In Step Eight, we make a list of all the people we have harmed by our actions when we were using/mentally ill. In creating such a list, we try to be thorough. In Step Nine, we make amends to the people on our list, except in cases that making amends could cause harm to others.
These are important steps, for they may be one’s first attempt to initiate the healing process beyond oneself by making amends to others. Amends should be made in most cases, except in those that making such amends might do more harm than good. Some amends may never be made because of this. In these cases, as I have tried to do, I make a living amends in which my behavior today, my character today, sets an example of the type of person I would like to be and emulate.
One might find, when making amends, that people will be open and very accepting of them. In some cases, the exact opposite might occur. Do not be discouraged… but also keep in mind the principle of not making amends to individuals who might be harmed during the process of making amends. Making amends to some may be easy, in other cases, not so easy. Particularly in the A.A. program, working with a sponsor, one can help make the distinction between what could be categorized as ‘good’ amends and ‘bad’ amends.
Some amends are fairly straightforward. Owe someone money? Probably the best course of action would be to repay the money owed. Lied about something? The truth may be the answer here in the amends process. This list of offenses and amends can go on and on. Working with a sponsor, hopefully your Step Eight and Step Nine will be carried out in a way that is most beneficial to the individuals on your list, without causing them further harm in the process.