What the Big Book says about Step 9 | 12 Step Meetings and Anonymous Groups - Part 3

What the Big Book says about Step 9

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    Under no condition do we criticize such a person or argue. Simply we tell him that we will never get over drinking until we have done our utmost to straighten out the past. We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing that nothing worth while can be accomplished until we do so, never trying to tell him what he should do. His faults are not discussed. We stick to our own. If our manner is calm, frank, and open, we will be gratified with the result.

    These are specific instructions for us to follow. If we want the promised results we must follow the example of those who have gone before us. Our focus must be on giving not taking. We are not doing this to extract confessions of wrong doing from those we have harmed, if they wish to their own wrongdoing we let them, but we should not attempt to manipulate them into doing this.



    In nine cases out of ten the unexpected happens. Sometimes the man we are calling upon admits his own fault; so feuds of years’ standing melt away in an hour. Rarely do we fail to make satisfactory progress. Our former enemies sometimes praise what we are doing and wish us well. Occasionally, they will offer assistance. It should not matter, however, if someone does throw us out of his office. We have made our demonstration, not our part. It’s water over the dam.

    Most alcoholics owe money. We do not dodge our creditors. Telling them what we are trying to do, we make no bones about our drinking: they usually know it anyway, whether we think so or not. Nor are we afraid of disclosing our alcoholism on the theory it may cause financial harm. Approached in this way, the most ruthless creditor will sometimes surprise us. Arranging the best deal we can we let these people know we are sorry. Our drinking has made us slow to pay. We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them. Perhaps we have committed a criminal offense which might land us in jail if known to the authorities. We may be short in our accounts and unable to make good. We have already admitted this in confidence to another person, but we are sure we would be imprisoned or lose our job if it were known. Maybe it’s only a petty offense such as padding he expense account. Most of us have done that sort of thing. Maybe we are divorced, and have remarried but haven’t kept up the alimony to number one. She is indignant about it, and has a warrant out for our arrest. That’s a common form of trouble too.

    Most of us, sharing common character defects, bring similar types of trouble into our lives. greed causes us to steal in large or small amounts, envy causes us to slander or gossip, sloth causes us to neglect our responsibilities, wrath causes us to lose control, gluttony causes us to seek more pleasures than are good for us, pride causes us to put up false fronts and lust causes us to damage our relationships. These defects, present in various degrees, have the power to control us until we admit to ourselves, to God, and to another person, that they exist and ask God to remove them. Being free from the control of these shortcomings, we then take the actions described in the Ninth Step to bring our new found faith to life.



    Although these reparations take innumerable forms, there are some general principles which we find guiding. Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. We may lose our position or reputation, or face jail, but are willing. We have to be. We must not shrink at anything.

    Though we may not have recognized it for what it was, the conscious awareness of the existence of God and the resulting change in the lives of those we know who have experienced this is what first attracted us to this way of life. The authors found that the result of taking these steps is a spiritual awakening . As we practice these steps we beign to awaken spiritually. We continue practicing these principles because we see for ourselves that it works.

    We make direct amends to those we have harmed except when to do so would harm them or others. We sometimes hear that we are to consider ourselves as one of the “others”. This is not what the book says. We have avoided making amends because we feared the consequences, thus the weight of our misdeeds builds into an unbearable load. By facing the consequences, whatever they may be, we bring our faith in God to life. We do not make amends under our own power, but under the guidance and protection of God.

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