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Step 9
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others.

Now it is time to act on what we learned about ourselves in step 8. We need to go and apologize. You can hold on to pride and stay stuck, or let go and move on.

If apologizing were easy, it wouldn't have to be listed as a step, would it? It's hard either because of pride, or because we don't want to be sincere or we want to avoid conflict or reality. All of those things got us here in the first place.

If people like you and me liked apologizing, we wouldn't be here, would we? I used to like the idea of getting away with my mistakes, and that was self-deception.

We are here, and we need to do this for ourselves. Just for today.

One reason we don't want to make amends, is fear of them slugging us. Another is pride, our egos don't really want to admit our errors and bad ways. Ignorance seems to be bliss at times like this. I'd rather forget some things I did, and hope that everyone came out okay, and I don't want to check up on them! There's the shame and guilt of what has been done. There's also the development of character that says its time to take care of things.

Fear, Pride, Shame and Guilt. All four are focused on us, and all four drove us to our "drug of choice" in the first place. Anything that breaks the hold these four have on us is a good idea, so let's get on with the apologies.

Another reason to no apologize and seek forgiveness, is that we may end up forgiving someone whom we do want to forgive! You may be so angry at someone, and in denial of it, that you don't want to even think about forgiveness.

Ah, well. Do it anyway.

Apologize, then listen. If they are verbally abusive, remember you 'earned' the abuse, they have a right to be angry, and just let it pass. Don't give in to the old way of doing business, don't defend yourself,  you know where that leads! Besides, you may be surprised, they may be more humane than you and I deserve. Most folks will be somewhere in between. Remember that their reaction or response is not what matters here, it's you letting go of the consequences and doing the right thing.

It's your courage, your determination to escape your drug of choice!

There is a good reason to not put somebody on this list. If going to them would be bad FOR THEM, don't go. We don't want to injure people, we want to provide opportunities for healing.

An example could be the husband/wife of someone you had a one-night stand with a long time ago! It may damage their current marriage too much, so just eat crow about it and take it to your Higher Power instead. Take them all to your Higher Power, otherwise leave some alone!

You are not out to do harm, but to enable healing.

* The Twelve Steps are reprinted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that A.A. has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that A.A. agrees with the views expressed herein. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism. Use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs which are patterned after A.A. but which address other problems does not imply otherwise.

The complete Serenity Prayer is also available on this website.