Step Nine
Alcoholics Anonymous

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous describes step nine as follows:

Now we need more action, without which we find that "Faith without works is dead." Let's look at Steps Eight and Nine. We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory. We subjected ourselves to a drastic self-appraisal. Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves. If we haven't the will to do this, we ask until it comes. Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over alcohol. Pg 76
Step nine is often a step that is misunderstood by those that are attempting to clear away their side of the street. The whole idea behind step nine is to make amends to those that I have hurt so that I can give them a chance to drop the resentment that they might be carrying against me, not just say I'm sorry and somehow make myself look good to others or make me feel better about myself. Step nine is a humbling series of events that when done with the conclusions of how I have treated others firmly set in place, begins to set me free.: We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Pg 84

I will come to be at total peace with everything and everyone regardless of how they might still view me. I will have cleaned myself, through Gods grace and mercy, to become of maximum service to Him.:At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us. Pg 77

Although there are some definitive suggestions on how I go about making an amends to someone we are not going to get into specific directions. We know that the work is done one recovered alcoholic working with one untreated alcoholic: But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished. Pg 18

Once again we will talk about some of the things that become evident as I do the work required in the ninth step, and continue to grow spiritually. As with the entire program of Alcoholics Anonymous I must keep giving so that I may receive. This is especially true with step nine! I have already become aware of the way that I have hurt others. I see that holding onto resentments toward anyone only keeps me blocked from the only Power that can give me any peace and serenity. I have seen through my own experience that the way others have treated me in the past has brought about fear, depression, anxiety, jealousy and a host of different emotions that usually turns to anger and brings me into a state where I am blocked from God and unable to be productive in most aspects of my life. In this state I affect others in ways that I don't see. Ways that I would never have seen until God opened my eyes through the process of the program of action. I have come to see that my illness is not unique to me: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, "This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done."
We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn't treat sick people that way. If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful. We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one.
Pg 66-67

In step nine I am actually given the opportunity to be of help to those who still suffer. Most of the people that I will attempt to talk with about harms done or money owed are in the same boat I was in before I started the program of action. In making amends to them I will give them the chance to put behind them any ill feelings that they might have toward me that is contributing to blocking them from our Creator.: If our manner is calm, frank, and open, we will be gratified with the result. In nine cases out of ten the unexpected happens. Sometimes the man we are calling upon admits his own fault, so feuds of years' standing melt away in an hour. Rarely do we fail to make satisfactory progress. Our former enemies sometimes praise what we are doing and wish us well. Occasionally, they will offer assistance. Pg 78

I can't save the world but I have the ability to take care of wrongs that I have done to others.: We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing that nothing worth while can be accomplished until we do so, ... Pg 77-78

We might not always get the response that we had hoped we would. This does not matter. We have done what God would have us do and afforded them the opportunity to have God take down a piece of their own wall that they have built.: It should not matter, however, if someone does throw us out of his office. We have made our demonstration, done our part. It's water over the dam. Pg 78

With each and every amends that is heartfelt and done with the welfare of the other person utmost in our minds, God takes away a piece of what has kept me from complete and utter abandonment to Him.: 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. Pg 83-84

As with my harms list I may have a list of people that I owe money to. I also am going to do the best that I can to take care of any bills or debts that I have acquired in other ways and do my part to pay these back. I am quite sure to have caused some resentments in others by my past behavior.: Most alcoholics owe money. We do not dodge our creditors. Telling them what we are trying to do, we make no bones about our drinking; they usually know it anyway, whether we think so or not. Nor are we afraid of disclosing our alcoholism on the theory it may cause financial harm. Approached in this way, the most ruthless creditor will sometimes surprise us. Arranging the best deal we can we let these people know we are sorry. Our drinking has made us slow to pay. We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them. Pg 78

As I continue to move forward in my amends list I will be helping others to do what is pleasing to God and in so doing I will set myself up to be rewarded from my Creator in ways that go beyond anything that I have ever imagined were possible.: As God's people we stand on our feet; we don't crawl before anyone.
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 upon life will change. Fear of people and of 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.
Pg 83-84

We have now gotten to a point in the 12 steps that we are ready to live our life, staying in the moment, placing ourselves to be of help where we are needed. We may never be completely done with our ninth step, but we have done the best we could to honestly make amends to all on our list. God will continue to put the opportunities in front of us and we must be willing to make any amends that the Lord will reveal to us in the future.
Now let's take a look at the so called maintenance steps 10-12. We already have been doing these since our beginning. But now these will begin to take on a whole new meaning for us. The more we strive to do what God would have us do, the more we continue to grow in Gods mercy and love. Let's take a look at step 10.

step 10