Step 9 Overview: Making a Direct Amends
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Now that we have compiled our list of those in need of amends, we carefully contemplate our course of action. We must consider each amends we are to make and how best to approach each situation. There is much to take into consideration, not only how we will approach the individual, but also how each should be handled.
For those amends, we are confident we can make while maintaining our sobriety, we quickly take action. However, there are some we need to consider and question whether or not a full restitution is possible. Divulging our full responsibility in a situation may cause more harm to the individual our amends are directed to, or cause harm to others unintentionally. For these, we consider the feelings of everyone involved and settle to make only a general admission of our defects; and we refrain from causing more harm by rehashing some of our other indiscretions. Remember that we are not set out to gain peace of mind at the expense of others.
Some of our amends may come easier than others, especially those met with little or no resistance. We may see that having committed to a thorough and honest program has already started showing others the changes in us and our willingness to live a better life. However, there may be times we are not met with open arms, but rather with skepticism and disbelief. We must remain steadfast in our efforts and not let this deter us from what we have set forth to accomplish – cleaning of our side of the street! At times we find there are wrongs we have done that we may never be able to fully right. For these, we consider that, if we could, we would surely resolve these issues. Instead, we carry out a “living amends,” which means we strive to be the best version of ourselves in all our affairs.
If we take this step openly and honestly, we are promised a new freedom and happiness. We will no longer carry the burden of our past actions, but will have an understanding of the character defects caused them and have the ability to recognize them if they begin to resurface. We will begin to understand the true meaning of peace and understand how to use the experiences of our past to help others overcome similar struggles. The idea of always looking out for ourselves will shift to how we can help others. If we are willing to put in the work, the promises of the 9th step will always present themselves in our lives.