Cleaning Up The Wreckage Of Guilt and Shame
Step Nine – Made direct amends to all people we had harmed.
I used to think that people only deserved my forgiveness if they asked for my forgiveness.I now live by the principle that I need to forgive regardless of who’s at fault it is.
This is where the rubber meets the road! This is actually a very cool step to take. I cannot even begin to describe the miracles that have taken place in my life, and the lives of the people that I have made amends to. Making amends is not just about your own personal freedom from the bondage of fear and guilt, it is freedom for the people we have hurt too. When people are freed from the prison of their pain caused by others, forgiveness immediately clears the wreckage of everyone’s past and the slate is now clean. Who wouldn’t want that for themselves and others?
The Final Step Towards Separation From Our Old Ideas
Step 9 is the final piece of the puzzle of completeness, the puzzle of internal freedom that has come together inside of us as we have worked our program step by step. I have discovered that the final piece of this puzzle is the shape of the God of my understanding and when the man is put back together his universe is complete.
There once was a businessman who always found it very difficult to balance his work pressures and family life. When he would arrive home after work, heavy laden with more work to get through in the evenings, his little 5 year old son would come bounding out to greet him and beg his Dad to play with him. The business man would get frustrated with his son’s constant badgering whilst he tried to get work done. One day upon returning home to the usual exuberant cries for attention from the little boy, the father saw a center fold map of the world in a magazine lying on the coffee table at home. Immediately he removed the map from the magazine, tore it into a multitude of small pieces and told his son to sticky tape the map back together. The little boy fascinated with his allocated projected ran off enthusiastically to get to work. The businessman gave a sigh of relief and got to work. You could have bowled the businessman over with a feather when his son returned 10 minutes later with the map perfectly reconstructed. “How did you do that so quickly?” The father exclaimed with dismay! The little boy replied “it was easy father, there was a picture of the face of a man on the back, so I sticky taped the man back together and the world came together on the back!”
God’s grace put’s us back together through our experience with the steps and our world goes from shattered to complete.
No Apologies, Just Ownership Of Wrongs Done To Others
Step 9 amends are NOT an apology. Apologies are just words. We need action and the people we are making amends to need to know that we are all about action and not yada-yada.
Here is a simple template to follow:
I am here to make amends for the harms I have caused you as a result of my ____________and take full responsibility of my actions. I am prepared to take the consequences and am here to assure you that I will make right on my wrong doings to you.
Before we go into our amends meeting with each person, we make sure that our attitude is one of complete neutrality, and a willingness to take whatever comes our way. I can assure you that what usually happens when you lay all of your wrong doings in front of another human being, you completely disarm them of any kind of defensive or angry behavior towards you. In fact what usually occurs instantly is forgiveness. Remember that in that moment of your admittance of your wrong doings the other person is set free of their anger and resentment, this is the opposite and equal reaction of one of the laws of the universe.
Procrastination is the natural enemy of putting into action our amends. Do not let this happen. Even if you do not have the money at the time to pay back your debt, or you feel you are not in the right “emotional space” to make right on your past relationships, get going anyway! Make a payment plan to those you owe money, or a plan to change your behavior towards your ex. Whatever it takes should be your motto from hence forth. It’s liberating and empowering!
Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist.