In step eight we took inventory of all of the people we had hurt and how it had affected us; and in step nine we lay out a plan of action with our trusted sponsor. We discuss how we can execute making amends with them except when it would be problematic for them or us. For example there might be past relationships that come to a point where it would be easier to “bury the hatchet” by not ever saying anything bad about them ever again rather than contacting the person directly because doing so would damage their current situation (eg marriage or work).
Step nine might sound like a harsh and frightening dose of reality if we are not prepared for it, but truly when are we ever really prepared for anything? I believe the best way to receive healing and to grow, is to face the fear and go through it rather than to run away from it. The pain of doing things we might not always want to do makes us stronger, wiser and better people for ourselves and for the world.
Truly though we never have to be afraid because God is always with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. And when we really meditate on that and trust in that, we can be confident to move forward in step nine and in anything that life brings our way.
Thank you to The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop for the following questions.
Long Awaited Healing
1. Who are the people on my Step Eight list who strike the most intense fear in my heart when I think about making amends, face-to-face?
2. Do I have supportive people who help me gain willingness to take such a challenging step? Do I have an advisor or sponsor to work with me?
2 Samuel 9:1-9
1. How have my thoughts/opinions/ideas affected the decisions I have made?
2. Is there anyone to whom I owe amends due to forgetting, either on purpose or unintentionally, to fulfill a promise?
Covering the Past
1. What forms of harm listed in Step Eight do I resist giving up in order to make amends with another?
2. What fears keep me from the life-giving process of Step Nine?
1. What is my usual response or reaction to brokenness?
2. Does my amends list include people that have something against me? If so, do I have difficulty finding the courage to deal with them?
From Taker to Giver
1. List financial amends that you owe. Name the people and amounts:
2. Am I willing to go to any lengths to offer amends? What risks are involved?
1. How far will I go to restore a relationship with another person, with God, and with myself?
2. Do I have any unfinished business left on my list? List these categories:
Money owed to people/jobs/businesses:
Any laws broken:
Broken; painful relationships:
3. Am I waiting for the certainty of forgiveness before I make amends? Am I willing to take the risk? Explain:
A Servant’s Heart
1 Peter 2:18-25
1. What am I afraid will happen when I attempt to make amends?
2. Do I fear that painful consequences will cause me suffering if I make amends? If so what is the worst that could happen?
3. Do I trust God’s will for me if I follow the challenge of Step Nine?
4. Which of the Twelve Steps do I need to focus on before I make these fearsome amends?