My 9th Step, so far.

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.
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matt z
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My 9th Step, so far.

Post by matt z » Tue May 24, 2011 7:01 pm

So, here i am a little bit discontent and the only thing that i can attribute to my uneasiness is my further procrastination on my 9th step. I started out by making amends to my sister who passed away. Then a week later i went to my other sister and took her out to lunch to make amends. All went well. I felt good that i was doing the work that i need to do to remain sober. So, here i am a month later and i haven't had the time to make amends to my aunt. She lives in CT and i talked with my sponsor and he said that a letter would be ok. Mind you, this conversation took place the saturday after my 2nd amends. I haven't met with him, it will be 5 weeks this saturday. I see him at meetings, i talk to him everyday, but i evade the topic of amends. This brings me to monday, recently. He saw me arriving for the meeting and right away i knew he was going to ask me. "Did you write that letter?". No, i did not. I jokingly said that i was resting on my laurels, which is exactly what i've been doing. I have had a taste of the "good life" and find myself unsettled. It bothers me that i am not doing the work that i need to do. My sponsor would say to me: "Now Matt, if it bothers you so much, then why don't you just do it?" I have no fear that i will drink today. Anyways. I went to the 12 & 12 meeting today and was sitting there before the meeting, and i decided to ask another, male, alcoholic what he thought of my situation. Not the right thing to do if i wanted him to say what i wanted to hear. He told me that when i set out to work the steps that i would go to any length to stay sober. He then told me that i needed to discuss this with my sponsor, as he was not my sponsor. He did all of this very diplomatically and with no sympathy for my stuck feeling. Needless to say, i was hurt. My pride had taken a blow, subsequently, i was embarrassed. Just when you think you know something, your own legs jump up and kick yourself in the ass. I know that millions of people before me have done this step. They did not die, hopefully. So, i have to write this letter. I get way inside my head and start thinking about the letter, then get overwhelmed and am paralyzed by inaction. Just like my drinking days. I'll do this, perceived, really big thing and then, nothing. Do other people do this? I'm sure there are others. Can anyone else share a similar experience or any experience about writing a letter to make amends. Sorry it was so long, but i had to get this out of my head.
I always wanted to write something clever and cute, but then i realized that neither one have done much for me.

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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by Joe H » Wed May 25, 2011 9:03 pm

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

When I had trouble making an amends I first read the Promises, meditate on them, and then do two things. I ask myself where and what is my fear, why am I not turning my will and my life over to my God. If this does not produce the result I need I then return to Step 8. Have I forgiven this person or do I still retaain a resentment.

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Blue Moon
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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by Blue Moon » Wed May 25, 2011 10:24 pm

Perhaps a letter is not the approach you should use with this individual.

Do you even owe amends to her? I had one or two prominent names on my 4th Step list to whom I definitely did not owe amends.

To make amends is not about offering a mumbled apology (although that can help), it's to put right the wrong -to a-mend, to fix or correct, to restore. I'm never quite clear how a letter is supposed to achieve this, unless it's a financial amends and includes a payment - if I owe money to someone, writing to say "sorry I didn't pay" is not making any amends... the money is still owed.

Step 9 can be a long, drawn-out deal. It can take many years, sometimes never, to complete. It says "wherever possible", not "whenever". Don't let 9 prohibit moving along with 10-12. In fact, working 11 & 12 can sometimes help.
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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by Lali » Thu May 26, 2011 4:04 am

Blue Moon wrote:It can take many years...to complete.
This cannot be healthy, can it, Ian? Isn't there the possibility one would drink over this?
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by John Boy » Thu May 26, 2011 6:47 am

Sounds like you feel more guilty for not writing the amends letter then the guilt from the actual harm you've done to this individual.

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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by happycamper » Thu May 26, 2011 1:27 pm

For me, making ammends was hard .. to get started on them anyways, but oh the reward when they were done. And yeah, some of them took longer than I had anticipated, and Id dint get drunk over it. I prayed about it all, just like my sponsor suggested.

Just write the letter, do it, and get it in the mail, be done with it. Procrastination is a 5 syllable word for lazy :wink:
Faith without works is dead

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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by Blue Moon » Thu May 26, 2011 4:30 pm

Lali wrote:
Blue Moon wrote:It can take many years...to complete.
This cannot be healthy, can it, Ian? Isn't there the possibility one would drink over this?
No. If you owe a lot of money, you'll not be able to make amends overnight. Likewise for contacting someone you lost contact with. And then there's the caveat "except when to do so would injure them or others" - you have to wait until such time as that caveat no longer applies (if ever).

I'd say that more drink again through trying to make amends too soon, eg when ego is still running the show.
Ian S
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matt z
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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by matt z » Fri May 27, 2011 7:02 pm

I've written the letter. My sponsor and i are going over it tomorrow. I just got to the point where i had to say, you aren't writing a novel. Like it was stated earlier, just do it. Yes, lazy is hitting the nail on the nose. Thanks for everyone's input.
I always wanted to write something clever and cute, but then i realized that neither one have done much for me.

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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by Lali » Sat May 28, 2011 4:37 am

YAY, MATT!!!! I'm happy for you!
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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matt z
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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by matt z » Sat May 28, 2011 8:32 pm

i met with my sponsor today. He didn't point and laugh at me, he didn't say my amends was S***, he just read it and then said i only had to change one sentence. He said that there was valid fear, that's why i was putting it off for such a long time. I explained how uncomfortable i became when i didn't do the work. Before i wrote the letter i read the part about step nine in the big book, i then read all of step nine in the 12 & 12. The letter took me a whopping ten minutes to write. So, for all of the fear- a month's worth, it took me ten minutes to find relief. I did a lot of thinking on this amends, perhaps too much. I have this uncanny ability to look at something, then trying to look at it from every angle. That is trying to control the outcome of something i hadn't even done. Control. Lots and lots of control issues. I can move forward and take this as a lesson that i don't need to put myself in so much pain, rather wallowing in my pain for an extended period of time. What did it come down to. A lot of praying. Talking to my sponsor. Most importantly, just doing it. Millions of alcoholics have done this. I am doing this. I know that if you can do it, and come out alive, then i certainly can do it too. Without any of you I'd still be shut up in my room drinking myself into oblivion. Thank you all for any words, mostly the ones pushing me to do it.
I always wanted to write something clever and cute, but then i realized that neither one have done much for me.

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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by Mike O » Sun May 29, 2011 1:32 am

Well done, Matt. Nice work.
:D

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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by Lali » Sun May 29, 2011 4:29 am

matt z wrote:I can move forward and take this as a lesson that i don't need to put myself in so much pain, rather wallowing in my pain for an extended period of time. What did it come down to. A lot of praying. Talking to my sponsor. Most importantly, just doing it.
(I added the emphasis.)

To me, this shows growth, and in my opinion, continued growth and being teachable are necessary elements of the program of AA. If I'm not growing, I'm stagnant. And for me "stagnant" is quite likely one step away from that first drink. I have to continue to move forward.

Thanks for your share, Matt.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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matt z
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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by matt z » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:13 am

Thanks for the emphasis! :D
I always wanted to write something clever and cute, but then i realized that neither one have done much for me.

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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by ann2 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:56 pm

Awesome share Matt, and good insight into the control thing. If nothing else this experience has let this problem show itself in good time! Excellent work and I thank you for sharing it.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Re: My 9th Step, so far.

Post by happycamper » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:08 pm

Good job !!
Faith without works is dead

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