Step Study ~ Step 9

Old 06-09-2008, 07:20 AM
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Step Study ~ Step 9

As it does sometimes, life got in the way and I haven’t kept up with this online step study. Here’s a link to the “sticky” for the first 8 steps and their discussions: Step Study

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step Nine is an action step in which we become humble enough to verbalize our regrets, if appropriate, to the people we’ve harmed. Identifying the persons we have harmed in Step 8 took courage. Because of our thoroughness, we build character by calling upon our Higher Power for the courage to change the things we can. We cannot undo our past and we cannot expect those we approach to respond positively, but we can admit our part and do whatever is possible to mitigate the consequences of our past errors.

In making amends, we need to understand that we’re not necessarily making an apology. There are differences between amends and apologies. In making an apology, we usually say, “I’m sorry” expecting a response of acceptance, pardon or forgiveness. In making amends, we may state our errors, our role in the incident and that we will correct their behavior for the future. We may or may not ask for forgiveness, and we may or may not experience a positive response. In many cases our changed behavior indicated stronger amends than words can ever be. If we have any expectation of the response to amends, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment.
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Old 06-09-2008, 07:23 AM
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Here are some questions to ask ourselves or discuss in our groups to assist us in proceeding with making our amends.

Which people on my list do I need to make direct amends to first? What’s stopping me?

How can I plan what I am going to say in my direct amends to be clear and concise and to avoid blaming any other person?

What doubts do I have about my amends injuring someone? Can I discuss these doubts with my sponsor? Pray to be guided? Write about them?

What are my motives for making amends? Am I willing to accept the outcome, whatever it may be?

What is the difference between an apology and making amends? Which amends will be best done by changes in my behavior?

How can I be sure I am not just ducking an embarrassing situation?

What amends am I putting off? Why?

Do I have any amends to make that could result in serious consequences for my family, like loss of employment or a prison term? How can I use my sponsor or a trusted friend to help me sort these things out?

Who on my amends list will never be available for direct amends? Can I make amends in another way? Can I do something for another person?

What harm have I done to my children or immediate family? Can I make some amends by respecting them now as adults?

Am I willing to pray to become willing to make amends in the future?
How can I forgive myself for all the difficulties I have caused myself? What can I do this week to begin my amends to myself?

Could I write an amends letter to myself?

When I have finished this action step, what can I do to celebrate? Have I remembered to appreciate and reward my good deeds? The good deeds of others?
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:44 AM
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So glad that we are picking back up on this. When I first began to consider step 9 I was all about making apologies. The step does not say anything at all about apologies though- it talks about AMENDS. Wow - that was quite the different concept. I believe that this is the toughest step to make without a sponsor and any ESH that I might have would encourage anyone to be very careful about deciding what situations are the ones that we need to amend.

For me, almost everything that I had put on the list turned out to be the complete opposite of what I originally was thinking and feeling. I was very misguided in what I needed to do and my sponsor helped to sort it all out. It turned out that many of the situations did not warrant an apology and the amends was frequently to myself. The amend usually being to take better care of myself. The steps come in a particular order and that statement is particularly true for step 9.

One of the things that Step 9 brought up for me was the feeling that a number of apologies and amends were due to me from other people. Working a thorough step 4 and 5 helped me with that though because I was able to identify my part of each of my resentments. I've also begun to understand that I am really not interested in apologies unless amends are offered with them. I don't want to keep hearing "I'm sorry" for the same behaviors over and over again. If I am hearing that then that is a big red flag that I am not respecting my boundaries - or creating ones that are needed in the first place. For me, most of the repetitive "I'm sorry's" that have come my way should have been stated "I'm sorry that you are not taking better care of yourself and you keep allowing me to treat you this way". Of course, that is not what anyone was going to say - it's how I should have heard it though. That standard applies to myself....what am I saying I'm sorry for again and again and who am I saying it too? If I have to keep saying I'm sorry and making amends for the same things then I need to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

One of my life long amends that I am making to myself is to stay actively involved in recovery for the rest of my life. I realize that without that I am highly likely to fall right back into my crazy thinking and behaviors. I also make amends by rereading Melody Beattie's books regularly. The biggest amend that I can make to myself is to keep from tricking myself and believing that just because I have ended relationships with my qualifiers (addicts/alcoholics) doesn't mean that I am well and don't have a problem with co-dependency anymore.

Step 9 was a real eye opener for me because I was blaming myself for a lot of bad stuff that really wasn't my fault. It was a relief to quit carrying all of that around. It allowed me to get real and take a look at what I really am sorry for but more importantly, what I need to do to make amends.
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Old 06-09-2008, 05:16 PM
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Something that held me back from making some of the amends, was that I wasn't sure how the other person would respond and I worried about them not accepting my amends.

My sponsor wisely pointed out to me that this step is about me making my amends and keeping my side of the street clean. She suggested that it didn't matter how the amend was accepted, just that I gave it honestly and from my heart. If I got a cold response or no response at all, it didn't matter, I didn't own anyone's reaction.

And sometimes where making amends was not possible, I became a living amend, doing something special for somebody else to make up for it.

Becoming the best person I knew how to be and learning to live life on life's terms and find beauty in every day...that was the best amends, the one I made to myself.

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Old 06-09-2008, 07:22 PM
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I have seen Step 9 done OUT of order and it wasn't pretty. A guy I knew rushed thru the first 8 steps in about a week, without the help of a sponsor. When he decided he was ready for Step 9, he picked up the phone and started dialing. He confessed his numerous indiscretions and demanded forgiveness. He mentioned any number of other people who may have been with him when he was doing his misdeeds.

Hurricane Will left a lot of damage and destruction behind. He hurt a lot more people unneccesarily, and ultimately he left the program as he didn't see any benefits to his "recovery".

The steps are written in this particular order for a reason... and this one has some wise words in it

except when to do so would injure them or others.

I cannot imagine working the steps without a sponsor and other recovery friends to guide me.
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Old 02-02-2009, 11:37 AM
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I'm finding Step 9's challenge is amends to myself. It keeps coming up as the priority. I am discovering what that means, to make amends. For me it means reading related literature every day and studying and writing, all efforts to aid supporting myself spiritually. It's talking frequently to others in the program and giving and receiving on-going experience, strength and hope, learning along with each other whatever lessons we're here to learn, sharing the journey.

It's practicing self-respect and setting healthy boundaries; letting go, as I'm able, of old behaviors that are unhelpful. Most of all it's meant returning to Steps 1,2, and 3 for a deeper experience of tapping into my HP and maintaining that all-important relationship.

This step is much more meaningful than I imagined it to be!
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