Ninth Step: We Make Amends
“We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
Many believe the main Spiritual Principle behind Step Nine is Justice. It is in this Step where we make right the wrongs we have done. By the time we’ve reached this Step, we are ready to make our amends. First, what is an amends? Most anyone in recovery will agree, an amends is not merely saying we’re sorry. How many times did we cry, “I’ll never do that again” or “I’m so, so sorry, I really mean it this time!” and “I promise, I will do better next time…” Only to repeatedly neglect our promise and continue to plead for forgiveness for hurting our loved ones. An actual amends is a change in behavior. We make an amends to no longer repeat the actions that causes harm.
We are once again Humbled (NOT humiliated) as we approach the Ninth Step. We have painstakingly looked at ourselves, our shortcomings and made our list. We have exposed the harsh realities of our wrongdoings and our fear of outcomes. We are now ready to come face to face with the people we have harmed and we do so with the humility we’d been practicing thus far. We have no control over other’s reactions to the Recovering person we’ve become. We usually pray before making our amends, asking for God’s help. In making our amends we may say something like, “I apologize for how I may have treated you. Is there anything I can do to make it up to you? Please forgive me.” And we leave it at that, pressing no further. They can either accept our amends or not. We must remember, we have made this amends for US, not them. This is a new level of humility we have achieved.
One of the most powerful Spiritual Principles we can practice is Love. The Brotherly Love we learned about in the Eighth Step, is brought to the forefront here. We are no longer taking advantage of others charity and good-nature; we show up and help out; we give without asking for anything in return. We have finally experienced Love at its truest nature: Giving of ourselves selflessly. What miracles we have become! Who would have thought either a drug addict or alcoholic could ever think of someone other than themselves without expectation!
In our amends process, we hope to be forgiven for our misdeeds. As a result, we in turn are more forgiving of others. What a wonderful feeling! We have taken a long hard look at ourselves and with this new understanding, we are able to extend a heightened level of forgiveness towards others. We have seen where we’ve been and how we’ve changed, so it is quite possible that we are now able to extend the same grace towards others. Maybe our friend is having a bad day and didn’t mean to step on our toes. As a result of this step, we don’t need to make a snap judgment or plot our revenge. We can forgive, quickly and easily.