Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 1 - We are no longer in denial, we are able to admit that our lives were unmanageable because alcohol was controlling us, we couldn't control it.
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 2 - In the second step we searched deep within ourselves and found our own higher power whom-ever or what-ever that may be to us that will give us hope, strength, and courage restoring us to sanity.
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 3 - With the third step we have to be completely willing to turn over the way we think (which has been negative) as well as our actions (which have been negative) over to our 'higher power' as we individually understand him.
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 4 - In this step we searched deep inside taking honest moral inventory of our self, who have I been, what have I done, and where have my behaviors taken me. Where have I ended up due to my addictive behaviors? This step wasn't easy and takes time but it's critical to our recovery.
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 5 - This is a hard step and unless it's worked thoroughly and completely to the best of our ability we are only short changing ourselves. It was hard enough in step 4 to take responsibility for our shortcoming s by admitting them to our self. In this step, we have to take what we know now, our deep dark secrets and admit them to another person as well as our 'higher power'. It wasn't easy but we did it and the denial we once hid behind is now gone, and it feels good. We are on our way now to a healthy and happy sobriety.
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 6 - In this step we are preparing ourselves to let go of the negative character flaws and defects that we now recognize about our self. By the time step 6 is completed we not only identified our shortcomings but we are completely willing to give them up and get rid of them which is in no way easy to do.
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 7 - We have already made our fearless moral inventory in which we found character flaws and defects in ourselves that once we really reflected upon, were quite humiliating. We have learned a lot about ourselves since then and we are growing spiritually because of what we've recognized and learned. We are no longer justifying our past behaviors and faults, instead we're humbly seeing and feeling them.
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 8 - With this step we reflect back into our past to see who may have been hurt and affected by our behaviors and alcoholism. Not just making a list of people in our lives that were affected and harmed by our behaviors but that we're willing to make amends to. Steps 8 and 9 are all about making amends so that people in our lives that have been harmed through our selfishness and controlling behaviors can heal.
In step 8 we made a list of the people who were affected in our lives by our alcoholism which took a lot of time, soul searching, and accountability admitting to ourselves where 'we were wrong'. Before working the 9th step, many people who have completed the 12 steps suggest that it's a good idea to have a sponsor that's completed them too, go over the list with you. They will help you decide how you should handle your approach depending on the person and situation. Your sponsor will also help you determine who could be hurt by your apology, sometimes only partial apologies are best or no apology at all because it would cause hurt. This is a time to take responsibility and heal others, not cause more hurt.
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 9
Step 9 takes a lot of courage and carefulness on your part and not a step you want to approach without careful thought. We are prepared for possible reactions we may receive when we apologize to people we have hurt. We realize that some people will accept our apology very easily, others may be cynical, and there may be some that become angry. No matter how your apology is received you can't let it anger you or stop you from completing this step. We must also remember that step 9 isn't complete until amends and apologies are made to everyone on our list except one's that our apologies would hurt.
With step 9 you have already went through your list of people that were affected and hurt that you're willing to make amends to. Now it's time to begin your approach deciding who to start with. Most people find it best to start with the people that are the easiest to find. Locating people we haven't had contact with in a long time is much easier today due to the internet but you always have the phone book too.
Because the people on your list have been hurt and affected in different ways some amends and apologies will be harder than others. You need to be prepared for questions or comments that may be difficult to answer or accept. Remember it's their time to heal just be honest, make your apology heart-felt, and avoid answers that could cause more harm than good.
It's best to apologize and make amends in person if possible but sometimes it has to be done over the phone. Let the person know why you're contacting them and with permission you would like to set up a time you can get together and talk. Sometimes people let the person know they're in AA and working through the steps but you don't have to, this is a matter of choice on your end.
There may be people in your life that you owe money to for various reasons, they too were affected by your behaviors in the past. Apologizing and paying debts or writing apology letters to people you are unable to see in person is also a way of making amends and healing wounds.
Step 9 isn't easy and isn't a step that can be completed quickly. Continue to seek guidance from your sponsor if possible, stay focused, if you think of someone you may have forgotten during this time add them to your list, don't let rejection hold you back or give up, make sure your apologies are heart-felt, and seek strength from your 'Higher Power'. You're taking responsibilities for your past behaviors, apologizing to people you have hurt, and emotionally, physically, and spiritually healing yourself…..one day at a time.