"MADE DIRECT AMENDS TO SUCH PEOPLE WHENEVER POSSIBLE,
EXCEPT WHEN TO DO SO WOULD INJURE THEM OR OTHERS".
(From 12 & 12)
1. Good judgment, a careful sense of timing, courage, and prudence -- these are the qualities we shall need when we take Step Nine.
2. We will see that the making of direct amends divides those we should approach into several classes:
(a) Those who ought to be dealt with just as soon as we become reasonably confident that we can maintain our sobriety.
(b) Those to whom we can make only partial restitution, lest complete disclosures do them or others more harm than good.
(c) Other cases where action ought to be deferred, and
(d) Still others in which by the very nature of the situation we shall never be able to make a direct personal contact at all.
3. We will often manufacture plausible excuses for dodging these issues (making direct amends) entirely.
4. We may just procrastinate, telling ourselves the time is not yet, when in reality we have already passed up many a fine chance to right a serious wrong.
5. Let us not talk prudence while practicing evasion.
6. We needn't wallow in excessive remorse before those we have harmed, but amends at this level should always be forthright and generous.
7. There can be only one consideration which should qualify our desire for a complete disclosure of the damage we have done. That will arise in the occasional situation where to make full revelation would seriously harm the one to whom we are making amends or other people.
8. Above all, we should try to be absolutely sure that we are not delaying because we are afraid. For the readiness to take full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well-being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine.
(From the Big Book)
1. It is harder to go to an enemy than to a friend, but we find it much more beneficial to us. We go to him in a helpful and forgiving spirit, confessing our former ill feeling and expressing our regret.
2. Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be.
3. We are not to be the hasty and foolish martyr who would needlessly sacrifice others to save himself from the alcoholic pit.
4. Before taking drastic action which might implicate other people we secure their consent.
5. In making amends to the wife, we are sorry for what we have done and, God willing, it shall not be repeated. More than that we cannot do; we have no right to go further.
6. Their (members of the family) defects may be glaring, but chances are that our own actions are partly responsible. So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindness and love.
7. The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.
8. Our behavior will convince them more than our words.
9. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way 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
experi¬ence can benefit others.
~That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
~We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
~Self-seeking will slip away.
~Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
~Fear of people and 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.
1) Alcoholics Anonymous (big book), chapter 6, p. 76, 4th par, through
p. 84, 2nd par.
(2) Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, Step Nine.
"MADE DIRECT AMENDS TO SUCH PEOPLE WHENEVER POSSIBLE, EXCEPT WHEN TO DO SO WOULD INJURE THEM OR OTHERS".
In the preceding step, Step Eight, we compiled a list of ALL the people that we have harmed and also those people that we believed have harmed us. This list contains the names of people that we have harmed, amends for the thing we have done and the exact character defects of the acquired false self which caused physical, mental, emotional or spiritual damage to these people. After making the list, we then became willing to make these amends.
In the application of Step Nine, we shall need the following qualities -- good judgment, a careful sense of timing, courage, and prudence. Good judgment will suggest that we ought to reflect upon these amends for a time. While we may be quite willing to reveal the very worst, we must be sure to remember that we cannot buy our own peace of mind at the expense of others. We must be aware of when the time is right, however procrastination may allow us to pass up a fine chance to right a serious wrong. Since we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask God that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. Let us not talk prudence while practicing evasion of making direct amends.
In looking at the list of people we have harmed, we will see that the making of direct amends can fall into four categories. They are:
1) People who ought to be dealt with as soon as possible providing that we are reasonably confident that we can maintain our sobriety in doing so.
2) People to whom we can make only partial restitution to, lest complete disclosures do them or others more harm than good.
3) People and situations where action ought to be deferred, and
4) Others in which by the very nature of the situation we shall never be able to make direct personal contact at all.
In category one, we are dealing with people that we should make amends to in short order. These are people who are readily accessible. Generally they may include members of our family, employees or employers who we now work with, creditors whom we owe financial amends to, friends and enemies. It is harder to go to an enemy, than a friend, but we will find it much more beneficial to us.
The second category includes people to whom we can make only partial amends. They may include our spouses, ex-partners, former business associ¬ates or friends. Before we make a complete disclosure of the damage done, we must see if this would seriously harm the one to whom we are making amends or other people. In situations which might implicate other people, we secure their consent.
Thirdly there will be cases in which action ought to be deferred. It is seldom wise to approach an individual who still smarts from our injus¬tice to him. In some cases, the individual may not be so easy to locate. We must make every effort to locate these people and make our amends.
The last category includes people that we shall never be able to make direct personal contact with. They may include situations with complete strangers or people who are now deceased. In as much as we cannot reach the departed one we can still make amends to the living relatives. If this is impossible we resort to God in prayer, asking Him to forgive us in connec¬tion with these people.
We will be confronted with many obstacles in doing this step. Procras¬tination will stop us, telling us that the right time has not arrived. We will often manufacture plausible excuses for dodging the making of direct amends. Above all, we should try to be absolutely sure that we are not delaying because we are afraid. Remember that in most cases we will require a lifetime to complete Step Nine.
Meditation and prayer are necessary in order to make amends. Before making the amend it should be preceded by prayer. Conscious contact with God in the matter of making amends will not only bring about a more satis¬factory result, but can aid us in determining those amends to avoid which might injure others.
The readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well-being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine. Our behavior will convince those people to whom we are making direct amends more than our words.
If we are painstaking about making direct amends to those people we have harmed, we will be amazed before we are half way through. The prom¬ises, on p. 83 & 84 of the big book, will be fulfilled -- sometimes quick¬ly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
The purpose of writing the Ninth Step is to help us, in an orderly fashion, to "make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others".
Go through the following examples and be as honest and specific as you are able to at this time. You are about to explore an opportunity that will allow you, if you are painstakingly thorough, to put most of the acquired destructive past behind you.
1. What does "making direct amends" mean to you?
2. Why is it important to evaluate those amends that would injure the person to whom we are making direct amends or others involved?
3. Why is prayer and meditation necessary before we make direct amends?
4. Using the list from Step Eight, put the people and the associated amends to be made into the following categories:
a) People who ought to be dealt with as soon as possible.
b) People to whom we can make only partial amends.
c) People and situations where action ought to be deferred.
d) People who we shall never be able to make direct personal contact with.
5. In each of the above categories, now examine each amend in the light of seeing whether a complete disclosure of the damage done will seriously harm the person to whom we are making amends or other people. Identify these in the list above with an asterisk (*).
6. Make a second list of the people and institutions that financial amends are due.
7. Now, referring to the list in 4 & 6, make a reasonable time estimate of when the direct amends can be completed. Write this down on the two lists.
8. How are you going to get the strength and courage to make these direct amends?
9. Why is Step Nine so important to recovery?
10. How are you going to live Step Nine?
11. Which of the promises (big book p. 83-84) have been fulfilled in your life?
The thoroughness of Step Nine is dependent upon you. The making of ALL direct amends will relieve you from the bondage of your past.
1) Alcoholics Anonymous (big book), chapter 6, p. 76, 4th par, through
p. 84, 2nd par.
2) Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, Step Nine.
from the Top of the Hill group
840 17th St.
San Diego, CA 92101
Shared with love,
Candy Smith, Oak Harbor, Washington June 4, 1980
Phyllis Brett, Coupeville, Washington June 21, 1987
We are getting there, folks!!