Step Nine: Cleaning our Side of the Street

“Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Now comes the time to put your eighth step to good use and approach those you have harmed in the past with proffered amends. This step should be handled delicately and with a great deal of consideration as you weigh the potential impact your apology will have on the person you harmed as well as others whom you both know. There are a few scenarios which could complicate the completion of your ninth step, but there will never be a situation which cannot be resolved in a positive manner for your recovery.

One possible snag which you may encounter is an inability to get in touch with a person to whom you owe an amends. This could happen for a number of reasons, from simply losing touch with the person to their having passed away. If you have exhausted all avenues in an attempt to reconnect with an individual on your amends list, you can still complete a living amends. A living amends is a commitment to conduct yourself in a manner which makes up for the transgression committed against the person with whom you are unable to connect. This happens rather frequently to recovering individuals working their ninth step, as death is tragically commonplace among friends and acquaintances we make in active substance abuse.

Another circumstance frequently encountered by those working their ninth step is a lack of willingness to communicate on the part of the recipient. You are not responsible for how your amends are taken by others, all you are accountable for is putting forth a solid effort at making the amends. If a person is unwilling to meet with you in person or even have a conversation by phone, you can always write them a heartfelt letter and mail it to them. This respects their boundaries while also allowing you an opportunity to offer an apology and attempt to make the situation between you two right.

The ninth step is our chance to clean up the wreckage of our past which has negatively impacted others. This is an important step which should be taken with care and consideration both for the well-being of yourself and those to whom you are approaching with an amends. You should go over your eighth step with your sponsor in order to ensure no further harm will come from completing your ninth step, as there could be situations where information is best left unexposed to a person. As is true with all 12 steps, so long as you approach your ninth step with rigorous honesty, willingness, and faith in your higher power’s plans for you, everything will transpire exactly as it should and you will rejoice as you right the wrongs of your past and move forward in your recovery.


Evolutions is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in beautiful South Florida. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment centers around addressing and healing the underlying issues at the root of addiction, rather than merely medicating symptoms away.

Our treatment program includes individual and group-based therapy to help clients understand and manage their symptoms and emotions.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, alcoholism, or any co-occurring disorders please call us at (833) 818-3031 or visit