Parent Caregivers – 12 Step Program Step 9: Making Amends
This series Parent Caregivers 12 Step Program is adapting the “Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous” to caregiving from the book Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach. In last week’s post we discussed breaking free. This week we get to the active work on making amends.
Step 9: “[We] made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
Step 9 is often a doorway to a new way of living or where we stagnate. If we make direct amends with those that we have harmed, it can really allow us to clear everything from our past so that we can move forward. However, this is the hard part. It is one thing to think about all that we want to change, but it is another thing to really take the action of doing it with the person we harmed. Yet, the work in all the previous steps should have prepared us for this action step.
The last steps helped us be clear about what we did wrong. It also helped us to put our Higher Power in charge of getting rid of the shortcomings so we can live less encumbered. We also worked on not punishing others if they didn’t do things our way; and we can accept the things we cannot change. We also know what amends we need to make to those that we have hurt. Lastly, we prepared to be willing to make those amends. This step requires courage and humility. It is time to act.
The exercise this week is just doing the step: making amends. We need to make a plan to contact each of the people that we need to make amends with, one at a time. There is no right order to who you contact first, only that you contact everyone.
It is preferred that amends are made in person. It is best to set aside one-on-one time with each person on the list with no other agenda than to make amends. We can do our best to approach each person with humility and be open and honest. Acknowledge what we did, explain how we plan to take care of the damage, and then explain how we will act differently moving forward. If we want forgiveness, then we can ask for it. If not, then we just mark them off the list.
How This Affected Me
I did pretty well, right up until Step 9. I was fine telling myself what I needed to fix and I was fine fixing it. Yet, I am a bit of a chicken and I really didn’t want to admit my failures to other people. I found it particularly hard with those that meant the most to me. To be honest, I have more people on my list to contact, but I am being brave when I can and moving forward as I am able.
I hope you are able to make amends with those you have harmed. Know that this is hard and we are not perfect. Let us know how you are progressing on your list.
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- 12 Step Program – Step 10
- 12 Step Program – Step 9
- 12 Step Program – Step 8
- 12 Step Program – Step 7