This is the first of a series of monthly articles on each of the Twelve Steps, Catholic faith and the Calix Society. This article has been contributed by Jim R, Minnesota, how to do Step 9, with guidance from the New Testament.
Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
“therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come, the old is gone and the new is here” —2 Corinthians 5:17
A time for change: the dictionary defines amend to “put right” and to “change for the better.”
Seems simple enough. Keep it that way. Step 9 works to make you a better person and works to eliminate emotional barriers to sustained sobriety. This step can be managed by keeping three concepts or tools in mind.
Before the three – A critical foundation for step 9 work – you need a sound Step 4 inventory and Step 8 list. Be “painstaking” as Bill W states in Alcoholics Anonymous. Do that before you embark on step 9. Having done that, you are ready.
1. Serenity- use the Serenity prayer and seek God’s guidance fervently in this step. You must accept no control or have courage to change.
- You can accept by doing amend even if you feel someone doesn’t deserve an amend or you feel frustration/anger towards them. You can’t change their past behavior, personality or control their reaction. Nor should you expect or be owed a reaction.
- You can have courage to change by doing an amend that doesn’t suit your personality or style. Example: “I am uncomfortable with a face to face or writing an email/letter…on touchy topics. “ Summon Serenity to give you strength to change that.
- Have the serenity to be patient in doing them. They may take time and the right environment. It cannot be hurried or done just to “check the box”. Work with your sponsor and others who have step 9 experience.
2. Simple – keep it simple and straightforward as best you can. Just state the facts without commentary. Example: “I did this and it hurt you. I am acknowledging the wrong to you.” Avoid extra clutter or needless justification/explanation. Doing step 9 can be challenging, don’t make it more so. Lean on sponsor/others for various methods to do them.
3. Sorry – Resist reliance on its use. The word is excessively and needlessly used in most communication. How many times have we in the depths of our disease used this term only to revert to our behavior again and again? Consider using the “AA” letters – Acknowledge and Admit your wrongs. (Note that step 10 requires regular “admission” of wrongs).
Note that separate from step 9 – between yourself and God, you confess your sins, express sorrow, and seek his forgiveness. He will give it to you as you are a child of God, and loved without condition by Him.
Doing Step 9 work is an ongoing journey and one that bears spiritual fruit time and time again.
“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will be changed.”—1 Corinthians 15:11