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12 Steps Treatment - Step 9

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

The ninth step continues the process of clearing the wreckage of the past. We take our list of people we had harmed and begin the process of making amends to them. For some that might be coming up with a payment plan to repay a loan. For others it might be a simple apology for ruining a party or messing up a project at work that hurt a co-worker.

It's important to remember that this is not a step where we beat ourselves up. We should not feel compelled to make an amend that will be detrimental to us just to punish ourselves.

"I remember a big meeting where a young man decided he wanted to make a public amend to the whole group. He felt guilty that he had robbed a store once. He gave lots of details and regaled the room with the grim story; clearly he felt bad about it, but it also seemed like he was bragging a little about how "bad" he was, and that he wanted people to think he was the worst person in the room. Well someone did. The owner of the store he robbed. He heard the story and realized he was the victim. A few hours later the police picked up the boy. This is why they say we "shared our story in a general way." This is not about showing off that you are the sickest person in the room; it's about getting honest and changing your ways. If that boy had simply examined his conscious and talked to his sponsor, he may have found a better way to make amends to the store owner, like an anonymous envelope with money to repay him." John W.

We also do not make amends to people if it will harm them. This should not be a selfish step. We don't make amends to get rid of our guilt while making others miserable. We don't ruin the lives of other people to make ourselves feel better.