Almost every person I have met in recovery has mentioned to me that they dreaded the same exact thing when working the 12 steps. Step nine. “We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Yep, that Step nine. Facing the fallout is what I call it. That is how it has felt to me throughout these last several months of recovery and working through the steps with my sponsor. How on earth am I going to be able to make amends to everyone I hurt?
In step eight, I made a list of all those I had harmed and became willing to make amends. The steps are in order for a reason. Amazing how sanctification works. Webster’s dictionary defines sanctification as “the state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment.” Note it says the state of growing, not of instantly becoming. I hate that part of the definition. I would prefer it to happen instantly. Growing means over a long time period. A continuous act of becoming more mature. Not what I wanted to hear.
As I continue this journey down the path of sanctification, patience and trust have been two areas of growth in my life. I have struggled with these areas before and after recovery. In my life before recovery, I didn’t trust God and therefore didn’t have patience to wait for Him to work in my life. As I work through the 12 steps and in my recovery, daily I am learning to lean into God with my life and my will. That also means stepping into His timing as well. Which for me means practicing an immense amount of patience. And that brings me to step nine.
We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. – Step Nine.
Amends. According to Miriam-Webster, amends is “to compensate for a loss or injury.” I wouldn’t have been ready for this a month ago, or two months ago or when I entered recovery. I thought I would never be ready for this. I was like many other people I know in recovery. I was afraid of this step. Afraid to face the people that I had harmed in my addiction. Those that I had disregarded in my descent into self destruction and selfishness. My wife, my kids, my mother in law, my friends and family. All those that I had lied to, damaged from my selfishness and manipulation. I did not think I would ever be at a point where I was ready to face them with rigorous honesty, seeking to make amends for the damage I had caused them.
Yet…here I am. I have a list. I have prayed over it. I have divided those on my list in three groups. Group one has only one name…my wife. Her amends is special and only for her. Group two are those I will meet with face to face, those that I believe I can talk to without causing them or my wife or children any further damage. Group three are those I can’t make direct amends with, those that seeing would further injure them or cause my wife and children damage.
So now its time to make amends.