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Step 9 of Overeaters Anonymous – Saying You’re Sorry

Step 9 of Overeaters AnonymousAs part of my continued Ode to the 12 Days of Christmas for Bulimics and Anorexics this post is about Step 9 of Overeaters Anonymous, which reads:

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

The essence of step 9 of OA reminds me of something I learned earlier this year from Joe Vitale called the ancient Hawaiian  practice of  Ho’oponopono.  The Hawaiians believe the original purpose of Ho’oponopono was to correct the wrongs that had occurred in someone’s life.

A true practice of Ho’oponopono is deep inner work and can lead to tremendous healing – for both the one who practices it and those that are the object of their attention.  I encourage you to learn more about it if you feel it will help you in this step.   I am introducing it to your awareness and the words that are used during that practice may help you as you make amends to friends and loved ones you have harmed (from step 8 of OA).  These four sentences are meant to be something of a chant or mantra that you repeat to yourself as you heal your heart and let go of the blocks that are keeping you from love.  You can also use them as the words you speak when you actually make amends.

I love you. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

The theme in this step of making amends to the people in our live we’ve harmed is so straightforward I don’t think it requires much explanation. What I want you to have are some tools to help you as you make contact to rebuild bridges and say your apologies.  The healing work you’re about to engage in will be tremendous – for both you and the person you’ve wronged.

Making amends can come in many forms and whatever thoughts are welling up within you like “I can’t say I’m sorry to that person they’ll think I’m nuts” or “She was so mean to me I don’t have to apologize to her, do I?”  This step is about healing yourself so you can transform the world around you.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to apologize to someone like this and they blurted out that they were sorry, too.  We both ended up talking about what jerks we were and we had missed talking and being in each other’s lives.  It’s really remarkable what can happen when you apologize.

I want to offer a couple of pointers for you.  Be sincere with your apologies.  If you’re not feeling sorry for your actions towards someone then you haven’t fully healed your heart.  I would encourage you to keep working on letting go of judgment, anger, resentment or whatever is keeping you from feeling love towards this person.  Mind you, it may take years.  That’s ok…you don’t have to say all of your apologies next week, but when you do you’re actually healing yourself so I encourage you to try it on some easy relationships at first to get the hang of it.

The second pointer I have is that you may have some amends to make with people who have passed on or you’ve lost touch with.  The best way I know to do this is by writing them a letter.   This won’t be a letter you’ll mail, but act as if you’re speaking to them and write out the apology as if they were right there in the room.  If you’ve come from your heart while you do this you’ll actually feel their apology come from the Universe and know they’ve accepted your apology from wherever they are now.

I want to leave you with one thing as we wrap up this step.  The Hawaiians have another saying that I encourage you to embrace as you move forward in your eating disorder recovery journey and that is…

When you look, do it with love.

If you’d like to share your comments or feedback on my interpretation of this (step 9 of overeaters anonymous), please feel free to leave a message below.

Get ready for my next post – Step 10 of Overeaters Anonymous (OA).  Here’s a preview:

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.