Thursday, June 19, 2008

Twelve Steps for Catholics ~ part 15

Step Nine

“ Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

In Step Eight, we made a list of people we had harmed, and have reflected carefully upon each instance. Now is the time to make some direct amends. This is going to require the virtue of prudence and a healthy dose of courage.

The natural place to start is with those closest to us – our family. Even though a period of time may have passed without drinking, do not be surprised if some of your apologies are met with a sense of wariness or outright disbelief. We have wounded those closest to us the most and they have heard our “morning after” confessions before. Just because you may be floating on a cloud of newly acquired knowledge, don’t expect everyone to join you on that cloud. It took time to destroy your relationships and it will take time to heal them.

Now is the time to practice that great virtue of prudence. We make amends “except when to do so would injure them or others.” If you have been unfaithful to your marriage vows, it would be wise to deal with that in the confessional. There is absolutely no point in revealing that to your mate. That is your cross to bear, not theirs, so keep your trap shut! Capice?

Moving outside the family circle brings us to bosses, co-workers, and friends. Exercise the same prudence when making amends to these folks also. Suppose for instance you have been dipping into the petty cash at work to fund your habit. Telling your boss, who may be a bit of a jerk, would get you fired and put your family in financial jeopardy. My advice? Sneak the money back into petty cash the same way you sneaked it out. I’m sure your priest will find another way of doing penance that will bring satisfaction.

In the Big Book after the Ninth Step, there is a passage that we in the program call “the promises.” Read them carefully.

The AA Promises

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 and 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 fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
They will always materialize if we work for them.

Alcoholics Anonymous p83-84 (the "Big Book")

Isaiah 65:6 "Behold, it is written before Me, I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will even repay into their bosom...


Tracy said...

Wow, this is excellent Adrienne!! Blessings to you

Laura said...

Wow. Powerful stuff.

Hey, Adrienne - about how long in working the program does it take to get to Step 9? I suppose a sad lot of people don't ever make it this far... sigh.

Roses and Jessamine said...

Hey Adrienne, brave lady. You're doing great.
God bless.

Irene said...

Keep it up, Adrienne. I plan to steal every word of it.

Adrienne said...

Laura - in the "old days" they suggested you get through the steps in 30 days (sort of like an Ignatian retreat.)

I've seen people everywhere from not working them at all (not suggested) to taking years (also not suggested.)

One of my friends didn't even start doing the steps until he had been in the program 3 YEARS! Not a smart move but better than nothing.

Roses and Jessamine - thanks for stopping by. I'll be adding your blog to my blog roll.

Irene - steal away....