Alcoholics Anonymous an overview of Step 9

Sobriety Navigator: Alcoholics Anonymous an overview of Step 9. 

Step Nine: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” 

Step nine requires a deep sense of purpose and clarity in order to liberate ourselves from fear, guilt and shame. These toxic emotions are what separate us from our true selves, our relationship with our higher power, and others.

As often said in 12 step programs, it’s not what we do, but why. This question is critical to our recovery.   

It is imperative that we are honest with ourselves about why we are making amends.

  • Is it for approval seeking or a genuine remorse and admission that we were wrong?
  • Are we still fueled with self-contempt and want to set ourselves up to be punished so we can play the martyr?
  • Do we want to force solutions and thrust our shame and guilt somewhere else by not carefully considering the possible emotional ramifications of what we have done?

We cannot, for example, unload a detailed account of extramarital adventuring upon the shoulders of our unsuspecting wife or husband. And even in those cases where such a matter must be discussed, let’s try to avoid harming third parties, whoever they may be. It does not lighten our burden when we recklessly make the crosses of others heavier. (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions – Alcoholics Anonymous World Service) 

Good judgment will suggest that we ought to take our time. While we are willing to reveal the very worst, we must be sure to remember that we cannot buy our peace of mind at the expense of others. (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions – Alcoholics Anonymous World Service)

We cannot afford to be so rigidly righteous about making amends that we don’t care what happens to the family and home.  (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions – Alcoholics Anonymous World Service)

After discussing a course of action with a trusted sponsor, counselor or clergyman we begin to make our amends. And we do it with clarity and a quiet sincerity in the knowing that our motives are pure and that we are on the path to liberation and freedom from our past and not punishment.


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