“Out of any chaos we can produce harmony.” ~Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind aka “The Textbook”

“Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” – The 9th Step as outlined in Alcoholics Anonymous aka “The Big Book”


It’s interesting to me that working the steps in a structured way is a great recipe for living a livable and lovable life.

One of my great lessons continues to be ‘trust the process.’ Specifically with regard to the steps curriculum, it’s remarkable how the realizations of each one naturally flows into and paves the way for the next.

In the earlier stages of this waking-up process the very thought of “making amends” – as in face-to-face if possible- was terrifying. However, that has changed.

This is the challenge / gift of the 9th step. Turns out it’s not only possible but it’s proving to be enjoyable, easy, and energizing to make amends to those I have wronged! I’d heard others say it, and now I know it’s true.

I contemplated making amends to a woman I haven’t seen in years. I put her on the list, then took her off, then on, then off. Then ultimately on. That alone served as my clue that I clearly have some kind of static energy regarding her that would be in my best interest to release.

Amazingly I spotted her in the mall at Christmas. My default impulse (and action) was to duck and run before she saw me. Something in me intervened. I approached her. I told her she’d been on my mind. In fact, I said, I would love to set aside some time to talk one-on-one. She seemed surprised and actually delighted – saying we could meet for drinks. I told her that I have not had a drink or drug in more than 5 years, and that was indirectly what I wanted to talk to her about. She said ‘good for you! Let’s have coffee.’ … off to a promising start…

So that’s coming up and I am ready.

I will not rehash anything when we meet. I will not downplay or overstate. I will not justify. There will be no drama, no explanations, no rationalizations. That is not what it’s about now – though “before” that was what everything was about.

I will not apologize or make excuses.

Instead I will take responsibility for my part in it. Less words – get to it, not around it. My sponsor had to help me edit several drafts of my written “scripts.” They were dancing around and circling the truth, not quite touching it – with a ‘yeah but…’ built in.

I am so happy and grateful to be given the actual language to get to what needs to be said.

I will use the words: “I regret that…” and “I was wrong to…”

The Big Book says although we cannot change the past, we would do it differently in the future.

That’s all we can do – move on. Life is in session.


What was the biggest surprise when you made amends?
Are there still some to whom you’re unwilling to do so?
Could you easily differentiate between apologies and amends?



In gratitude, harmony and support,


Amends, not Apologies or Excuses – 9th Step Wisdom

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