Step by Step
Monday, Nov. 27, 2017
“There may be some wrongs we can never fully right. We don’t worry about them if we can honestly say to ourselves that we would right them if we could. Some people cannot be seen – we send them an honest letter. And there may be a valid reason for postponement in some cases. But we don’t delay if it can be avoided. We should be sensible, tactful, considerate and humble without being servile or scraping.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, 1976, Ch 6 (“Into Action”), p 83.
Today, I can’t take on guilt – or be guilted – if I am in absolute honesty cannot make an amend to someone I have hurt if that amend further injures them or someone else. This is a vital qualifier of the Ninth Step – that we make amends directly “except when to do so would injure them or others.” But this isn’t an out from making amends or accepting responsibility. It is possible to postpone making an amend if an immediate one inflicts hurt. It is just as possible that I can never make amends to someone if that person cannot be found or is no longer available. In any case, if for no one other than myself, I can make “indirect” amends by admitting my wrong in writing, in a private journal even if no one else will read it. In doing that, I am at least giving voice to a silent wrong. The benefit could be that the guilt or fear of being “caught” is powerless because I have admitted my wrong and responsibility. If today I take the Ninth Step, I must temper my “confession” with the qualification that an act of atonement now could do what the Ninth warns against – inflicting further hurt. And our common journey continues. Step by step. – Chris M., 2017