Thoughts on Step 9 | 12 Step Meetings and Anonymous Groups - Part 5

Thoughts on Step 9

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    @mike_mass 1604362 wrote:


    The BB is open to interpretation, especially in regards to the era it was written and where science and society were at the time. As society progresses, the BB will progressively take a back seat to approaches that are shown to be more viable for treating addiction. In fact, the BB has pretty much been relegated to this status already. Sorry, it’s true, and it’s not in the BB.:sorry

    Do you really believe that?
    I’ve never found anything that comes close.

    I did think that when I first walked into AA and saw the steps poster, I thought it was just an antiquated old poster, I assumed no-one actually does that goody goody stuff surely.
    But then I learned some people were actually seriously doing it.



    Heres experience ,
    I had made a comment to a guy 15 yrs earlier, he didn’t care for it and held a grudge, I figgered it was his problem.
    But it stuck with me all those yrs.
    Robbing the bank would have meant less,
    it bothered me out of proportion .

    I approached and showed him my Big Book and told him why I was there, “I ‘m working this progrm ya see and I uh can’t carry this harm around any longer or I’ll drink because I’m insane , trying to get right with God by repairing the past”.

    He shook my hand and said “good for you, keep doing it”.

    For over 15 yrs we’d pass each other on the street (neighbors) and always avoid eye contact, now he always waves and we stop to chat.

    Another amend experience, I went to a womans door and said “I’m following this program” (with my Big Book under my arm) and before I could say anything else she said “its about time”.
    She listened to my amend and said “I’m a recovered addict”.

    I’d known her well over 20 yrs but never suspected.

    On my amends list was a chinese businessman, I’d visited my freind who worked for him and always stole something.
    i cobbled together the money and talked to my freind about it, he didn’t think he would get into trouble if I confessed but thought I ought to just put the money in his mailbox and leave it at that.
    My sponsor said nope ya gotta go and do it F2F.

    So I did, I started by putting the money on the table and said this is your money for the things I stole. He was shocked.
    I described the insanity of my alcoholism , I didn’t steal because I couldn’t afford to pay for it, I always had enough money.

    I scared him, he was afraid I was going to kill myself or something.
    He kept saying ‘its ok, don’t worry about it’.
    I said ‘its not OK, thats why I’m here.’
    He kept saying its OK, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
    When I got back to the car I did cry because I know I couldn’t have done that under my own power.

    just 3 people I had screwed over in one way or another but walked away feeling like we are the best of freinds. As we ought to have been.
    The one thing I told everyone,
    the common denominator, was the truth about me.

    Once I made one amend I got on a roll and did several a day, they became easier to make and I even started to get a nervous exitement just before knocking on doors. i realized the fear I felt before starting was just the same old insanity making a last ditch effort to stop me from getting well.


    Amends aren’t for me-they are for the person I’m making amends to. I get free the minute I’m willing. What I’ve found is that I used my whole life on me, getting for me and taking from you. So, my sobriety is not for me, it is for you.

    An experience with what I’ve just said. One of my early awakenings was to the harm I’d done my family. I had been married for ten years to a great woman who stood by me through thick and thin. We have a son who was eight when I got sober.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I felt really bad when I got sober. The wreckage of the past was the wreckage of right now. And, as usual, the goal was to feel better. Now, they made a mistake for guys like me when they hung the steps on the wall-they left out the directions in between. I saw it on the wall, and heard it in meetings, so I thought I should go make amends to my soon to be former wife. I was about a month sober at the time.

    So I marched over to the house (I wasn’t supposed to because there was a no-contact & restraining order), knocked on the door and gave her the same old mumbly sorry-ass crap she’d been hearing for years. Now I realize that I have no right to expect any of these people to talk to me ever again, or believe me, or trust me. Another awakening I’ve had is the harm I’ve done to my family-every time I fell down I got back up. I’d be sober a little while, give ’em some false hope, and then dash those hopes again and again and again. So her reply to my sorry stuff was “I know you’re sorry. You are a sorry S.O.B. and I’ve called the cops. Don’t come around here again.” That was the truth and she had every right to say it. The police came and I spent a day in jail. Ever have to make amends for making amends?

    Fast forward about ten months. I had gotten a sponsor and had taken the first eight steps. I had written an inventory, so I was clear on where I had been wrong. I had prepared an eighth step list and prayed for the willingness to look each one of these people in the eye and say that I had been wrong and hurt them and could they please tell me how I can get it right. My sponsor helped formulate a course of action to take in making amends to my now former wife.

    First I called to see if she would speak with me and give me some of her time. And then I went there-free. I wasn’t going to feel better from a guilty conscience, I was going to set right a wrong and give her the chance to get free. I said that amends aren’t for me, they are for you-here is what I mean. I know what I did to you, but I am so insensitive that I can’t know how I’ve actually harmed you. So I was told to ask.

    With my ex, I knew what I did-the drunkeness, the verbal & physical abuse, the infidelity, the lies, the broken promises. But when I asked her how I had harmed her, it wasn’t that stuff at all. She said “I had to watch the man I fell in love with turn into somebody I couldn’t love. We tried to love you but you wouldn’t let us.” We do terrible psychic harm to people. And we alkies think we have it bad. Try living with one of us.

    She talked for an hour about things that she had been carrying for years. I watched her get free. We cried and we actually even laughed! Then I asked what I could do to set it straight, a whole story in itself. She was with a man that seemed to be a good guy, I got to know him. Our son was nine years old at the time and he was good to him. I found myself sitting in the stands with her AND him watching the kid play ball. I sent her Mother’s Day cards. Never did that when we were married. I paid my child-support payments on time. I showed up when I said I would. Took them a long time to trust me again. Her boyfriend, now husband helped me fix my car. Eight years ago, they got married and I was at the wedding. The relationship has been healed. We are a family.

    Guys like me don’t get from restraining orders and “you are a sorry S.O.B. and
    don’t come around here ever again” to being at the wedding on their own

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