Keep It Green
“We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” The first three steps helped me to stop living in the future. The next four steps helped me learn to deal with myself in the present. Steps eight and nine helped me deal with my guilt and shame over the past. Step eight wasn’t so bad because it’s just making a list of all persons I had harmed and becoming willing to make those amends. But step nine was a little scary for me.
Direct amends were not my favorite part of this program. There are some that I still owe. In going over each of them with my sponsor, we found that there were a couple I needed to go ahead and make right away. Others should wait until my Higher Power allowed our paths to cross. On those, I just have to remain willing to make them when it is time. But it’s hard to get humble and admit that I was wrong and try to make those situations right. It took a lot of courage and faith as well. I had to remember that it was not the person’s response to my amends that mattered; it was that I did my part and cleaned up my side of the street.
The part of the ninth step that was truly life changing for me was the living amends. These are the amends I make on a daily basis in my relationships with others and society at large. I am not the same person I used to be. I’m certainly not perfect, but I make a conscious effort every day to do things differently. Instead of stealing, today I am giving – of both my time and my money. I am a better mother, daughter, employee, and friend than I used to be. Staying clean and living my life differently is often the best amends that I can make.
“We did many people great harm, but most of all we harmed ourselves.” I have to remember that I owe myself amends as well. “Easy does it” and “Give yourself a break” help me make those amends to myself. Today I don’t have to be perfect. I allow myself to take time to care for myself so that I have something to offer. I don’t have to people please today or pretend to be something that I’m not. No is a complete sentence. Humility, love and forgiveness are the spiritual principles of the ninth step. What a miracle those principles are for an addict like me!