Step 9 of AA
When working step eight, you developed a list of people you wronged and worked on your willingness to make amends to them. Step nine asks you to actually make the amends. If you still feel unwilling or aren’t able to bring yourself to make amends, you might need to take a little more time working step eight. Consult with a sponsor and get some advice about how to proceed.
Step nine states:
“Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
Step six was the time to commit to taking responsibility for your past action and now you are going to need to act on that promise. This isn’t simply about making an apology; you have to make amends, which means you do your best to make things right. You may need to make payments, fix broken things, or volunteer in a shelter to show an understanding of the harm you caused.
The following discussion should help you to understand step nine, as well as give you some tips for working the step. If you want to learn more, call 800-839-1686. The caring counselors waiting to take your call can answer all of your questions and help you connect with resources that can help with your recovery from alcohol addiction.
Why Isn’t an Apology Enough?
Apologies may suffice in some situations, but that is rarely the case. They simply don’t set things right or ease the guilt you feel. And, if your apology isn’t sincere, it will make things much worse.
You will know that your apology is sincere when you back your words up with action. Action may take the form of restitution or by honestly admitting a wrongdoing. But, that isn’t the end of it.
You have to show that you really understand what you did by changing your behavior. Your determination not to repeat these past wrongs shows that you both understand and regret the consequences your actions caused for other people.
How Do I Get Started?
Before you let your enthusiasm carry you away, you need to pause. First, you need to consult with a therapist, sponsor, religious representative, or another trusted advisor. Do not try to skip this step. You need assistance from a person who has already been through this process.
You should share each and every entry on your list and explain the wrong committed, its consequences, and your plan to make amends in detail. Special attention should be given to your goals in making amends. A person who has already been through this step knows how much courage, timing, and carefulness it takes. He or she can provide you with the guidance you need to make good decisions.
Do I Need to Make Amends to Everyone on the List?
Should your goal be to correct all of your wrongs? Yes. Will that always be possible? No. In 2014, roughly 1.5 million people received treatment for an alcohol use disorder. Were each of those people to make it to step nine in AA, it is a guarantee that no single one of them would make all of their amends.
Making direct amends can, at times, be a bad idea. The intent of the step is for you to take responsibility for your actions and to commit to making up for them and changing your life so that you don’t repeat them. However, that doesn’t mean that other people should suffer in your attempts to do this.
You may have harmed someone so fully that simply speaking to you may be enough to dredge up a lot of negative feelings, even if you mean well. This wouldn’t be a good time to make direct amends.
Perhaps, you wronged a person who isn’t aware of it and informing them of the wrong could cause them considerable pain. For example, if you had sex with a friend’s partner, you did them wrong, but telling them could make their life infinitely worse.
In instances where direct amends won’t work, being aware of what you did wrong and working to live differently may be the best choice.
What Kind of Amends Will I Be Making?
This is another reason that meeting with an advisor is so important. They can help you develop appropriate amends for the wrongs you committed. An apology may be sufficient (as stated earlier). In other situations, you will need to do more, like repay money or create a payment plan to repay money.
Literally, the cost of alcohol misuse in the US is 249 billion dollars. Thankfully, you don’t have to repay the actual societal cost of your drinking.
No matter the type of amends that you make, you will need to remember that the most important part of the step is changing your life so that you never commit these wrongs again. For help with recovery from alcoholism, call 800-839-1686. You can connect with an expert.