My step 9 destiny all started when I was born with red hair. Really, there’s something to that Irish heritage. When I was 30, I lost the red during pregnancy. Turns out my son got it when he was born!After a
After a while, I started dying it red again because, as a good friend advised me, Strangers need a fair warning when you’re approaching! For 20 years, I kept up the ritual. After I started the AA program, I decided to be done with all the facades and I quit dyeing it. Also, I like to think that I was no longer a danger to strangers. In reality, the danger was to those closest to me and the greatest damage I’ve done is to friends, family, and co-workers. It made me sad to realize how much I’ve hurt others, but because of Step 9 I’m no longer filled with remorse.
Step 9 states, Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. ~ AA page 59
I translate this to mean the following:
- direct amends- face to face preferably, if not possible then I’ve used phone or email
- wherever possible- providing they are still alive and I have a contact method
- exception- when it will cause harm to others.
Joe and Charlie taught that using the phone or mail would leave you wondering how things are going to be between the two of you if you run into one another later. They taught that direct amends meant eyeball-to-eyeball. I live in Texas now and my big amends that I’d repressed were to people in Iowa. I didn’t wait for that opportunity, but called one and, having no phone number, emailed the other. It seemed wrong to me to wait any longer when I have no plans to ever return to the Midwest.
Step 9 is one of those steps that I will continue to work the rest of my life. It’s been like an inverted pyramid for me. At first I went to a lot of people and set things right. Then, I’d do something wrong again and need to make another amends. But gradually there have been fewer instances where I do anything that calls for an amends. Living by the AA code makes it easy to keep current with my wrongs.
Also, I know what’s next if I yield to the temptation to bite back when someone nips at me. Wanting to avoid another Step 9 amends is what keeps a lot of us alcoholics in line until God has removed enough of our character defects that we don’t have to suffer remorse after each difficult interaction. We have then formed the right habits to replace our alcoholic and reactive tendencies. No one needs to be forewarned. It no longer matters what color of hair I have.