Here we are at step nine, a place of making peace with those we have harmed. The real question is how do we address those we’ve harmed so long ago and who it would bring harm to them if we contacted them. We don’t contact them. I have so many people that I will never contact. The difference is there are those who I made direct amends too. These were my living amends. My wife was one. It was difficult in the beginning to think about giving an amends to her because of all the pain I have caused her. But I learned that this was not the case. Once I began with the amends it got easier to complete. Her response was so compassionate it made me cry. Doing amends is not for just us, rather to heal the wound that has divided us from those we love or loved. I loved doing my ninth step once I got over the initial fear. This step is a very healing step.
One of the things that I have noticed is the lack of discussion on healthy living. In essence what we all strive to live by. I know for me while I was in my addiction the last thing that was on my mind was healthy living. Why would I want to spend more time with my wife or kids…they cut into my acting out. For the longest time I would wonder where all my hobbies had gone to. Why wasn’t I enjoying reading that good book? Why wasn’t I relaxed spending time with just me. Today, I am blessed to be in recovery. The solution to my unmanageable life. The gift that keeps on giving just one day at a time. I know from my experience that if I was left to my own devices I could quickly crash and burn. God knows I’ve seen too much destruction in my short life. Today I love spending time with my family and hobbies and know how supported I am by my higher power. My lifeline. Today we should celebrate healthy living and the rewards of recovery.
Step eight is a very somber step. We are asked to make a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. Now it is true I started to take responsibility for all those that I had harmed, but was I willing to make amends to them all. That was the rub. Working steps four through seven I was making it clearer as who did the harming. Now in step eight I wanted to be responsible. I made my list and like the Christmas song, I checked it twice…even three and four times. I wanted to be clear on who I had harmed. I asked my sponsor for support in this area just to make sure I was doing it right. There were two people on my list that I was unwilling to make amends to. Those two people I went through the process but each time I tried to make amends towards them I just couldn’t. My sponsor said, “In time you’ll change your mind.” I hope he’s right. With step eight we clean our slate and move towards step nine.