Step Nine: More Than Just Saying “I’m Sorry”

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To make a mistake is an error in judgment. To adhere to it when it’s discovered is a flaw of character.

Step Nine says that as part of our recovery we should make direct amends to people we have harmed whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. But what exactly is an amends? Sometimes recovering addicts think that simply saying, “I’m sorry,” is sufficient. It isn’t. That’s an apology, not an amends. At the very least, we need to say, “I’m sorry, and I’m working hard to not behave that way again in the future.” Other times, we may need to repay, or promise to repay, money that is owed, in addition to giving an apology and asserting that we are changing our behavior. In all cases, an amends is more than just an apology. The most important part of any amends is the follow-up of not making the same mistake again.

Just for Today
Think about the longer-term behavior changes that are part of making a proper Step Nine amends.