Saturday, February 6, 2010
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
And from the AA Big Book:
Although these reparations take innumerable forms, there are some general principles which we find guiding. Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. We may lose our position or reputation or face jail, but we are willing. We have to be. We must not shrink at anything.
-A.A. Big Book p.79
After Step Nine, in the Big Book, are the Promises. These are read at every AA meeting, and every time I hear or read them I feel a glimmer of hope:
The 12 promises are from pps. 83-84 of the Big Book.
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through . . .
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity.
We will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fullfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
It says they will ALWAYS materialize if we work for them.
A few Al-Anon meetings ago, I mentioned that I was grateful for the AA Promises. I was informed by some oldtimers that we in Al-Anon have our own Promises. Sooooo.... extra credit to the person who can name the source and cite the Al-Anon promises.
Okay, Step Nine is, for me, in my immediate future. Steps Six and Seven have been eating my lunch, kicking my butt, and finally opening my eyes and heart. I have my list of persons harmed from my Step 4 and 5. So as I see it, I just got to get willing to face alot of those people and then I will begin Step Nine, the act of being responsible for my part to these people.
Amends can take many different forms. Sometimes they are an apologizing. Other times they are a recognizing and a payment of a debt. Other times they are just the openmindedness and good will to begin a complicated or troubled relationship anew so it can grow from healthier soil.
I almost made the typo there of saying "so it can grow from healthier SOUL." Very interesting.
Part of my Step 7 working is to know there are NO coincidences.
Rest assured, Dear Reader, that I will write more about Step 9 as I live it. For now, my only words are that I see it as a necessary operation to the soul. And this program has not led me astray yet.
(On a sadder note, I want to pause here for a moment of sadness, grief and gratitude. Tonight a friend had what appeared to be a seizure and quit breathing. He was revived by emergency services, and taken to the hospital. He passed away about 4 hours later. He will be missed. But I am grateful for having known him and being able to work with him. His simple love of life, enjoyment in the small things, and love and appreciation for those who cared for him was touching and both a gift and a lesson for me. Thank you, Sammy.)