Making Indirect Ammends | 12 Step Meetings and Anonymous Groups - Part 4

Making Indirect Ammends

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    If one went by the “letter of the law” of the Big Book, there is no such thing as an “indirect amends”. That, I think, is your point. I believe an “indirect amends” is a creation of folks in the program to meet the “spirit of the law”.

    I have caused harm that I cannot remedy. The business is out of business, the individual cannot be found, more harm would be caused by a direct amend, the person is deceased, or some other such circumstance exists.

    It seems that something should be done. We put something good out to the universe, we pay it forward, so to speak: a prayer for the person who cannot be found, a letter read at a gravesite, a donation to charity, a volunteer activity, etc.

    Is this the AA program? Strictly speaking, no. Is it a spiritual practice? Absolutely. Is it in the Big Book? No. Is it a creation of the fellowship? Yes. Is it a good idea? In my opinion, yes. Do we “have to” do it? No, we don’t “have to” do anything.



    I can never interfere with someone else’s life just to sooth my conscience or in this case, clean my side of the street. I make indirect amends through prayer, letting God know I’m truly sorry for what I did to that person and that I’m willing to make the direct amend if the opportunity arises and is proper to do so, i.e., I don’t injure them or others in the process. Notice the wording in the step itself. It says, “wherever” possible…not “whenever” possible. Kind of takes the choice away from me in a way. The opportunity could happen at any time or place, not necessarily one of my choosing.



    I think it’s worth mentioning also that when making amends, I am to use general terms, i.e. “if in the past, I’ve done or said anything to hurt you in any way, I want you to know I’m truly sorry and with God’s help I won’t ever do or say those things again.” Unless the other person persues the issue, and wants to know what you’re talking about, then it’s a judgment call as to whether or not to explain what I’m talking about. The other person may not even know what I’m talking about so no use in making a mountain out of a mole hill. I’ve had one or two completely reject my amend which is ok with me. It’s not important whether or not the other person accepts the amend but it is important that I make the attempt to make the amend.

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