So far, peeling the onion of your life really only involved you. Striping away the layers of hurt, habits and hang-ups requires dedicated introspection. Making amends stretches our faith and trust in our Higher Power.
Up until now, our work is mostly private. Maybe our friends and family have noticed a change in our behavior or attitude. The brunt of our understanding to this point is between ourselves and our sponsor or accountability group.
Ready to Make Amends?
Do no harm. Step 9 specifically cautions us to make amends except when to do so would injure them ( the person receiving the amends) or others. You the amends maker are implicitly included in this group.
Re-injury or putting yourself or others in danger certainly does not benefit anyone. Amends need to be rehearsed with your sponsor. A letter, a phone call, a public meeting place maybe wise choices for more volatile situations.
How to Make An Amends
Use this as a basic outline for the amends process. Do not go it alone. Make sure your sponsor or accountability group feel you are ready to proceed. Remember your list from Step 8. Some amends just need time to mature.
- Clarify with your sponsor the exact event(s) for which you are apologizing.
- Draft what you are going to say and review with sponsor.
- Pick a method of contact–letter, email, phone, in person.
- Prayer– God will give you his perfect timing.
- If in person or by phone, ask for a time to call or meet that is convenient for the other person.
- Proceed with the delivery of the amends without expectation.
- Clarify–if there is anything you might have missed and is there anything you can repair.
- Review requests and/or experience of giving an amends with your sponsor.
What if the Person Won’t Meet With Me?
It is a real possibility that the other person or persons involved may not be ready to deal with your request. Additionally, as we shared in the video, amends may not be accepted.
Earnestly making an apology, listening, and reviewing requests to repair the damage is all that is required at this initial meeting. Congratulations, you completed an amends for Step 9–now breathe!
Extensive requests from the person you are making amends with and refusals to accept apologies need to be reviewed with your sponsor. Your sponsor provides a second set of unemotionally involved eyes on the situation.
A non-accepted apology may feel like a failure. Learning to be responsible for your side of the street demands a new skill set. If you deliver your apology with earnestness and honesty you are done. Healing the relationship is not solely your responsibility. Your Higher Power and the other person are players, too.
The Power of Forgiveness
Always be very clear who benefits from an apology–You. Seeking forgiveness in the repair of a wronged relationship is a divine act. Like stretching the body, this act stretches our being beyond our animal mind. In the act alone we embody one of God’s greatest gifts–the ability to create. Create peace and joy where pain stood.
Forgiveness offers, inner peace with ourselves, deep peace between ourselves and God and possible peace between ourselves and the outer world.
Maturity and growth comes from this type of forgiveness. Read more in this tale from Kimberly’s own life with an alcoholic father.
True forgiveness sets us and those around us free.
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