Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

Postby Grateful9999 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 5:39 am

Hi. I have a sponsee 91 days sober who wishes to make amends to an old friend. I know the steps are in order for a reason. She is just starting work on step 4 and not gotten much on paper. Wisdom on explanations why amends at this time is not really appropriate. Thank you! I have been in the program for years and recently back to doing more meetings but I have not sponsored much AT ALL. I want to go gently but firmly.

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Re: Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

Postby avaneesh912 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:05 am

Welcome to the forums. If she is motivated and genuine there is nothing wrong in that. But I will have the motives checked. If she is trying to get back at somebody in the pretext of making amends, it will be very detrimental.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

Postby Karl R » Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:00 am

Hi Grateful,

Welcome to our forums.

My amends list (step 8) came from the work I did in steps four and five. My ability to remedy my behaviors came from the work I did in steps 6 and 7. I'm not sure I would have been capable of a proper amend (fixing) without the rigorous application of 4-7. But that's just me.

Why not take 4-7 first? With some application it might not take all that long.

As Avaneesh said, my motives were a bit murky until I properly applied 4-7. Going into 8 and 9 with some clear idea of my resentments, fears, etc. and the character defects behind them made 9 much clearer to accomplish.

kindest regards,
Karl
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Re: Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

Postby Stepchild » Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:35 am

I agree with Karl and the importance of completing four through seven first...I also am a firm believer in carefully following the directions....

Let's look at Steps Eight and Nine. We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory. We subjected ourselves to a drastic self-appraisal. Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past.
Pg 76

I think this passage in step five offers enough of an explanation to avoid doing this...

They took inventory all right, but hung on to some of the worst items in stock. They only thought they had lost their egoism and fear; they only thought they had humbled themselves. But they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone else all their life story.
Pg 73
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Re: Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

Postby Tosh » Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:35 am

I've worked with guys who have had to make quick amends because of their situation; for example one guy needed to make amends to his father-in-law who he saw on an almost daily basis, so it was right in those circumstances to make an impromptu amend.

But ideally, it's always best to do Step 9 at Step 9. That way we're sure of all the angles and we're specific about what we're making an amend for. I think we're in a better frame of mind to do it too.

My suggestion would be to explain any concerns you may have and ask your sponsee to pray and meditate on the answer. It's her recovery after all.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

Postby Reborn » Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:31 am

If a person makes an amends before they are at step 9 usually in one form or another it is a superficial apology. Amends is an action word...it is not just about an apology but a pledge made to the individual that the behavior that caused the wrong doing has changed and will continue for a lifetime. A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won't fill the bill at all....The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it....So my suggestion would be to ask this person why the need to make the amends now...and point out that they will have a better understanding why they are making the amends if they follow the steps in order.
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132
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Re: Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

Postby PaigeB » Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:36 am

Step 9 at Step 9 you have already heard that.

I think it is okay to say "Sorry" if one can be sure it is done with tact. She might have to do it again at Step 9. Being anxious to do them is NOT "ready to do them". I knew I wanted to rush through, get every one I hurt "mended" as fast as possible. I did tell my husband I was sorry for "all I did" a few times early in sobriety, still saying it after a particular hurt surfaced (the old way). I did not even understand myself until after I got through Step 5! When I got to Step 8, I was even more amazed that I could not come right out and say "I did this and I won't do it again"! What? But as I went through the list, one after the other, practicing with my sponsor how I had hurt them all, then I got a real picture, a deep feeling, of who what & why I was doing what I was doing in the amends process. THEN I was really ready, not anxious at all, but deeply willing. And perhaps more importantly, I had no expectations.

Maybe she could do something less than "amends"? Go for coffee and talk about alcoholism and why she got sober and how it is affecting her today. That might bring up comments on amends and a simple statement of intent ~ which the 2 of you can talk about in advance after you two talk at length about that relationship so both of you have a good idea of what is real. It might not a be deep knowing though, that she may have to wait for.
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Re: Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

Postby ezdzit247 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:38 am

Grateful9999 wrote:Hi. I have a sponsee 91 days sober who wishes to make amends to an old friend. I know the steps are in order for a reason. She is just starting work on step 4 and not gotten much on paper. Wisdom on explanations why amends at this time is not really appropriate. Thank you! I have been in the program for years and recently back to doing more meetings but I have not sponsored much AT ALL. I want to go gently but firmly.

Happy Father's Day


Hi Grateful9999

Interesting topic.

I like the way Bill wrote AA's Steps. For me, the form of his version of this ancient path flows logically and has a very pleasing symmetry. Bill remarked that his inspiration for breaking the Steps down in this particular sequential order was to customize them in a way that specifically targeted recalcitrant drunks, those of us who were master manipulators of people, places and things....like himself. His finished product does appear to accomplish this in that it does close "loopholes" and eliminate "wiggle room". More importantly, this form has been tested repeatedly over many decades and it definitely works for even the most recalcitrant of drunks, even if those drunks have only a mustard seed's worth of faith that they will work for them. But what about the drunk who crawls or walks through the doors of AA totally "surrendered" to their powerlessness over alcohol, their past insanities, and have already found a power greater than themselves? Do we elevate form over substance and insist on dogmatic adherence to tight structure and linear goals for these kinds of drunks? My sense is if that person's God as they understand their God has moved them to go make their amends for past behavior to a friend without further delay, who am I to tell them not to listen to their God and to wait to make amends until after they've completed Steps 4 thru 8 and get to Step 9?
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

Postby ezdzit247 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:01 pm

Tosh wrote:I've worked with guys who have had to make quick amends because of their situation; for example one guy needed to make amends to his father-in-law who he saw on an almost daily basis, so it was right in those circumstances to make an impromptu amend.

But ideally, it's always best to do Step 9 at Step 9. That way we're sure of all the angles and we're specific about what we're making an amend for. I think we're in a better frame of mind to do it too.

My suggestion would be to explain any concerns you may have and ask your sponsee to pray and meditate on the answer. It's her recovery after all.


I agree. I've worked with newly sober drunks who suddenly remembered and became consumed with guilt over a past incident, so agitated that it threatened their still fragile sobriety. I've learned that the fastest, shortest route to relief and keeping sober is immediate confession, repentance, and an amends, if the person who is owed the amends is still alive.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

Postby Reborn » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:09 pm

I get the whole "I need to do this now...my guilt is overwhelming"...but the way I look at this is that if I make an amends in this way I'm doing it to feel better...I'm expecting something...which is not what an amends is all about. I did the superficial apologies too...but they were just words...a remorseful mumbling that I'm sorry. In the end I really don't have any control over what a sponsee does...if they make an amends before step 9 that is on them...but I know from experience that the steps are in order for a reason...I can't treat those steps like a buffet line and pick and choose which ones I want to do and what order I want to do them in.
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132
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Re: Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

Postby Noels » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:26 pm

I experienced an exceptionally intense desire to make amends to one person whilst inbetween step 6 and 7. Every time I told myself that I'm almost at step 9 so I needed to wait a bit. The intense feeling returned a few days later and so it carried on for about 2 weeks. The intense need to make amends to this person vs me telling myself I'm silly and must wait. One morning around 2 in the morning I woke up with this intense feeling that amends needed making. There and then. I got up and ended up typing a three page email to this person wherein I explained, apologised and everything else I needed to get cleared up. It turns out that person was going through a terrible time and my letter of amends touched him so deeply that it helped him get clarification on difficult decisions which he himself needed to make.

If I'm not sure whether "an idea or something" is coming from me or my Higher Power I wait. If its from me it goes away at some point. If its from my Higher Power it stays and intensifies and refuse to leave until I listen and do as told.

Hope my share helps :)

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Noels xxx
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Re: Desire to make amends but not yet worked step 4

Postby Grateful9999 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:32 pm

I am incredibly grateful for all of the replies I just read here: thank you so much. Many of the the ideas have crossed my mind but I just wasn't confident enough in my presentation to be certain. I am so thrilled to have found this site and will probably use a combination of ideas; but number one that the steps are in order for a reason. And motives for the eagerness of this amends needs to be looked at carefully. Eternally grateful, and my sponsee thanks you for I am better able to steer her properly. I will have a one on one with her tomorrow hopefully and get more of the fine details. She will definitely be better prepared to make the best amends possible after she's worked the next few steps, in addition to doing this amends without expecting anything in return. Again, I so thank you!

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