Step Nine says : Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
Step Nine is an outward expression of all the previous eight principles. We are practicing powerlessness, restoration to sanity, surrender, inventory of wrongs, and willingness. The word amend means “to change.” It is admitting the wrongs we have done, acknowledging the pain we caused, and committing to change our behavior. We do that directly, face to face, whenever possible. There will be soe people on your list that is not possible and in those cases, it is often best to write a letter. In some cases, making a direct amends will not be possible or recommended. Whatever the specifics are, God will provide the wisdom and your sponsor will walk with you through this step.
As I think about Step Nine, I can’t help but think about Joplin, Missouri. It was struck by a devastating tornado in May and many surrounding states rallied to show up and aid the people of Joplin. It was a great display of kindness and solidarity. For a short time it was the center stage for news media, disaster relief, and aid. But today, those outside of Joplin have moved forward with their lives. The people of Joplin are still trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild their homes and lives. Step Nine is a bit like the relational equivalent of what the people of Joplin are experiencing right now. We have recognized the relational devastation that our addiction created and we begin to pick up the pieces and rebuild. This step is the one that invites us to true change and transformation. As we verbally admit our wrongs to those we’ve hurt, we begin to rebuild our character.
You have completed your list of people who you have harmed and you have become willing to make amends to them. Please don’t feel you have to wait all week to do so. Invite your sponsor into this step and ask God to open the doors for you to have these amends conversation. Meanwhile, we can do a bit of work in our notebook:
- What names on my Step Eight list create the most fear when I think about making amends? Why?
- Does my list include people who are holding grudges against me? How do I feel about that?
- Are there any names on the list that you may need counsel before making amends? Explain.
- What forms of harm are on my list that will be most difficult to change after I make amends?
- Are there any amends that require me to give something back to make right? (money, property, respect, etc)
As you move into having amends conversations this week, remember this is about rebuilding your character and cooperating with God in the transformation He is performing on you. I’ll leave you with the words of Peter, Jesus’ close friend,
Most importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause people to forgive each other for many sins.