May 4, 2013

AA Step Nine - Made Direct Amends

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

AA Big Book, Into Action, pg 82.
I finally plunged into Step 9, after creating the list of people I have harmed in step 8. Oh, this is some task I tell ya! But I am ready to clean house and do this! I met with my sponsor and went over the step and discussed who I should make amends to as soon as possible and who I should not make direct amends to at all. We also talked about the importance of remembering that while doing amends I do not criticize or point out the wrongs that the person had done to me, if there were any. This step is about cleaning my house not theirs. Here I need to have kindness and compassion so that I can heal and forgive myself as well.

We also read Chapter 6, Into Action in the AA Big Book, and discussed how to go about making amends. I had many questions - Why can't I just apologize? What is the difference between apologizing and making amends? Why make amends instead of apologizing?

My sponsor shared an article with me about making amends; the author suggested that you don't just say "I am sorry," but ask for forgiveness instead, because saying I am sorry is like closing off the door to forgiveness. Of course I had to do some more research... haha, just clear my mind a bit more and be ready - this is my perfectionist side. lol!

I looked up the few words:
Definition of apology: A regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure.  
Definition of amends: Reparation or compensation.
Definition of forgiveness: To renounce anger or resentment against.
I also found this little bit on the Hazelden* website:
How do amends differ from apologies? An amend has to do with restoring justice as much as possible. The idea is to restore in a direct way that which we have broken or damaged--or to make restoration in a symbolic way if we can't do it directly.
Say, for example, that I borrowed 20 dollars from you and never paid you back. If I go up to you and say, "Gee, I'm sorry I borrowed your 20 dollars and spent it on drugs," that would be an apology. Making amends is giving your money back to you. -
Hmmm... I though, I have done a few amends in the past, but I think that I just apologized. But I think that I have a clearer understanding of what I am about to embark on. I am still a bit fearful. But I was determined to take this step, so every time the feeling creeps up, I pause and ask my Higher Power to guide me and release me from fear. OK, I think I am ready. :)

*Hazelden helps individuals, families, and communities struggling with alcohol abuse, substance abuse, and drug addiction transform their lives. Our locations across the United States help people at all stages of the treatment and recovery process, supporting them with our Twelve Step-based model that is the modern standard for addiction treatment and recovery services. - for more information please visit their website at

Click HERE to read the AA Step Nine.  


  1. Good Morning, SL! On my blog I am doing a series on the Steps, in fact I just posted on Step 4 yesterday, so I LOVE this post!! I will have to reference it again when I get to Step 9 in my series!

    For me, I am not through with all my amends, I got the biggest ones out of the way, but then stalled. The humility is appears to take is a tougher obstacle than I originally anticipated. It's not question of "will they or won't they" (forgive me, that is), it's about summoning the courage to look someone in the eye and admit, "I did this to you." I'll get there, though!

    Also, just went to a meeting 2 days ago, and we discussed, as a group, the difference between amends and apologies. The group to the same conclusion that you did... apologies are about saying I'm sorry, amends are about making it right.

    Great stuff!

    1. Hi! Thanks for the comment, can't wait to read your post! Yes most definitely the humility aspect is tough, I think I am trying to not think about how am I going to actually admit that "I did this to you" - I think I am just gonna do it, I think the hard part for me is the actual reaction that I might get, of course I am expecting the worst! Lol! But I have to believe others when they share about how making amends made them feel in the end and how it helped them move forward and heal relationships - that's my focus. Thanks for visiting :)

  2. Amends - I can go on for a spell about and fearful of them at the same time. I too have a handful left - been lazy and perhaps unwilling. Sigh. And it's coming off the heels of having done a whack of amends and having nothing but incredible responses and reactions (so far). Yes, amends are not apologies. I never said "I am sorry" once in my amends. I just said that I harmed them, told them the harm, and then asked what I could do to make it right. That was it. And if there was anything else that I left out, if they wanted to let me know, then to go ahead. And then I would shut up. And most often, unless I am paying money, most people just said they wanted nothing but for me to stay sober. And that was groovy. But when I go to amends, I am more than willing to do what they ask...unless it's illegal or immoral!

    anyway, so glad to hear that you are going on these...amazing stuff will happen. Lots of prayers, I needed...but once you get past the fear, it's show time :)

    Good luck!


    1. Thanks for the comment and the advice, Paul. I have started... I have made an amend without saying I am sorry, wheeew! Thanks for the support, it sure helped a bunch!


Keep moving forward!