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    Step Nine

    ” We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

    This step should not be avoided. If we do, we are reserving a place in our program for relapse. Pride, fear and procrastination often seem an inpossible barrier; they stand in the way of progress and growth. The important thing is to take ACTION and to be ready to accept the reaction of those persons we have harmed.

    Step 9 is also one of the most difficult to actually do. It’s one thing to make a list of the people we’ve hurt as we did in Step 8 – but quite another to go to those people in person or in writing, and actually admit what we’ve done and work to make it right – with an apology and, if warranted, restitution.

    It should be our intention to resolve the disturbances that we encounter. This act of restoration will eliminate our regretful feelings. The faults of our past are now brought to light for the healing process to take place. No longer does shame and guilt have to inhibit our forward growth.




    @Onewithwings 2844282 wrote:

    would that apply to financial amends as well? I wouldn’t think so. If someone stole money from me without my knowing it, I would still want it back!

    Step 9 – We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

    I put emphasis on “wherever possible” and “or others” to make a couple of points.

    In a case where money has been stolen and the victim of this harm is unaware of who stole it, for me, there are questions that arise: [1] Would it cause more harm to admit to the theft? [2] Would old wounds get reopened? [3] Would an admittance to this crime bring about criminal charges? As Sugah mentioned, we need to take into account the results of a direct amends, not avoid them because to do so would create discomfort, but thoroughly and honestly examine the potential to do more harm than good.

    There are times when a direct amends just isn’t possible without bringing harm to “others,” including oneself. Step 9, IMO, isn’t about being foolhardy and this is why sponsorship is so important. Sure…we want to correct our wrongs and make compensation for injury or loss, but if I can barely pay the mortgage, feed the kids, pay the medical bills or keep the lights on, is it really “possible” for me to pay financial restitution without consequence?

    But here’s the hit – there is no set time frame for direct amends. “Wherever possible” is not a date set in stone, and as long as there is a willingness to make amends, the opportunity to do so (without causing harm to others) will present itself. In the meantime, we can make indirect amends many ways, but certainly by NOT repeating the behavior.

    Hmm, I owe about $1500 to one though, in stolen food, cash, lotto tickets, tobacco, and alcohol. How do I make that up?

    [1] Stay clean. [2] Stop stealing food, cash, lotto tickets, tobacco and alcohol. Don’t steal ANYTHING. [3] Seek guidance from your HP and your sponsor. That’s a start.




    @Onewithwings 2844412 wrote:

    how do you know when a financial amends is inappropriate to make directly?

    You and your sponsor can discuss this. An example of one of my amends that was “not appropiate” to make directly: I shoplifted some petty stuff from several pet stores. When I mean several…I mean all over an entire midstate region and I was high enough not to remember exactly which stores. In my quest to produce the drugs I was using, I went all over the state collecting/purchasing materials. During these traveling times I would “treat” myself by going into pet stores and getting something I wanted to spoil my little dog or cat. Sometimes I paid for it and sometimes I didn’t.

    Not knowing exactly which stores I took something from I couldn’t make direct ammends in an appropriate way. When I didn’t pay for something it was valued (a guess) at $15 or less dollars. My sponsor and I concluded this that legally this is considered “petty”. However, I was stressed with the guilt and shame and responsible for what I calculated to be a total of close to $450! 30 stores X $15 =$450. (estimated)

    My sponsor suggested that I could contact the Corporate office of some of the big commercial ones and ask what their favorite charity to donate to is…and send a donation.

    Since doing some homework I have learned they want me to give to my local animal shelter. I found an opportunity to do so at the county fair anonymously….put $30 into their collection box. I will be continuing to make donations in that amount until I reach my goal of repaying $450

    There were other petty shoplifting incidents that would not put me in jail…but collectively adds up to a significant number to be responsible for. I am not even sure which stores they were due to I always bought something and didn’t always take something. My sponsor thinks its ok to pay it forward to the fellowship with each donation representing my own conscious effort to make restitution.

    In cases where I know for sure what and who I owed, I made direct amends.

    One of the most time consuming and had alot of footwork put in was for me to clear up my own credit score. I have gone from 0 credit to 755 since spending a good deal of time clearing off my credit report these last few years since I have been clean. I had some stuff on there from almost 20 years ago that needed removed…and it took some effort to do that! It didn’t take money to do that foot work…but it did get me a loan for a vehicle (that I have since paid off!)

    This has been a great thread! I hope we have helped.


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