AA Step 9 today, which makes direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so, would injure them or others.
As an alcoholic, that goes to meetings each day. I think it's important to discuss the steps openly which is why I'm doing this in a live stream and to carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers and that is the mission that we leave with on the 12th Step. It is very important.
To me, that is part of my amends is living amends each day to focus on carrying the message in trying to help somebody else even when it might be inconvenient for me. Even when I'd rather do a live stream on a different topic.
Today my amend is to reach out and to help anyone I might have no idea if I could help and be available to answer questions.
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I'm thinking about making direct amends today in AA Step 9. What has been the best result of this is repairing the relationships in my life by seeing the amends I need to make.
After my 8th Step revealed, I start with myself that I need to be nice to myself and treat myself with decency. I've honestly been struggling with AA Step 9 today.
I've been pushing, expecting so much doing. Even doing this live stream, I've already recorded several videos today and rendered and got several more ready and I'm thinking “Well, one more. I can do one more. I can do a little bit more.
It's balanced but the rest of the day after that, I will be relaxing and spending time with my family.
Thus, I'm grateful today that the main amends to make is to treat myself better. I take a lot of time for self-care. I get good sleep each night and one amends is to simply stay sober. Drinking is the worst thing I've ever done to me.
Simply not drinking and going to a meeting every day is a big amend to me in AA Step 9.
Then there are the amends to other people. It's being nice to other people. It's apologizing to other people and acknowledging that what you did was hurtful or a challenge for someone to deal with today.
I'm not proud of it either. I yelled at everybody but my wife today yelled at both of the kids which is unusual. I don't usually yell. I often may make it a week or two without yelling at all at any of my kids regardless of what's going on.
Today, I've been experiencing some anger and frustration thinking I just can't do enough when really I'm probably doing too much.
This goes into the 10th Step as we start in the AA Step 9 making a habit of admitting what we've done and ideally then we get into the habit of this in AA Step 9.
Like today, when I yell at my kids, I apologize to them right away and I work on helping someone in feeling better and then I don't need to go years before I apologize for something, acknowledge it and then change the behavior.
If you just keep yelling at your kids and apologizing and yelling and apologizing, to me, the real amends are to change the behavior in AA Step 9.
It's September and a lot of the readings like the daily reflections are talking about making amends and if you are wondering how to do this, it's ideal to work with your sponsor, read the book, read the 12-step in this 12th tradition.
When I first started doing AA Step 9, I blundered into it. The idea of AA Step 9 is to not just bring up every single thing you did that someone else doesn't know about that might hurt them.
That said, I completely see a differing view that is in the big book by Alcoholics Anonymous for AA Step 9 that's important to mention.
In the book Alcoholics Anonymous, it says something about if you had some kind of extramarital affair then you shouldn't tell your spouse about it in many cases.
To me, that was promoting a less than total honesty. Total honesty is very important.
Now, it needs to be delivered with kindness but if you've made an agreement in a relationship and whether that's a partnership, romantic, a business relationship or if it's an agreement of your family and you've blatantly violated it or done something outside of it, the other person or party doesn't know.
I think this is something that needs to be handled completely and honestly, even if in the short-term the other person doesn't react very well in AA Step 9.
For me, the long-term is what you're here for and I know if someone blatantly violated a relationship with me, I'd like to know about it.
I just got a letter saying my identity was shared and the company suffered a breach and I'm glad they told me about it because if you've lost my personal information to hackers, the honest thing to do is tell me about it.
Even if I in the temporary moment have a real low reputation of your company now for losing all of my first little information to hackers when I have hardly been making any sales there, that still is important to restore the possibility of a good relationship.
Another thing while making amends, lots of times, there'll be this desire to go make all the amends immediately and there are a lot of amends I just am not available to make or the person I might make it to is not available to receive.
So a lot of times the best amends is to just treat the people you come across the best you can.
When I come across people on my live stream, I consistently welcome everybody with open arms. Love and tolerance is my code which is why I don't go banning people from my streams even when things are said that are disagreeable.
You would be blown away by the things that have been said in the chat on my live streams. I'm grateful for a nice, peaceful, quiet live chat to allow perfect recording.
That is something I do, that is indirect. I used to drink and be a real tyrant on Xbox, a real pain in the butt to anyone I was playing with.
Those on my team were lucky enough to get anything less than just a little bit of getting cussed out when they didn't do what I wanted and those on the other team just in the lobby were likely to get the worst of me.
My friends were the ones thankfully that started to ask questions and suggest things like “Jerry, you need God or dude you need to cut back a little bit”.
Today, like I was indiscriminate on Xbox with hurting people. I'm indiscriminate with helping people. I'm available to help anyone anywhere in the world through the videos I do to carry the message to places that I might not have ever heard of Alcoholics Anonymous before and that's part of my amends.
While I am aware of the comments of people talking about the 11 traditions, maybe I shouldn't talk about AA on my channel. Maybe, I need a big disclaimer.
The 12-step to carry the message is the key here and this is my Youtube channel. This is my creation and therefore, if you're here, you're welcome to be a part of my amends.
My amends are also to practice love and tolerance in areas where I might prefer to practice judgment, hostility, defensiveness and to accept all the comments that come my way today without trying to prove the other person wrong or tear the other person down.
The idea is that when we make these amends, we feel better. I feel good about myself daily because of the amends I'm making. I'm going around treating people as I want to be treated now.
I'm even able to accept and understand when people are treating me in a way I wouldn't want to be treated because I treated a lot of people in ways I didn't want to be treated and today I understand how that happens.
I understand that if we're to break the cycle of treating each other in a way we don't want to be treated, it starts with us.
It's unreasonable to expect the other person to essentially go first and ironically, I've noticed, if I'm in a good place and I open up and make amends, the other person very often will either do the same or get lost.
Either way, there won't continue to be an issue and the more open I am to making amends, the more people are making amends for me and I think it's great.
Sometimes, I don't even need to apologize first and it's nice and I don't have to try and push someone until they see that they're wrong and that is a very peaceful way to live.
It's a gift of my life that I'm able to do this and share this message with you today and I see also that I'm no better than anyone else because I'm doing my best today to share a message about love, hope, and faith.
The best I could do 6 years ago was getting drunk and sharing a message of “F.U” and that's the best I could do 6 years ago.
The nice thing about being like that is when that is someone I come across when that's their best today, my amends are to understand and say well, “Maybe they'll have a chance. Maybe they'll have a chance to get the same miracles in their life that I've had in my life. Maybe they will live the whole rest of their life like that and that's fine”.
I see them as teachers that this person is teaching me how to have love and tolerance.
I have a partner, my wife, who's very consistently what you call sassy and it's a good thermometer for me. A spiritual thermometer to see how I am doing.
If she says something a bit sassy and I take it as critical, start getting defensive, wanting to attack, I see “Oh, I'm disturbed. It's not her, I'm disturbed”.
Now sometimes, I look a little wounded and she's like “Whooo too far. I’m like, a little too far”.
I see today that in amends to make to her after all she put up with for my drinking is to love and accept her the way she is as she loved me and accepted me when from my view, I was pretty unlovable lots of times as a husband for the first year and a half of our marriage.
I've experienced more anger than usual today and I even yelled at both of my kids which is unusual and then felt worse and cried.
To me, the way through that is to talk about it and admit my humanity. That's like the worst part. That is the worst part of my day, the part I would least like you to see and know about and part of my amends today is to be brutally honest about the challenges in my life.
Whereas, before I used to try and hide my drinking and hide the things that I did today. I'm brutally honest about the worst of myself.
Thus, today's been challenging. I yelled. I screamed. I cried. I've been confused and yet I keep trying to help someone.
I saw this. I have this graphic ready for AA Step 9. I thought let me try a live stream and let me see if anybody is interested in doing these live instead of me just doing them pre-recorded.
Being honest about my life is a big amends. That's something I can do that helps me feel good and helps a lot of other people.
After about a year in AA with all that I do online, I realized that it was dishonest of me to not be specific and about what I do because the only reason not to would be out of self-centered fear.
I was minimizing or being generic, and I don't like it when other people minimize and be generic. I like exact specific because that's how I can relate.
Syed: What's the difference between making amends and offering an apology?
The essence of AA Step 9 is to go from many of us, especially us alcoholics, or just as human beings are very good at making apologies. Oh, I'm sorry. I used to be sorry for a lot of things as when I drink, you need to be sorry for a lot of stuff to try and just repair.
The difference between saying you're sorry and in an apology is the actions you take after you say you're sorry. Anyone can say you're sorry and I've said I'm sorry a whole lot of times in my life and for me, I'm sorry work.
I've tried some other things like I don't feel good about what I did or I appreciate your patience with how I was. For me, saying I'm sorry feels the most honest and maybe that's a habit I could break and say something better.
For me, the difference is what you do after you say you're sorry.
The big difference between an apology and amends is when you're making an apology, you just say you're sorry and you don't do anything different. You don't learn any new ways to do better. You're not motivated and you're doing your best.
You may be doing your best but you're not taking suggestions or testing or trying anything new to not get yourself in the same situation where you need to say I'm sorry again.
For example, I used to say I'm sorry to my wife a lot for my drinking and my hangovers. When you say I'm sorry, you just say you're sorry and forget about it.
When you are making amends, you may say I'm sorry or you might not. When you're making amends that you're thinking how can I do better and you're willing to do whatever it takes. This goes back to Step 6 and Step 7 in AA.
It is to be willing to have God to remove all these defects of character and then seven humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
When I yell at my children today, I say I'm sorry and then my amends is to figure out what changes I need to first talk about it. The big difference in saying I'm sorry and amends, it all starts with opening up and asking for help.
I used to say I'm very sorry but I didn't want anybody's help after that. I'd say I'm sorry for getting drunk and being an idiot last night but then I didn't want to hear any more about it.
I wasn't interested in talking any more about it with anybody either. Let's just sweep that under the rug and move on. Amend to me is to start talking about whatever it is you just said you're sorry for as I'm doing here.
I yelled at my children and I'm talking with everyone. I want to learn what I need to do so I don't yell at my children because I'm pretty close to being there where I don't ever yell at them but I've still got a little bit of room for improvement.
To me, yelling is a gateway problem. Yelling indicates a loss of control and if I'm getting to the point of yelling then that's a gateway into worse problems which we do not want.
Thus, the big first step after saying I'm sorry is to start asking for help.
Look, how do I take care of myself in such a way that I don't get so angry where I yell at my children? How can I take my anger out in a different way instead of having it all on edge and then when my children do something ordinary, I get triggered off and yell at them?
Therefore, the difference between and I'm sorry and amend starts with reaching out and asking for help and talking honestly about exactly in every case possible, exactly what was done and how do we work on not doing that.
I've done that with a whole bunch of things in sobriety. It's amazing and today, my life is unrecognizable from how it was before because I've gone through this process so many times saying I'm sorry, asking for help, learning what I can do to not do that again and I did not yell at my wife today.
That is a big improvement because she was usually the first one to catch me yelling at and I managed on some level to realize that she didn't do anything. I'm disturbed and I don't want to yell.
Syed: Should you try to make amends with someone who doesn't want to hear from you?
My suggestion is, NO. Don't make amends with someone who doesn't want to hear from you. Karma, energy needs to be changed first and that can be done.
I did this in Alcoholics Anonymous a few months ago. I went up and told this girl that I had these resentments at but that I'd never outwardly verbalized her and I set it up as trying to make amends.
I felt a lot of fear beforehand and I started talking to her and within a minute, she had cut me off, cursed me out and walked off and I realized WOW. The purpose of the amends was to make things better and that did not make things any better.
Therefore, that was an example of what not to do.
Another experience I'd like to share is that one day, when I was remembering about 6 months to a year in sobriety. I was remembering all the girls I dated and all the things I'd done and I got this desire to make amends during AA Step 9.
I was like, I'm going to call them all up and apologize and I shared that thankfully at the AA Step 9 meeting before I did it. A lot of the other amends ideas I had, I did not share with anyone before I did them and some of them were painful for everybody and could have been handled nicer.
Fortunately, I shared this in an AA meeting and I heard stories from one lady who shared that somebody went to prison because they contacted a person that did not want to hear from them.
I heard a lot of other stories of people getting thrown out of houses because of the amends that were made too early. If someone has expressed a desire not to hear from me, the best amends I can do for them is to love and accept them as they are.
I still go to AA meetings and say I'm an alcoholic every day. I drank from 2003 when I was a freshman in college to 2014. I tried to quit a whole bunch of times and I never had any big outward consequences worse than losing a job.
I was a police officer and they encouraged me to quit and I did that. That was the worst outward consequence I had with my drinking. I wrecked a car also.
I certainly deserved to have a lot more outward consequences. However, I have some propensity in this existence for not getting it caught with things or just having an idea of when someone's watching me.
Thus, I got away with a lot of things that other people who did them a fraction like drinking and driving. A lot of people who did them a fraction of as much as I did got DUIs somehow and I kept telling myself, I'm not that bad.
I'm not that bad because I just kept saying I'm sorry, sweeping things under the rug, doing the same things and then forgetting all the reasons that I should never drink again.
Today, I'm grateful for 5 years of sobriety that is attributed directly to the help I get every day in Alcoholics Anonymous that I try and give back.
Now, it's an anonymous program. However, it's anonymous with everyone else in it. That means I don't talk about the other people I go to AA with. However, I have a duty to carry the message and be honest in my own life.
You can make amends completely in your heart. You can write out a letter to the person and then just put it away or burn it. You can make the amends completely to them without bothering or contacting them.
On an energetic level, it does make a difference and you'll be surprised when you do this, for example, if you have someone you really hurt and you really want to make amends but you know they don't want to hear from you, especially if something like a restraining order in place then you can write it all out.
You can write it down. Write the letter that you would send them and you can put it away and send them when the restraining order is taken away and they want to hear from me or whatever it is.
You can do everything except contact them. You can talk your way through whatever it is you'd like to say to them. You can do it with your sponsor or another person. You could pretend that they were that person.
You can do everything yourself without getting a hold of that other person.
Syed: Is it good to make a list of people you need to make amends with?
Yes, definitely. In AA, Step 8 is for you to make a list of people you need to make amends to. Just making the list is therapeutic because lots of times after making the list, you can see what you can do immediately to start making amends.
Just by making the list, lots of times we can see things that the lists have in common. Oh, I was selfish with this person, this person, this person, this person, and that person.
My amends today is to find a way to not be so selfish. Find out and learn about how to get inspired and do better.
Part of my amends today that I practice is love and tolerance. This is my code. I do not ban anybody from my streams. Although I do try and filter words and each new word that slips through then I try to filter.
I welcome everyone's discussion. I understand it costs me, viewer, sometimes because people like to see someone with a differing opinion and then feel good.
I've had regular viewers that will not come back to a stream after they got bothered by somebody else watching. Today, it's my amends to be an example of love and tolerance, to welcome everything everyone has to say.
Carlos: I'm an addict. I've been clean since 2006 but sometimes I feel like getting high and then I think of every loss. What else do you think I can think of so I will never use it again?
Thank you very much for asking about that. It's common if you have had some kind of addiction to think of it periodically. What I see today is the better I take care of myself and the better I help other people out in my life, the fewer times things like a drink will look attractive to me.
I've suffered through plenty of addictions. Alcoholism being number one. However, I've struggled with gambling and I've struggled with watching adult movies online and the corresponding sexual behaviors in myself.
I've struggled with those things and I'm grateful to say today that I've recovered from all of those that I am a very healthy happy human being today who has behaviors that I am proud of and then I'm willing people could watch every second of my life.
I don't do anything I'm ashamed of worse than yelling at my children. It's really nice today. That said, the thought of one thing or another will still come up for me and what I do is I talk about it with other people as soon as possible.
I have a strong desire for a drink which doesn't happen often. Whenever it does, I talk to people right away with whoever's close to me first. I'll reach out and talk to my sponsor. I'll share it in an AA group.
I've even experienced desires for self-harm before that thankfully after talking about them enough, getting a help, counseling, hypnotherapy, reading books, massages, training, and so many things, now I'm free of those and that's why I share this message.
Just to let you know that anything you struggle with, you can be free of it. We're currently working on anger because that's the level where I'm at today and sometimes things pop back up too. I hope that answers good for the question you asked.
Dougald Rump: What are your thoughts on religion?
I think religion is one of the many things that try to guide us to our path to our best life and also can misguide us. Everything in life depends on how we use it.
Religion to me is to often talk about someone else's spiritual experience and how we can essentially replicate that ourselves. To me, if we get lost in the signposts of religions then we're missing the point.
The point of Christianity is how to know and be one with God and if we miss that point then at the point of all religions to me seems to know God or to know Nirvana or know love.
Almost all religions seem to say the same things. Thus, I love all religions and accept all people even the religions that just get crazy are a manifestation. These are opportunities to practice love and tolerance.
Brandon: Are you really happy though?
Yes. I love my life most of the time. Occasionally, I get a little angry and frustrated with my life and out of that comes motivation to change to help others.
When I get frustrated with my life, I've got a lot of motivation to reach out and help you. I don't know if I would have had the courage to step up and do an AA step 9 for a live stream if I hadn't just before this been so angry.
I yelled at my kids and then felt bad about it and cried and yelled. When I experience frustration, it's learning, it's growing and then I am very convinced and motivated to go help others.
Yes, I am very happy though. I still have thoughts of playing video games occasionally and I don't have a passion for it though.
Syed: Can you explain about direct amends and an indirect amend?
Yes. A direct amend is where you go directly to that person or you focus directly on that specific person.
For example, in my marriage, I made lots of direct amends to my wife for things I did, things I said, my behavior and then I altered those things as the amends.
I stay sober. I treat her a lot better. I think of her proactively today instead of reactively.
An indirect amend is when you're not able to make amends directly to the person like either they don't want you to talk to them ever again or they've passed on or you can't contact them.
An indirect amend is making amends anonymous while you can't go back and undo what you did to another person, you can use what you learned and treat the next person better and accept the next person.
For example, with my father, I'm not able because he passed on and he passed on right before I started going to AA. I am not able to essentially go face-to-face with him. I have worked on a lot of direct amends with my father just by writing things down, thinking about him and through hypnotherapy.
Indirect amends in that respect are to be thoughtful of other people and to act like how I would like to act to my father, to other people. To treat other people with the same love and kindness that I would treat my father with if he was around.
This can be really good with relationships. I was very strongly advised not to make any direct demands with any of my exes after coming to AA.
Therefore, what I do is I make indirect amends today. I treat every girl I come across as nice and kind as possible and that is my indirect amends. That includes being friends with an attractive girl.
These are indirect amends to really see beyond the skin and to just be friends with the person.
I could not be friends with an attractive girl before I came to AA and my amends to all women is to be able to be a friend today regardless of gender and that's big indirect amends from being and dating people that they purely were a gender to me.
They were a person to me most of the time if at all they were a gender they were what I wanted in my life. Therefore, my indirect amends is to go beyond gender and be able to be friends with someone today regardless of gender.
Another amend is to respect when I get discriminated against based on my gender. I got my feelings hurt one day in an AA meeting. There's a girl giving almost everybody a hug and then I asked for a hug and she’s like, “Well, I don't hug guys”.
I realized she had just hugged several other of the older guys but I felt discriminated against them like what? Just because I'm a young attractive man, I'm not the same as the women or the older guys in your eyes?
Then I turned that around and I realized that's a compliment. I'm not the same as the other guys. There's something else that comes up there and that's a compliment. That's how I got out of that resentment.
Thus, indirect amends is to accept other people's treatment of me also without being hostile, confrontational, and hurting them. I hope that's useful for you Syed.
The biggest amends I can make to my physical body today outside of staying sober, exercising, and eating is to be grateful for how it looks. For the first time, I do feel I'm attractive which is a gift and that's an amend I make today too.
Thank you for giving me a chance to talk about AA Step 9 today.
If you need to contact me privately, I've got my contact info posted right out there in the open for you. You can message me, email me and I've got workshops and calls, etc.
You may also like to read this post: AA Step 6! Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
So, thank you for being here. I love you. You are awesome and I'll see you on the next live stream.
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