilt and shame and responsible for what I calculated to be a total of close to $450! 30 stores X $15 =$450. (estimated)

My sponsor suggested that I could contact the Corporate office of some of the big commercial ones and ask what their favorite charity to donate to is...and send a donation.

Since doing some homework I have learned they want me to give to my local animal shelter. I found an opportunity to do so at the county fair anonymously....put $30 into their collection box. I will be continuing to make donations in that amount until I reach my goal of repaying $450

There were other petty shoplifting incidents that would not put me in jail...but collectively adds up to a significant number to be responsible for. I am not even sure which stores they were due to I always bought something and didn't always take something. My sponsor thinks its ok to pay it forward to the fellowship with each donation representing my own conscious effort to make restitution.

In cases where I know for sure what and who I owed, I made direct amends.

One of the most time consuming and had alot of footwork put in was for me to clear up my own credit score. I have gone from 0 credit to 755 since spending a good deal of time clearing off my credit report these last few years since I have been clean. I had some stuff on there from almost 20 years ago that needed removed...and it took some effort to do that! It didn't take money to do that foot work...but it did get me a loan for a vehicle (that I have since paid off!)

This has been a great thread! I hope we have helped.

Peace,
Missy
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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[1] Stay clean. [2] Stop stealing food, cash, lotto tickets, tobacco and alcohol. Don't steal ANYTHING. [3] Seek guidance from your HP and your sponsor.

This says a great deal!

I have some peace and serenity now that I'm staying clean AND I don't steal anymore.

Missy
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:12 PM   #17 (permalink)
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My sister was sober for 7 years when she was murdered 3 years ago. She never did her amends to me, even though she had written the amends out with her sponsor. She had some big amends to make to me, and apparently she dreaded making them. Looking back, I am so very sad about this. I wondered for years, while she was still alive, when she would make her amends to me, but years after she had made amends to everyone else, she still hadn't made them to me. I was confused and very hurt about this, and wondered if I had somehow missed the amends, as if they were something subtle. She even told her sponsor she had made her amends to me, but she hadn't. They were too big, and she needed to admit to things she didn't want to. She and I both knew the truth, and I waited to hear it from her, and I knew when she finally made amends with me, she would have to tell me the truth. I loved her so much and was so relieved that she was sober, but by not making amends with me, there was a barrier blocking our relationship and we never got past it. She needed to live in her truth, and for some reason she couldn't. Tragically, she was murdered 3 years ago, before she could make her amends to me. I wish I had pressed her to just make them, but I figured that she would, in her own time. But her time ran out. Her sponsor recently told me the amend at the top of her list, and it was like a weight was lifted off of me. I always knew this, but I was relieved to hear that my sister had admitted it. I feel released, yet I am deeply saddened that my sister wasn't able to make her own amends to me, and that I wasn't able to give her the gift of forgiveness that she desperately needed to heal. I wish she had made amends so that we had been able to have a closer, more truthful relationship. I didn't care about the things she was confessing to, I cared about the truth. I wish she knew that it was never about the stuff, it was always about living in the truth, and that I always loved her so much. I just needed to hear her tell me the truth. If you have any doubt about doing amends to the people you wronged before you were sober, please consider how deeply moving and powerful the experience will be for you and the person you are making amends with. I loved my sister so much, and miss her more than words can express. I was immensely proud of the woman she became in her sobriety. But our relationship was held back because she couldn't make amends to me. And now that she is gone, I will never know what she wanted to say to me. And I was never able to tell her that I forgive her. This is so cliche, but the truth really will set you free.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:28 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I am terribly sorry for your loss and am glad you were able to get closure. Thank you for sharing, may peace be with you!
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:33 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Hmm, I owe about $1500 to one though, in stolen food, cash, lotto tickets, tobacco, and alcohol. How do I make that up?
I talked to a couple of AAers about this. Talk to an attorney (preferably one in the program, so it likely won't cost you anything) and make arrangements to send payments to the company you stole from to his firm, who can then forward it to the company explaining an ex-employee stole this money and wanted to make amends. The statute of limitations may have to have had run out in order for the attorney to do this. This way there would be no reason to worry about being arrested, but you could stay anonymous and make direct amends.

I don't know if the person I talked to followed through with this or what the results were, but I thought it was a pretty good idea.
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Old 04-19-2011, 05:39 PM   #20 (permalink)
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at this point i'm not trying to concern myself with this step. but this question popped into my head..

do people ever ACTUALLY go to jail as a result of trying to make an amends?
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