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Step 9 Isn’t About Them, It’s About You

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Forgiveness severs the tie between you and resentment. “Resentments,” write the authors of “The Big Book”, Alcoholics Anonymous, “is the ‘number one’ offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.” The business of resentments, the authors assert, “is infinitely grave.” Step 9 of the twelve steps asks us to make direct amends to all the people we have harmed except when to do so would injure them, ourselves, or others. Having completed steps 4-8, we took an honest moral inventory of ourselves and saw where we had been wrong, done wrong, and had wrongs done to us. Asking our Higher Powers to rid us of our shortcomings which contributed to our ongoing pain, we were ready to move into step 9. Amends are different from apologies. Amends are about taking action and making a commitment to right a wrong. In that process, we find ourselves in multiple states of forgiveness. First, we forgive others for harming us. Second, we ask others to forgive us for harming them. Lastly, we learn to forgive ourselves. If you’re reading this and shudder with disgust, perhaps boil with rage because instantaneously someone and something comes to mind which you could never forgive- you suffer from the illness of resentments. Forgiveness for you will be especially healing.

Spiritual leaders are referenced for musing something about resentments and forgiveness which follows this sentiment: withholding forgiveness, or holding onto resentment, is like drinking a poison meant for someone else. Forgiveness is what frees us from the bonds of resentment. In recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism, it is what frees us from ever having to drink or use “over” something again.

The goal of treatment for recovery is to learn how to stay sober for a lifetime. Working the twelve steps and learning how to forgive, let go, make amends, and move on with life are tools for doing so. Examining the emotional decay which kept us spiritually sick is an important part of the process.

Everyone is capable of finding the hope and freedom in recovery because everyone is capable of change. Design For Change offers long term treatment options and other recovery services to help you and your loved one find a solution. Recovery happens one step at a time. Take the first one today by giving us a call at (877) 267-3646.

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