Alcoholics Anonymous Blog/Video September 4 DonInLondon Step 9 " Amends Into Action"
September 4, 2013: "step nine and the living amend to oneself and to everyone." If I don't know what's right for me until the moment of now, I'm certainly not in a position to know what is right for you in the moment of now. The good news: we can share experience strength and hope, we will never be the same, and we can respect diversity of opinion and belief. This whole notion of live and let live becomes part of the enlightenment and endarkenment in recovery.
When I first came into the fellowship of AA, my world had gotten very small. The brightness of the day was overwhelming, being in company extremely uncomfortable and all these weird and wonderful ideas about sobriety. Nobody seemed to be on the same track, except for the steps of course, and all the steps seem to be working differently for different people. I needed to concentrate on one fellowship, learning about one set of twelve steps. I met others who seemed to be involved in more than one fellowship, so this seemed like they were trying to do twelve steps, twenty-four steps, thirty-six steps and so on depending on the number of different fellowships they were attending. That would have confused me no end, but for some it seemed like the right way forward.
And part of my amend to myself was to recognise how little I knew back in the moment at rock bottom about recovery. And then in the first year, learning all about the twelve steps and twelve traditions, it was very difficult because they only made sense when life happened and was happening and I could relate to each of the steps. And this is still true today, every day, life happens and the principles of the twelve steps and twelve traditions come to life. Not only are they coming to life for me, they are coming to life for everyone and we share about it in meetings. One amend, let go self prejudice about who I see in the mirror and let go ideas and judgements about others who are perfectly capable of living life well their way and not some way I might suggest for them.
Freedom to grow! This is what I keep on learning in fellowship, each and every person is living to a new freedom, free to make choices without something or other having power over us in the material sense and especially in the emotional and spiritual understanding about life. Of course there is always a power greater than us, the wisdom, experience and strength and hope shared. I don't come from a religious background, I do see how belief helps anyone and everyone. What each person believes in is their own personal journey. And when it comes to being part of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, whatever your beliefs are, I am hoping they are right for you. You do not need to join in believing something which is alien to you, all you need is courage faith and confidence to find your path in recovery. Sometimes we are aligned, sometimes not and it does not matter if we are respectful and courteous, even in the most diverse company, we still understand unity, service and recovery in fellowship today.
Another amend in my own living, learning to be respectful and learn about how many people live their lives today. I am so grateful for the diversity we find in fellowship. If we were all the same in all respects, then there would be no need of fellowship. Fortunately, listening to everyone, we find experience strength and hope which may work for us in our lives, amongst many shares of experience strength and hope which would have no bearing particularly on our beliefs or interests. We learn wisdom by what we do and by what we understand as life continues. And I relish the differences in outlooks even though we are connected in one similarity always, a desire to be sober today.
Making amends in family is a very difficult exercise. Amends and forgiveness: for my late father, and an understanding about his life and how lonely it was even though he was loved. Amends to the living: in family through action and connection, being supportive rather than they worry and fear that I might expire. Amends in family happens usually when the time is right, when we understand the context of what happened back in the day and what happens now.
Making amends to friends, sometimes very difficult and there is no easy solution. Amends to previous employers, and this has been a difficult one to resolve and not something I could do on my own. I was insubordinate and destructive, and most of the time it worked out to the good. In the end though being insubordinate in an organisation which does not want or need that sort of person, I reckon I should have got out and done something different long before that happened. And just because other people behaved badly, dishonestly and without integrity, there were times when I joined in with the disingenuous behaviour of others. Is it something I would do again? Not on your Nelly!
Learning to love, learning how to be loved back and be a human again is all part of the amends process. Something which continues forever hopefully, and sometimes we will behave well and to the good, and sometimes our behaviour may stray back to bad and ugly, and when that happens it will hurt us deeply and fortunately we have step ten and all the steps to keep us on track and get us back on track one day at a time. Without mistakes, without pitfalls and if we were not human, there would be no need for amends. And we are all far from perfect today.
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