“The Ninth Step can be a project of some magnitude.”
Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 49
In my Ninth Step to my wife, I took responsibility in detail for the damage and danger I had caused. To my son and daughter, then in their mid-twenties, I was less specific. My wife and I worried that full disclosure could harm them.
Last year, I learned that my daughter had discovered years ago that I had been seeing prostitutes. She kept this secret for years. Here was more damage I caused, damage I had never imagined—the shock she must have felt, the uncertainty and pain of holding such a dark secret for so long. I knew I owed her amends, again. I made amends and hoped she would see that she had no part in it, that it was all on me. I still don’t know the full scope of her pain because she broke down, sobbing throughout my amends.
I then realized I owed more amends to my son. Either he knew, and I owed him amends, or he did not, and the rest of us now held a secret from him that could only erode our family’s trust.
My son responded immediately to my amends. He was angry. I struggled. Why wasn’t he glad to hear my honesty? Why didn’t my wife tell him how wonderful our relationship was now?
It helps when I remember that successful amends are defined by honesty, thoroughness, and thoughtfulness, not by the reactions of others.
With my Higher Power and my sponsor’s help, I accept responsibility in this project of some magnitude.