On recovery: Surrender self-will with Step 9

Step 8 begins the practice of satya, honesty, and Step 9 moves this into action with amends. This process starts first on the inside before moving to the outside. When you start recovery, you realize your behavior in the past was not your best. As your mind clears, you see better ways. With these realizations, many have the desire to start making amends right away. You can do some of this through living amends, which is just changing your ways on a moment-to-moment basis. But before you begin to make formal amends, wait until you have wholeheartedly worked each of the steps up to nine, and be sure you do make amends with the right attitude and approach.

The Bhagavad Gita suggests we relinquish self-will and follow divine will, an important part of the process of Step 9. Before you begin making amends, check in with how you feel. If you feel an urgency to begin, it is usually a sign you are working from self-will. Is the urgency you feel because you have something that you need to get off your chest or are you truly ready to address your past behavior? Take pause for prayer and listen for guidance. Talking to a sponsor or trusted teacher may also be helpful.

You should not buy your own peace of mind at another’s expense. With the guidance of someone experienced in 12 Step recovery, you will be able to see when to make amends, and only do so when you can reasonably determine that it will not cause harm to anyone. To do this you must be on the “beam,” as it says in the AA 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. Use the Intuitive Energy Practice tools of being in the center of your head and grounding and running energy to find this beam. This allows you to be sincere and have true generosity, regardless of how your amends are received or what the outcome is.

Viveka, discernment, develops with healthy living. This starts after you have given up addiction, but unfolds further as you continue the path of recovery. When you have truly worked the steps, you will cultivate viveka, giving you the ability to pause, surrender self-will and ask God for direction.  

It requires courage and prudence to take Step 9, so approach it with discretion and the guidance of a sponsor. Trust the process of recovery and trust the process of life; both will bring relief. This ishvarapranidhana, surrender to the God of your heart, is a step on the path to happiness, joy and freedom.

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