Step 9

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Aryianna
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Step 9

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people, wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Principle - Justice

Restitution

We have to live a spiritual life, not just believe in it.

Now that we're willing to make amends to everyone who is on our list, it's time to actually approach those people and make our peace.A,A Remember, we approach these people in a spirit of peace, focusing on cleaning our side of the street.A,A We don't concern ourselves with what they have done or what amends they owe us.A,A This step is for us, so that we may be free of the resentments, guilt and shame that bind us and sometimes feed our addictive gaming behavior.A,A Remember that excessive gaming was just a symptom of a deeper problem; beneath it are layers, and sometimes, years of pain involving unresolved, troublesome issues with people.A,A When these relationships became bothersome or when the thought of them brought us down, the more we plunged into addictive game behavior to drown out the painful memories that haunted us.A,A But now is our opportunity to be freed from the stronghold of resentment, unforgiveness or shame and guilt that we've had about hurting someone else.

So how do we go about making those amends?A,A First it is important to note the phrase "when to do so would injure them or others".A,A Say we have a spouse with whom we have been dishonest, perhaps an affair was involved.A,A If the spouse has no inkling of such event, then it would be better not to tell them, since doing so would cause devastation.A,A To keep this information from them is not a matter of dishonesty but more adhering to the rule, "when to do so would injure them or others".A,A Remember, included also in the list of those who could be injured are ourselves.A,A When it may hurt another person to make a direct amends, we may write a letter to God asking for forgiveness and healing of the other person.

There may be situations when we are not quite up to making our amends, and if the other person holds a great deal of resentment against us, they may treat us offensively, thus provoking us to respond in defense, offense or some unkind manner.A,A If we feel that we are still weak, unable to handle the worst reaction from those whom we are going to approach, then we are better off waiting, and doing so would qualify under the exception of "when to do so would injure them or others", where "others" would be ourselves.

Now in terms of making direct amends, we simply approach the person in a spirit of peace and forgiveness (if they have offended us), and we simply give them an apology for whatever wrongdoings we have done or pain we have caused in their lives.A,A If you find that the person is amiable and accepting, you may want to add the reason for your apology -- that you have had problems with compulsive game playing and that you are now following a spiritual program of recovery.

What about those situations where we have held unkind thoughts towards others without them knowing?A,A In such cases, it may not be necessary to make a verbal amend.A,A A changed attitude and improved behavior towards the person is good enough.

Remember that there will be cases when the person will not accept you in a spirit of forgiveness, but this must not stop you from making your amend(s), unless of course the exception applies.A,A If in doubt, consult with your OLGA sponsor or another member of OLGA who has done this step.

We begin to see "The Promises" within our lives.

We begin to feel self worth, self respect, dignity, honor, and love for self and others.

We are no longer controlled by our secrets. We moved from the darkness into the light.

We accept life on life's terms with a renewed sense of inner peace.

Best wishes on your amends!

a) Using old records, telephone books, people you know, and the Internet, tell how you plan too seek
out the persons listed in Step 8a above and make direct amends to them, except when to do so
would injure them or others. If the person has died, write a letter to that person, and ask for their
forgiveness, than burn the letter.
b) Write out and recite a prayer to your Higher Power to help you be willing to make direct amends
to the people listed in Step 8b above.
c) Describe how it makes you feel to be unwilling to make amends to each person listed in Column 8b.

1/14/2008 - I added the questions. Liz W.

Desire to Stop
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This happens to be my least

This happens to be my least favorite step

It's also the one that often gives the biggest "payout" in terms of relief. It is no mistake that the oft-quoted Promises come after we are halfway through the 9th step. Often times the way they are read in face to face meetings it seems to sound to new people (and I know this was true for me). But if we realize that section comes from a chapter called "Into Action" and that it's wedged directly between the description of the 9th and 10th steps, well suddenly it makes it clear what "amazed before we are halfway through" is actually referring to.

Including the nuts and bolts--so at this point I've done 4-8 with my sponsor, and we have discussed the means of making amends. The next task is for me to actually do this. I tend to talk with her first before I do this, and this is highly recommended to make sure we are sticking to the path.

I think I was taught some different things from what is posted above, and I'll share that with page references from the Big Book.

What brings us here to this step is outlined on p82

"The addict is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil. We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough. He is like the farmer who came up out of his cyclone cellar to find his home ruined. To his wife he remarked, 'Don't see anything the matter here, Ma. Ain't it grand the wind stopped blowin?'

Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. We must take the lead. A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won't fill the bill at all..."

The step reads "Made direct amends to such people, wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

It's important to realize that the trend for this set of steps, since we have likely spent years if not a lifetime justifying our behavior to get what we want regardless of the harm this caused anyone else, is that we are taking ourselves to task. It doesn't read "Made direct amends to such people, wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others or us". It is very specific that we are thinking of others first as we attempt to carry out our life or death task. We're actually making these amends to save our own lives--if we take the action we are already assured of the gifts. So trying to cut corners to make things easier for ourselves isn't actually going to get us the rewards we are after.

From page 79, "Although these reparations take innumerable forms, there are some general principles which we find guiding. Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. We may lose our position or reputation or face jail, but we are willing. We have to be. We must not shrink at anything."

The sponsor is vital for this step, as the person who can help us see the true difference between when we are trying to cut corners, and when we need to make an amend in a specific way to avoid harming our family, friends, loved ones. They can also help guide us in developing the wording to discuss the topic. In my case this is particularly valuable because I tend to like to do things like list my wrongs and then tell you what I did right, among other creative means of otherwise avoiding making amends or somehow "softening" the experience. Not for the other person mind you, for me, me, me.

Some of the classic cases involve things like continued means to provide income and support for our dependents and/or families. The goal is to make amends in a fashion that do not impede our ability to continue providing for our family, since doing otherwise would harm our families.

I highly recommend reading the Big Book for this section specifically, as other touchy cases such as infidelity are also discussed. This is another example of a situation where it's important to realize that we have no right to involve another person.

Beyond what is written in the Big Book about this, there isn't much more I can add to this--except that when I really apply myself in this area, I'm given a huge measure of relief. I always balk going in, and I'm always amazed at the results.

Cheers, Desire to Stop
ALL quoted text (unless otherwise stated) comes from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (with wording sometimes changed only to make it more relevant for gaming addiction). I will include page numbers.

Hoping & praying for a measure of recovery for all of us today.

Mario
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When attempting to make

When attempting to make amends I find that my father is the hardest to make an amend to. The rest of my family was really easy to make amends with. It was almost like chatting with them it was so easy. However, my father is someone I seem to have a hard to making amends to. It might had been all the times he came into my room and told me that video games were getting me nowhere in life. That I won't have a job if I am constantly playing games. That I won't find a girlfriend. I didn't care what he said. I just kept playing all the same. Or maybe it was because my father took my laptop and hide it in a safe, so that I had horrible withdrawals and I might have chosen to stop. However, months later he gave back the computer for an hour. I played games that whole hour. I did finally make amends to my father six hours later than I wanted to. We came out of the movie theater I told him about the amount of time I was able to spend outside of the video game world. I said how happy I was. I remember that we just kept walking and he didn't make a sound. I remember that he looked forward and not towards me. I remember the feeling I had, and about how sad I was to get that ignoring reaction. However, for some reason, I still felt very accomplished because I had the strength to stand up and ask for amends from him. Even if he didn't take my amends personally, I was still happy that I did my part and I acted out this crucial step.

Mario

fer
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I'd say it touched him very

I'd say it touched him very deeply and he didn't know how to respond.

Healthy enthusiasms add to life, addictions take away from it.

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Hi Mario, The hardest part

Hi Mario,

The hardest part about the amends is taking the step no matter what the outcome might be--even if it's not one we want. In many cases, over time, when family members get to see our changed behavior, this the most important amend they really want from us. Staying game free every day is a living amend to your father. Well done!

Cheers, Desire to Stop
ALL quoted text (unless otherwise stated) comes from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (with wording sometimes changed only to make it more relevant for gaming addiction). I will include page numbers.

Hoping & praying for a measure of recovery for all of us today.

Mario
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Even if they don't notice

Even if they don't notice any changes, I certainly have and I congratulate myself daily on my decision to be game free. Thanks desire to be free for all the support! I certainly need it.

Mario

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I wanted to follow up on

I wanted to follow up on this--the AA Big Book talks about how we should be willing to accept being tossed out of someones office, that in some cases our amends are not welcome, we are not welcome because of the damage we have caused.

I have debated sharing about this specifically on my blog, but thought it would be more useful here. One of the people I needed to make amends to was certainly my ex-husband, who left in part because of my gaming. While I think even if I hadn't gamed our marriage would have ended in divorce, the fact of the matter is that my method of dealing with the relationship difficulties (escaping into a virtual world, and selfishly abandoning my family responsibilities) was incredibly dishonest and hurtful.

The first time I tried to make amends, my ex actually stopped me, and simply didn't want to hear anymore. In fact, he made it known by actions and words that he really wanted as little to do with me as possible. My sponsor indicated that while I still needed to remain ready to offer a proper amends, she pointed out that the only amend I could actually offer in the meantime was to minimize my contact with my ex. I was also encouraged to try to avoid active conflict as part of my amends. (And in a different direction, my living amend is to be forth right and honest in future romantic relationships, beginning with dating.)

Some weeks ago I had occaision to interact with my ex and it was civil, if not pleasant. At that time, I asked if he would allow me to make a proper amend--and let him know that if he didn't want me to, that was ok too, but that I just wanted him to know that I remained ready to make amends. He actually allowed me to make the amends, which was just amazing! Certainly it felt freeing, and I feel "done" with that.

Some unusual side effects--I find myself far less mistrustful of men, and I personally feel more attractive (although there have been no major changes in my appearance or wardrobe).

This weekend, for the first time since my ex left, he actually hung out in my house. His new wife, her adult daughter, and her granddaughter joined us. I had brownies and coffee for all, and we joked and laughed. It was a wonderfully healing experience, especially for my daughter who has had to keep us in compartmentalized separate "experiences" in her world.

This is nothing short of a miracle. I still hate doing the 9th step, and perhaps I always will. But I love the results. Gratetful to have some peace in a relationship that I wasn't sure would ever experience any balance again, and especially grateful that my daughter gets to reap the benefits of this.

TLDR? Do your 9th step. It's some of the most difficult work we ever do, and the payoff (aside from not having to game again) is huge!

Cheers, Desire to Stop
ALL quoted text (unless otherwise stated) comes from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (with wording sometimes changed only to make it more relevant for gaming addiction). I will include page numbers.

Hoping & praying for a measure of recovery for all of us today.

Patria
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Desire to Stop wrote: ... 
Desire to Stop wrote:

... He actually allowed me to make the amends, which was just amazing! Certainly it felt freeing, and I feel "done" with that.

Some unusual side effects--I find myself far less mistrustful of men, and I personally feel more attractive (although there have been no major changes in my appearance or wardrobe).

This weekend, for the first time since my ex left, he actually hung out in my house. His new wife, her adult daughter, and her granddaughter joined us. I had brownies and coffee for all, and we joked and laughed. It was a wonderfully healing experience, especially for my daughter who has had to keep us in compartmentalized separate "experiences" in her world.

This is nothing short of a miracle. ...

That is HUGE!!!!! thank you for sharing that. Wow, very very nice :)

maxreina
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Amen!

Thank you, Desire to stop and all others. Your posts have opened my eyes to a bright new world full of mercy, love and happiness.

From the bottom of my heart: "Thank you" 

Maxi

13 years since first started gaming (2002 - 2015)
Reborn on July 29th, 2015.

Adeline
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Step 9

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