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    Kathy G

    Restitution (Step 9): the restoration of what was wrongly taken or stolen from the rightful owner; recompense for injury or loss.
    When I have convicted myself of a wrong done, I must do 3 things for the restitution to be complete:
    1. admit that I was wrong, for specific actions (not a general statement of “if I ever hurt you in any way”)
    2. I must confess to the person these specific actions that harmed them
    3. then, I must restore what was wrongly taken from or inflicted upon someone that injured them as proof of genuine repentance. In most instances, I commit to engage in trust-rebuilding actions to restore the trust or share and commit to the boundaries I have set for myself to re-establish safety for them. If I have stolen something, it must be returned or something of the equivalent value that is agreed upon.
    We are wounded in relationships and we are healed in relationships. The only way for us to make peace with others is to pull back the rug that we’ve been sweeping things under and deal with it head-on. The dirt isn’t going anywhere, the pile is just getting bigger.
    When I have harmed another person, I have wounded them, causing a rupture in the relationship. Either the trust was broken, their safety was compromised (either physical, emotional or spiritual) or I took something from them that was not mine to take. If an amends is made without restitution, it is not complete. Amends means we change our behavior, but at the same time, we do the best we can to restore the relationship to the state it was before the harm was done.
    If my amends is made sincerely and with an offer of restitution, reconciliation MAY be possible. Our authenticity may soften the heart of another and they may also apologize for any wrongdoing that they may be responsible for. This is not always the case but we aim to clean up our side of the street so that it might not be us that is holding up any reconciliation!

    Scott Weeman

    I love the way you put this, Kathy! I have heard of many ways of explaining what happens in the Ninth Step and process of making amends (reconciliation, restoration), and I believe restitution is just as applicable. This is like the blend of a verbal amends and a living amends. The first time I worked through the Steps, my sponsor made it very clear that I stole the peace of mind of those closest to me by my behavior and I needed to start acting with integrity if I wanted to earn back their (and, maybe more importantly, my own) trust. Praise God for the grace, mercy, and restitution we get to experience through the Twelve Steps!

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