Making Amends in AA
The Serenity Prayer recited at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings mentions the courage to do things that can be changed. This courage is especially needed by those in recovery when the time comes to look back and decide what amends are needed. However, this can be a significant healing step with careful thought and proper action. Read on to learn about making amends in AA.
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Making Your Humbling List
The eighth step of AA’s 12-Step Program instructs the person in recovery to make a list of everyone their addiction has harmed and to be willing to make amends to each one. This step is not taken lightly. It requires setting your pride aside and honestly assessing what damage your addiction has brought into other people’s lives. The damage could be financial, physical, relational, or familial. This list should be exhaustive and include those to whom making amends might seem an impossible task.
However, if viewed as the opportunity to end the isolation caused by addiction and reestablish relationships, it can help propel you toward your sobriety goals. It may be helpful to prioritize your list into various categories to make this step more effective. At the top of this list are those you need to make immediate contact with. Others on your list may include those to whom it will never be possible to make complete amends or those which may be seen as less urgent, and nothing would be harmed in delaying contact. Finally, it is also helpful to include on your list those that you doubt you can ever reestablish any contact with.
Step 9 Making Amends in AA
After you have made your list and become willing to make amends, you are ready for the ninth step. This step asks you to make direct amends with those on your list. The instruction to make amends directly requires courage in some instances. However, direct action helps eliminate delay or avoidance due to any discomfort that you perceive could result. The progress and healing benefit comes from making an honest, forthright, and complete effort. This is true regardless of how it is received. The effort is often well received, and a relationship is restored. However, some are unwilling or believe they are unable to move past the harm done to them.
The One Condition
Making amends is more than a simple step to remove guilt and move you closer to sobriety. The ninth step ensures that making amends would not harm the person you are reaching out to. Although you receive tremendous benefits from making amends, you must consider how this affects the other person. You do not want this step to open old wounds or inflict new injuries.
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