The Twelve Steps of Co-Dependents Anonymous: Step Nine
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
The first person to whom I owed amends was God. God already knew all the pain and suffering I'd created in my life. All by my choice. All by thinking that I knew better than God how to run my life.
The next person to whom I made amends was myself. The Twelve Steps themselves are the amendment process to myself, and I continue striving to live by these principles in all my affairs.
The next group I approached were those who were already dead. I visited graves where possible and admitted the problems I'd helped create in the past relationship. I let these people know, as best I could, that my amends to them would be to continue living the program in all my present and future relationships.
Next, I made amends to the members of my family of origin. A major part of my amends was letting them see my changed attitudes. I didn't have to be in charge anymore. I didn't have to always be right anymore. I let them see my doubts and fears. I shared my emotions and became vulnerable. I let down the defenses I'd held in place for years. I established boundaries for myself and my behavior and communicated those boundaries. I let my family see me living a different kind of life. I let them know I was working a Twelve Step program, because for me, this was a safe fact to divulge in my family of origin.
Once these direct amends were done, I turned my list over to God. Part of this step is avoiding further hurt or injury. I decided to leave the matter in God's hands and waited.
Gradually, opportunities to make amends to others on my list presented themselves. The examples are too numerous to list. But because of my willingness to make amends, God took care of bringing about the situations where I could make the amends.
Sometimes, I seek out the people to whom I know I must make immediate amends. For example, if I discover something I have done wrong, I go immediately to the person and seek to make the amends. Sometimes the amends process works. Sometimes, people do not want to forgive or forget, and so, all I can do is offer the amends.
I have not yet made amends to my entire list. Some of the people I do not know how to contact. Some of the people it would clearly be unhealthy to contact, due to circumstances in their lives and mine. I may make amends to them in the same way I made amends to deceased people. I don't know. God will reveal how to do it in time.
Also, through the program, I am continually growing and changing and examining myself (Step Ten). Along the way, I discover other character flaws in myself or in a past relationship for which I need to make further amends, and do so as I am able.
This step requires much patience—a character trait I need to strengthen as well.
Slowly, gently, gradually, I am working Step Nine. And Step Nine is working me, by God's grace and power.
continue story below
Staff, H. (2008, December 8). The Twelve Steps of Co-Dependents Anonymous: Step Nine, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, September 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/relationships/serendipity/twelve-steps-of-co-dependents-anonymous-step-nine