Steps 8 & 9 Keep it Simple

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.
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Wiganman
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Steps 8 & 9 Keep it Simple

Post by Wiganman » Sat May 18, 2019 1:29 am

Why do we need to do Steps 8 and 9? I have analyzed my behavior in step4, discussed it with my sponsor in step 5 and started the process of modifying my behavior in steps 6 & 7. Human nature makes it difficult for us to approach other people and make amends so why not just be satisfied with the fact that I am changing and I promise to work the last three steps meticulously - just let me skip these 2.

The main benefit I have had from these two steps is being able to walk down the street not worried who I may bump into. I don't have to look away if I am sat in a cafe if a certain person walks in. Those fears have been removed because I was able to make my amends to people I would otherwise avoid.

Fear is always a part with these 2 steps but with the guidance of a sponsor it needn't be.

Step 8 says "Made a list of All persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all"

We already have a list we made it in our step 4 inventory. With my sponsor we processed the list into 3 groups - easy, medium and hard. I said to my sponsor I was willing to make amends to each person on that list although some of them did fill me with some discomfort.

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

My sponsor did some role-playing with me so I could practice for any response I may receive.

At this point its worth noting the meaning of "amend". It means to change. I am offering a change to someone. This is different to an apology. I spent 20 years apologizing to people and that never worked. Another apology would not be received very well. I am also not going to these people and bringing up every single incident of the past. I am going to them and telling them that I now know what I have done in the past to harm them, that I have acted in a very selfish, self-centered and dishonest way which has hurt them. I then offer the amend which is that I am working a programme in my life which is helping me to become a better person who will be less selfish, less self-centered and live an honest life. I intend to work this programme for the rest of m life.I then ask them if they have anything to add. In almost all of my cases I got a positive response because people are not used to being approached in this way.

Throughout this I didn't mention alcohol. That would be seen as an excuse and they probably wouldn't accept that. I know from my previous steps that alcohol is just a symptom the real problem has been my personality defects.

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Brock
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Re: Steps 8 & 9 Keep it Simple

Post by Brock » Sat May 18, 2019 12:35 pm

Thanks Wiganman, for a first class description of #’s 8 & 9.
With my sponsor we processed the list into 3 groups - easy, medium and hard.
When some still have lingering resentments towards people on the list, and feel the person was more at fault than them, they sometimes rebel a bit and say they can’t ever approach that person. A good heading for the three groups in such a case is, right away, soon and never. I have seen this work well, when the right away is done successfully they feel good and confident, the soon list is then done, and they then change their minds about the ‘never’ list.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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avaneesh912
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Re: Steps 8 & 9 Keep it Simple

Post by avaneesh912 » Sun May 19, 2019 5:13 am

Very awesome post!
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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PaigeB
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Re: Steps 8 & 9 Keep it Simple

Post by PaigeB » Sun May 19, 2019 12:28 pm

At this point its worth noting the meaning of "amend". It means to change. I am offering a change to someone. This is different to an apology. I spent 20 years apologizing to people and that never worked. Another apology would not be received very well. I am also not going to these people and bringing up every single incident of the past. I am going to them and telling them that I now know what I have done in the past to harm them, that I have acted in a very selfish, self-centered and dishonest way which has hurt them. I then offer the amend which is that I am working a programme in my life which is helping me to become a better person who will be less selfish, less self-centered and live an honest life. I intend to work this programme for the rest of my life.
Wow - Thank you. I had 2 revelations while reading this... one, I am done with Step 8. I keep saying "I am on 8 & 9"... but I am just on 9. Two... The definition of the word amend. I am ever one to look up words for their meaning or further meaning, but I never looked up "amend". ALSO I was a legal assistant all my career and we "Amend" documents - THAT specifically means "Make Changes". How is it, that all this time - a decade - and knowing "apologizing to people and that never worked"... that I missed the "promise/offer of change" to the person on the other side of the table in Step 9!?!?

Seriously THAT is exactly HOW this program works... I am listening to you as one alkie to another. You bring a different language to the table - likely based on geography and sponsorship lineage. It is completely NEW to me to make an amend thinking "I am offering change." THAT is just in time for me finishing my harder amends... people I made initial amends to but now I know more and know different. I want to go back to them after a crisis and a 2nd trip through the Steps. Perfect. Synchronicity. God Conscious. Thank You from the bottom of my heart - aka my innermost self.

Then I ask: Is there anything more that I can do to make this right with you? If they say, "Give me a million dollars" I can sincerely say, "Let me discuss that with my (spiritual) adviser."
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

maurits
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Re: Steps 8 & 9 Keep it Simple

Post by maurits » Mon May 20, 2019 11:14 am

Wiganman wrote:
The main benefit I have had from these two steps is being able to walk down the street not worried who I may bump into.
yes indeed same here :-)

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