The Ninth Step – making amends can be difficult! Often in the rooms of recovery, we hear peoples stories of relapse or struggles with acheiving sobriety was due in part beause they faltered on this step. One thing that I have found is that there is so much more to the 8th and 9th steps than just making a list, saying “sorry” or paying back some money. It is about observation, examination, and reflection on past and present relationships and behaviors. It is about becoming a different person in sobriety than we were in active alcoholism or addiction!
Here are some important questions to consider:
Am I aware of the cause of broken or damaged relationships from the past? Am I aware of the damage that I caused in those relationships? Do I know what I could have done differently? Do I know what I need to change to prevent the same problems from happening again? Am I willing to make those changes? Have I started to make those changes in developing new habits and behaviors? Do I recogize when I fall short and continue to damage current relationships?
In Step Eight of the 12 and 12 on page 80, this paragraph discusses the importance of thorough reflection on personal relationships:
“While the purpose of making restitution to others is paramount, it is necessary that we extricate from an examination of our personal relations every bit of information about ourselves and our fundamental difficulties that we can. Since defective relations with other human beings have nearly always been the immediate cause of our woes, including our alcoholism, no field of investigation could yield more satisfying and valuable rewards than this one. Calm, thoughtful reflection upon personal relations can deepen our insight. We can go far beyond those things which were superficially wrong with us, to see those flaws which were basic, flaws which sometimes were responsible for the whole pattern of our lives. Thoroughness, we have found, will pay- and pay handsomely.”
These are a couple of quotes from the Big Book that help to remind me of what this thing is all about!
“Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help to meet their needs.”
“Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.”
Here is a great talk from Bob B. in which he discusses this topic: