When approaching the prospect of making amends one of the most important things to remember is that you are not an island. I am not my strongest self alone, it is when unified in a common focus that we are our mightiest. It is upon careful review and critical consideration, with a trusted guide, that your pathway towards amends making will become clear. The road to rectifying our past harms to others is a personal one. It is necessary to take time and not rush into an amends. Many have founds themselves in the position to make amends later for having rushed too quickly into apologizing for behavior that they were not yet ready to change within themselves. If I apologize for behavior that I am destined to repeat, because I am not willing to alter that area of my life, then an amends is rather empty, isn’t it? This is a process of learning to live new lives of integrity – wherein we honor others and learn to honor ourselves. A path to freedom.
Write down the answers to the following questions:
1. Why is it necessary for amends to be more than simply saying, “I’m sorry?”
2. How is making amends a commitment to the continuous process of changing your behavior?
3. What do you think about making amends to people or institutions that have harmed you?
4. What can you do to keep the focus on yourself and your part, rather than on your perceived faults of the other person or institution?
5. Do you have any hidden motives about making amends; desired outcomes, or behaviors you want others to have after you make your amends?
6. How can you let go of the outcome of your amends, when taking into consideration that you have no control over the other person’s response?
7. When reviewing the list of people or institutions you have harmed, and owe amends, will you harm come to anyone as a result of your making an amend?
8. How can you accept responsibility for the harm you have caused others? In what ways can you be of service and make specific amends to those you have harmed?
9. What are “living amends” you can make to yourself for harms you’ve done to you?
All of the energy you invest in cleaning up your past behavior by making amends to others you have harmed, including yourself, is not only an altruistic venture to be of service to others. There are 12 rays of hope available to you as you go through this process known as The Step 9 Promises. Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. These promises are personal gifts gained from making strides in your recovery.
10. List ways each of the 12 Promises, listed below, has begun to manifest in your life:
“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development:
- We will be amazed before we are half way through.
- We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
- We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
- We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
- No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
- That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
- We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
- Self-seeking will slip away.
- Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.
- Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.
- We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
- We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not.
They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”
[Alcoholics Anonymous pgs. 83-84]
© Amanda Lee