Step 9

We take action by making amends to the individuals we have harmed in our past during this step.  We do this by overcoming the barriers of embarrassment, pride, fear, and procrastination and becoming ready to accept the reactions of those people we have harmed.  By doing this, we will begin to overcome the guilt we experience and assist the people we have harmed in overcoming any anger or resentment they hold toward us.  This is a tremendous opportunity for continued growth and is extremely necessary for our quest to restored sanity. 

However, it is important to remember that there is a reason that the steps are to be carried out in the order they are listed.  Without the spiritual preparation we experienced in the previous steps, we would not be prepared to make these amends properly.  If we had not developed a relationship with our Higher Power, we would likely lack the trust and faith required to carry this step out.  If we had not done our fourth and fifth steps, we might be confused about our personal responsibility or what it is we are making amends for.  If we didn’t develop the all-important humility that steps six and seven entail, we would probably approach our amends in a self-righteous or angry way and end up doing more damage.  The willingness we gained through the acceptance of personal responsibility provided us with the ability to make our eighth step list.  And that list was our practical preparation for working this step. 

It will also be important to remain mindful of how we approach and carry out our amends.  For instance, we must be cautious that having completed our eighth step list, we don’t approach it like we would a shopping list, crossing off completed items as soon as we can.  Some of our amends may never be completely finished, and we will continue to work on them throughout our journey of recovery.  Although it is best to make direct amends wherever possible, some of our amends may need to be made indirectly.  In these instances, we need to consider what good purpose we will be serving by making our amends.  Will the information we share with the person we harmed cause damage?  Ultimately, we need to accept the consequences of our behaviors, bearing in mind the part of the step that says, “except when to do so would injure them or others.” 

In such cases that we cannot make direct amends, the way in which we make indirect amends will only be limited by our imagination and level of willingness.  In the process of making our direct and indirect amends, we will be working on the spiritual principles of humility, love, and forgiveness.  Today you can practice these spiritual principles.  Today you can begin the process of overcoming the guilt you have carried around with you for so long.  Today you can choose continued growth in the process of recovery! 

(Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash)


“Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Focus on your character, not your reputation. Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Proverbs 4:25- Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.

In Matthews 6:24 it says no one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. 

Colossians 2:6-8- Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Philippians 4:8- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

2 Timothy 1:7- For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Even with the best of intentions, it is often easy to get distracted from our principles, values, and goals. Whether it’s issues we are concerned with regarding our past, daily hindrances, or subtle thoughts of our future, it is can be quite difficult to remain focused. It is important, however, for us to remain focused, to keep our gazes straight. Additionally, focusing on the right things is crucial, for “no one can have two masters”. According to scripture we have the power to choose what we focus on. Today you can make that choice. Today you can focus on faith rather than philosophy; thanksgiving rather than empty deceit; strengths rather than weaknesses; character rather than reputation; blessings rather than misfortune. Today you can focus on love rather than fear.

(Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash)

Live, Love, Learn, Grow, and Give

The odds are rare to be in such a snare.
 Yet, here you are, caught, seemingly without a thought.
 How then did you arrive in such a peculiar place? You must tell me of your unusual case!
For I’ve had a few of my own and have learned from others and grown.
 I would have started doing this much earlier if, in life, if I had realized, I could avoid so much strife.
But, “live and learn” as they say. Do this and find out the hard way.
 That I did, and through some very narrow windows have slid.
By the grace of God, I have made it here. Lesson after lesson; year after year.
 I am not yet totally in the clear, but I feel like my chances grow increasingly near.
 I must continue to learn and let live, for some decisions, judgments, and choices are not always mine to give.
 What I can give, I will. Every minute, every ounce, every skill.
This I will do by not mine, but by His will.
 Seeking it day after day and always remembering that this is the way.
Yes, this is the way I must live: love, learn, grow, and give.

(Live, Love, Learn, Grow and Give is a poem by Justin Heupel) (Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash)


“God is the ultimate musician. His music transforms your life. The notes of redemption rearrange your heart and restore your life. His songs of forgiveness, grace, reconciliation, truth, hope, sovereignty, and love give you back your humanity and restore your identity”- Paul David Tripp

Psalm 111:9- He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!

Ephesians 1:7- In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.

Colossians 1: 20-22- And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.

John 3:16- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

According to the KJV dictionary, redemption is the purchase of God’s favor by the death and sufferings of Christ; the ransom or deliverance of sinners from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God’s violated law by the atonement of Christ. To me, redemption is a reminder of God’s unconditional and undying love. Because of that, I am free from the bandages of sin and am able to spend my days absent of a painful soul. God didn’t have to send Jesus to die on the cross, and Jesus did not have to experience that pain and humiliation. But, that is what they did. Through forgiveness, grace, reconciliation, truth, hope, sovereignty, and love we have been redeemed. Because God so loved the world, we have been redeemed. Today you can live in spiritual peace and freedom, because if you believe in Him, you are redeemed!

(Photo by Sangia on Unsplash)


“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”. – Mother Teresa.

  • If I have faith that can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
  • Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now, we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.  (Excerpts from 1 Cor. 13)
  •  John 3:16-  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Wow!  How powerful a reminder.  Love really is great.  Is there someone that you love?  Is there someone you know loves you?  Consider these things Paul has told us about love: it is kind and patient, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not self-seeking, or easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.  Love always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.

 It is sometimes easy to forget that we are loved and that people care about us.  Perhaps you don’t feel loved?  Remember how great our Lord’s love is for us, though.  His unfailing love led him to sacrifice Jesus on the cross for our sins.   Most things come and go, but faith, hope, and love will always remain.  When you are feeling down, remember the greatest of these is love, and always remember that you are and always will be loved.  Today you can choose to love and be loved!

(Photo by Samuel McGarrigle)

Patience in Love

Patience is a virtue, so we are told, but hearing that often gets old. 
There is one area in particular in which I seem to have the most trouble.  That is in the area of being deemed “loveable.” 
Will, I ever find “the one”?  Or is my heart’s fate to be continuously on the run?
  Is my love worthwhile?  Or is it estimated to be unworthy or vile? 
Should I stop trying?  Is that part of my personality dying? 
I hope that this is not the case.  Simply thinking about it makes my heart race.
  It is something I want so badly.  Something I wish could stop eluding me, and I often think of sadly.
  I have been close, I feel, but in the end, the feelings fail to be one hundred percent real.
  My relationships have always fallen short on some domain.  I know it has typically been my fault, however, so for that, I cannot complain. 
It still hurts, though, and at this point in my thinking, regret will always show.
  Moving on, I know, is the answer.  I feel like I am past that, though, and loneliness still looms like a cancer.
  So it’s back to being patient…  “Just wait,” they’ll say, as my heart grows more vacant. 
“The right person will find you when you least expect it.”  I had a hard time with that bit, but now I see it as a paradox and will wait; hopefully, love is never too late.

(Patience in Love is a poem by Justin Heupel) (Photo by Nick Fewings)

Unconditional Positive Regard

Unconditional positive regard: the act of loving without a charge.
A commitment to see past a person’s mistakes & be there with them no matter what it takes!
To know they may have been wrong, but for them to stay strong.
Realizing that we can’t be perfect & when there are struggles, fighting is not worth it.
Wanting the best for a person and settling for nothing less.
Understanding what is right and not letting you give up without a fight!
Believing in you when you feel like life is through!
Forgiving, no matter how wrong, and still being able to stay strong.
This characteristic is hard to find, and a person with it is one of a kind!
So if you are lucky enough to come across someone this loving, never let them go…
I won’t, I KNOW!

Unconditional Positive Regard is a poem by Justin Heupel
(Photo by Mark Adriane )

Courage, Strength, Hope, Love, and Faith

My courage, my strength, I must go on, I must have faith! 
My love, my fear, both appreciated more with every tear!
  My mercy and intuition help me to evaluate every situation.
  My blood, my sweat, help me to pay off every debt! 
My joy my passion, I will always remember smiling and laughing!
  My life, my strife…  Nothing’s won without a fight!
  My lies my hate, not forgotten, never too late. 
My hope my creed, shown by every deed.
Hard work and dreams, sometimes nothing is as it seems.
  My doubt and questions; answered by hard life lessons. 
Every family member, every friend…  No matter what, I’ll be there for you until the end! No matter how hard or painful, lonely, or cruel…  Don’t give up; there is nothing we can’t do.
 LIVE, always for good, leave no moral left misunderstood!
 LOVE with all your heart; if you don’t give it your all, it’s not even worth the start! 
Life is not easy, no one ever said it was…  So live it for yourself, not for someone else. 
Try to be humble and kind, you never know in life what you will find… 
Do this not for me but for yourself…  To say; I have nothing else!

(Courage, Strength, Hope, Love, and Faith is a poem by Justin Heupel) (Photo by Javier Allegue Barros)