Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
"Good judgment, a careful sense of timing, courage and prudence -- these are we shall need when we take Step Nine."
Okay. We made our list of all those we’ve harmed. We’ve checked it twice. We’ve considered each instance. And we’ve set our minds right for the tasks at hand.
Now we’ll want to split the amends into groups. Some people can be approached as soon as we’re reliably sober. Some fully; some only partially, in order to spare any further damage. Others we’ll want to defer until we can meet in person, or until the dust has more time to settle. Still others we may not be able to see ever again at all.
Step Nine is where we admit our wrongs; then humbly ask how we can make things right. We may encounter hesitation, doubt, or even resistance. Some may suspect our intentions to be disingenuous. Most though, if we are sufficiently forthcoming, will readily welcome us back to the fold.
Whatever the case, we must be swift and sure in our actions. We can begin with the easiest, or closest at hand. But we can’t shirk the difficult. We must be resolute. For our sake. And for the sake of others.
But we must also be cognizant of the consequences. Will the amend harm the person in question? Will it involve a third party? Might it exacerbate an already very trying situation? We must not unburden ourselves by further burdening others. If there is any doubt, ask a sponsor.
That brings us to:
A.A.. as such, out never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible for those they serve.
Alcoholics Anonymous is an exception to the rule of organization, be it in government, business or social affairs. There is no hierarchy. Consequently no member has authority over another. There are no rules. Consequently no member has cause to be evicted.
Responsible parties never dictate; they make suggestions. Even the Steps are but suggested as a program of recovery. The key is the program works. So does the process. And both program and process have worked for nearly a century.
A.A. need not inflict penalties. If an A.A. member refuses the suggestions and chooses to drug and drink, the penalties will take care of that themselves. That's one of the main reasons we at Recovery Boot Camp adhere to the 12 Step dynamic.
(Inspired by -- and taken from -- Alcoholics Anonymous’ Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.)