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Step 9 of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one of the oldest, continuous organizations that have offered those struggling with alcohol addiction assistance in achieving and maintaining recovery. Their main methodology is known as the 12 Steps, and breaks down the path to recovery into regimented levels. Step 9 of Alcoholics Anonymous focuses on helping one to make “direct amends to such people (those wronged) wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

What is Step 9 of Alcoholics Anonymous?

AA step 9 of the 12 steps is a call for those working towards to make amends with those who they harmed during the throes of alcohol addiction. It builds on step 8, which required the individual to make a list of everyone he or she has harmed throughout the battle with alcohol addiction. While the concept of Step 9 sounds easy on paper, putting yourself in such a vulnerable position and being will to work through the discomfort can be challenging. But, Step 9 can be completed with the right outlook and knowledge.

step 9

Step 9 of AA: Be Willing to Make Amends

Step 9 requires one to be willing to go to any lengths to make amends, provided they don’t end up causing somebody new or additional harm. The individual must be willing to take this step no matter how severe the personal consequences. If making amends requires the person to report a past crime, he or she must be willing to go to jail to complete this step on the road to recovery. The spiritual aspect of the mandate encourages the recovering individual to seek strength and guidance to do the right thing from a higher power and from the others engaged in the program.

Making amends must involve sincere efforts to apologize. The notion of being sincere involves adopting the right attitude before making an approach. One may need to forgive oneself and to forgive the person on the list for any actions done in retaliation. Step 9 should be pursued according to a plan that does not assign blame and allows the person who has been harmed the freedom to respond, even if the response is angry or unforgiving.

How to Make Amends in Step 9

Step 9 is considered a direct continuation to Step 8, in which one puts into practice what they have been preparing internally during the previous steps. One may find it easier to break into categories what one needs to make amends for. These categories determine the way the person approaches the process of making amends. The first category should include all of the people to whom the person can make full amends as soon as he or she is sober. The second category should include those people to whom the person will make partial amends, because full restitution would cause more harm than good.

The third category should include the people who should not be contacted until a full and certain recovery has been achieved. This might include a child who could be disappointed if a recovery process results in a relapse. Last, the fourth category should separate out anyone to whom it is impossible to make amends, such as a person who has since passed away. The guiding principal of this step is to make full amends at the earliest opportunity, as long as such action is feasible, proper, and will not cause additional harm.

Finding Help for Alcohol Addiction

Help for alcohol addiction is easy to find, but it is not always easy to ask for. Overcoming an addiction to or a dependency on alcohol can be a long and sometimes frustrating process, but if you’ve made the decision to stop drinking you’ve crossed the most important hurdle in your recovery.

If you’re ready to get help with alcohol addiction, visit the AA website to find a support group near you. There are also many secular programs that may help you achieve or maintain recovery.

However, if you or a loved one need detox support or addiction treatment, you may benefit from attending treatment at a dedicated rehab facility. American Addiction Centers (AAC) operates treatment facilities nationwide, with navigators standing by 24/7 to help you get admitted into treatment. Our addiction helpline may also be able to help connect you with rehabs near you. To speak to an admissions navigator, call .

Next: Step 10
Last: Step 8



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