Step Nine amends

12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.
garden variety
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Step Nine amends

Postby garden variety » Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:53 am

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

Yesterday was a day that fell into the category of "wherever possible". A chance came up to make amends with a friend that I owed money to. Yesterday I wrote out a check to him for $1225 bucks which is what I owed him from a loan I made shortly after I went back out drinking. I was homeless, and I needed money to pay my attorney for the divorce. My friend had a good enough heart to lend me the money. I had been paying him back in sobriety, but financial problems always seemed to get the best of me, but he was understanding and never even really expected me to pay him back as much as I did.

When I called him yesterday he was even more surprised. It was an "unexpected windfall" for him that caught him off guard - he was happy and thankful. He told me yesterday he never expected to get any of this back. I know why.

He was a drinking buddy. He knew I was drunk and couldn't be counted on. I don't think he's an alcoholic, but he knew me pretty well. And he was right in feeling that he didn't expect to get anything back. Even yesterday, when I called him, it went against everything inside me. I didn't want to pay him back.

He was the "best friend" that betrayed me and went after my wife at the beginning of our split up. As he was doing this, I noticed that he was spending time with her, so I asked him if he was doing what it looked like he was doing. He swore up and down that he would never do that to me, because we were best friends since 8th grade. He would never hurt me that way. He convinced me at the time - and I believed his lie until about a year ago when my wife out of the blue told me the truth. Now this was stuff that happened some 15 years ago.

She told me because she saw that I was being honest with her, and "going to any length" to make amends and make things right. She appreciated what I did for her and still do as she needs help. She told me the story, and she apologized to me. She was sorry for true. She was crying and all, and she wasn't trying to get between my "best friend" and me because we hadn't talked or seen each other for a long time anyhow.

I told my ex that I was proud of her for being honest and coming clean. I forgave her without much thought. But it was harder reaching that point of forgiveness with my best friend. He went on my prayer list - for those people that were enemies - those people who did me wrong. Over time the anger went away, but I was sad about it. I also knew we can't be "best friends" anymore. A certain level of trust just vanished into thin air.

Yesterday, once again, I did what you guys taught me - I accepted the things I can't change. I forgave him, I paid him back what I owed him. I cleaned up my side of the street. I told him don't be a stranger and reminded him the phone works when you pick it up and dial. I took him off my prayer list of "enemies" and put him on the list of my "loved ones". Even as I post this, I could go back to thinking of him badly - but it is finally over. I now have that freedom to choose the best reaction. I can look back there, and now there's nothing but an empty space where a resentment used to be.

I can remember how the resentment felt, and there is not a sense of "bliss" because it's gone. It was something that I was holding onto that took a long time to let go. It was almost like a suit I wore from time to time - it was "comfortable" in a peculiar way.

But God as I understand Him gently undid something I know I could never undo. He showed me that I was just as capable of doing the same thing. God showed me that I can be pretty ugly if I take that first drink. God showed me that if I drink, "all bets are off".

It's another one of those crazy examples of "serenity" really taking a stronghold in my life in an "intuitive" way. It's that peculiar sense of peace and happiness that is deep within my soul that I could never feel before. How it got there is a miracle to me because I can look at everything and honestly say, of all places for peace and happiness to be showing up, that's the last place on earth I'd expect to find it. In a place that "normal" people hold for the worst hurts of their lives.

That's where that peculiar little turtle of "acceptance" is sticking out it's head today. Seems like I'm finding this peculiar creature in the oddest places lately. But acceptance is there - honestly and for real. I looked for bad feelings in the darkest place, but somehow they all disappeared. Nothing there but this peculiar little turtle poking out its head to get a sense of "living in the now."

Wow guys and gals - look what you've taught me! You taught me how to ride my two-wheeler in places that I never thought it could go. Pretty soon I'll be saying "Wee - Look mom no hands!"

Here is the best blessing that you taught me: I can attend to the here and now with grace and dignity.

God you guys weren't lying! Today is better than yesterday was.

I am blessed for knowing and listening to all of you. Thank you for giving me a life that I never thought was possible. And thanks again for loving me.

I might be over "half-way through" in doing the ninth step today, but I'm still just as amazed as I was at first.

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Postby carol1017 » Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:39 pm

And once again, you have shown us the power of the program at work in your life.

Thank you.

You are a miracle.

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Postby Dallas » Sun Nov 11, 2007 6:19 pm

Thanks for sharing that with us, Paul.

That HAD to be a tough one to do!

Sometimes, I just hate it... when I have to do the right thing for me and some jerk get's a windfall out of the deal! :lol:

There's one thing for sure about these amends:
1. There really is a God.
2. The program really does work.
3. Or, we're just as stupid as stupid can get it!!! :lol: :lol:

I understand with what you shared.

Been down some of those paths, myself.

My hat is off to you. You sure treated him better than I could have done! :lol:

Someday... when I grow up and get a little spirituality ... or, if I ever grow up .... and get a little spiritual... I might realize that I've grown a little bit.

Thanks again, Paul. Your story helps me for when my head starts saying to me "You did what? You made amends to that crack-pot?" :lol: :lol:

But, we do it, anyway! :wink:

Dallas B.

garden variety
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Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:06 pm

If you look at my user name "garden variety" for just a second.

That is what you taught me, That I'm really not different than any other alcoholic, I'm just a garden variety drunk that got Grace and Mercy.

I do thank you and appreciate all of your kind words. I didn't hear kind words when I was drinking so they really are appreciated. I'm not trying to convey a sense of modesty or "sugar sweet" humility either.

What I'm learning at the spiritual level is that it would be impossible for me to make amends in a situation like this. That's where God steps in. With a Higher Power, what was once impossible not only becomes possible, it actually happens "in the twinkling of an eye".

It's when ordinary garden variety people like you and me, or some garden variety Buddhist in Tibet hears the Voice in his or her soul - and its so compelling that we're literally driven into action. "In the twinkling of an eye" means to me that I don't have the time to think about it. I'm learning by watching folks in this fellowship that this is how an Extraordinary God manifests Himself - through ordinary people who "suddenly" rise up to an extraordinary circumstance.

Today, that might be you or me, or Vicki, or Annie, or Debbie, or Tina, or Lou, or Anne Marie. Tomorrow it might be someone else. What I'm saying is this gift is available for anyone. The "gift" being a working personal relationship with the God of the Universe. I've found that this "gift" will remove any limitations - at almost any time.

In other words, those "reactions" that I just "underwent" with my ex-girlfriend and my ex-best friend are reactions that came about through none of my own power or doing. Read the Appendix II in the book and it says "he will undergo a profound alteration in his reaction to life" and he hardly even recognizes or is aware of it. But to others in the fellowship, they see it and bring it to the alcoholic's attention.

You don't have to be a spiritual "grown-up". I've seen the same kind of "extraordinary" things happen in folks that have less than 30 days sober. I believe the same Power that was available to glide me through a couple thorny bushes along my path, is available to any man or woman in this fellowship regardless of age or time sober. All I do is believe - like a child - that I can "ride a bike" just like the big kids do - and those miracles happen - or as Carol said, I become the miracle. Is that a blessing or what?

It's a beautiful and simple thing - thanks again for teaching it to me.

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Postby Dallas » Sun Nov 11, 2007 11:21 pm

Paul wrote:What I'm learning at the spiritual level is that it would be impossible for me to make amends in a situation like this. That's where God steps in. With a Higher Power, what was once impossible not only becomes possible, it actually happens "in the twinkling of an eye".

Yup. That's what turned me around in my beliefs about God. It was Step 9. It took my lack of belief... and turned it into real faith.

I always thought you had to have belief to have faith. Maybe, I'm the only guy out here that has and does this... but, my faith is not tied to my beliefs about God.

My faith came through actions... not belief. And, it was the actions of making amends.

The actions of making amends, and the actions of not drinking -- proved to me that there was a God who would help me.... because on my own, I couldn't do either one -- make amends or not drink. :lol: He helped me and that caused me to have faith.

The reasons that I don't tie my faith to my belief is: my belief's are always changing. If they change on a day when I need the faith -- I'm screwed.

The one belief that doesn't change for me... is that my situation changes and I change through actions. So, I believe in taking the actions.... and that doesn't change. :wink:

I almost forgot what I was writing about... but, here it is:

If I stay child-like... I can learn, I can grow, and every moment is a fresh and new moment. It can help me to stay right-sized in regards to God, myself, others, A.A., and Life. I'm in no hurry!

It's good for me, when I can keep myself in a place of dependance on God. When I don't do that -- circumstances and situations will step in to keep me where I need to be. I've found, that it's much softer and gentler, when I can do it. :wink:


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Postby carol1017 » Sun Nov 11, 2007 11:53 pm

Wow -- I love it when someone puts the words to what I'm thinking!

Maybe, I'm the only guy out here that has and does this... but, my faith is not tied to my beliefs about God.

You're not the only one, Dallas! I had to stop and think for a few minutes after I read your post (had to give my last living brain cell time to absorb it), and I realized that my faith also is not tied to my beliefs about God.

My faith is in the process -- or as you said, taking the action. I have learned that by taking certain actions, I can expect certain results (something I never seemed to figure out while drinking). I have also learned that "right living" comes through right actions -- not just right thinking. I know that if something disturbs me, there is generally something wrong with ME, and I can work to change that rather than complaining that the world is against me.

I don't want to say that God has nothing to do with it, because I know that some things that happen in my life can only be categorized as as divine intervention (or serendipity, or coincidence). But I do know that if I follow the right path and just keep doing the next right thing, the God of my understanding (or misunderstanding) will be right there with me.

Paul, just so you know, I don't read anything like false modesty or saccharine humility in your recent posts. What I see is someone who is totally amazed that it works -- it really, really works! That in itself is remarkable, because so many times, people get jaded -- they can take the process for granted, and forget the miracle. What makes you more than "garden variety" is that you do not take it for granted, and that your sense of wonder and amazement is still as fresh as when you were a newcomer. That is humility.

I love to hear how people are living in the solution!

Thanks to both of you -- I've learned a lot today!

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Postby anniemac » Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:08 am

Thanks, took a little doing for me to sit still and read this thread, but it was worth it. Great stuff.

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My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:40 pm

Thank you Carol. I'm not even sure how to put this?? You put the right words on what humility is...a small awakening as it were, for me. When I am "in the process" of doing something, ie: approaching a situation that I would have once found extremely I proceed thru the situation, conscious of the contact with God as I understand Him...instead of feeling that rush of rage that would boil over due to the stress I could not manage...I instead feel a different 'rush''s a rush of peace, of serenity. Positive, not negative. In this, I realize that this, in turn, is the program at work as I practice the principles in all affairs. I will walk away with a sense of wonder. In making amends, I will walk away with a sense of wonder, and awe>>>like, wow! This stuff really works! (Imagine that :wink: ).

It works if you work it.
Anne M.

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