The ninth step in the twelve step process is “We have made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” This is the part where we directly interact with those that have wronged. The goal is to clear the air between those we have hurt. We also seek to create strong relationships in the future based off of these new beginnings.
Understanding AA’s 12 Steps: Step 9
Step 9 gives us a form of liberation from the hold our past can have over us. The act of giving and receiving will alleviate the nagging feeling of regret that can linger. There is nothing to regret when we have given over control of the past. The future is being built on a solid foundation so we look forward to living a life that will not cause regret. The AA twelve step traditions book tells us 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.
Going about the act of making amends is one that is highly individual. The way we approach someone depends on the person we attempt to make amends with. Always use careful timing. Make sure the time when you will be making amends is a time when the person will be able to listen. Avoid crowded and/or group situations to have this talk. Always think about what you say before you say it. You don’t have to write out a speech (unless that helps) but we should always know what we are going to say.
There are a few different categories of people we should approach to make amends. There are those you should approach as soon as you are confident in your sobriety. Some people you can only make partial amends with since further disclosure may cause more harm than good. Always be mindful of the other person’s feelings and how the talk may affect them emotionally. The point is rebuilding not further tearing down. Some people we shouldn’t take action with at all due to the circumstances. There are also those you can’t make direct contact with because of the nature of the situation.
This is not a process that should be rushed. After the list is made, take your time. Find the right time and situation to talk to everyone on your list. Don’t begin to see the carefulness as avoidance. We only want to avoid further hurt or negative feelings, not the whole exercise.
This process of making amends with those we have harmed during our time of addiction is an important part of the 12 step recovery process. If you’re looking for further help with your recovery and want to speak with a recovery counselor, Treatment Now has a trained staff of experts on hand to help. Contact us at 844-438-8689 for help today.