Some angel of the Lord put together the Costanza-12 Steps storyline from “The Apology” episode of Seinfeld and who would we be if we didn’t post it here. So rich and hilarious, featuring a great cameo from James Spader and touching on a gazillion of our favorite themes, from scorekeeping to repentance and forgiveness, recovery, motivation, self-sabotage, etc, and ending with a scene of public condemnation of “law-breaking” that backfires to an almost New Testament degree:

Perfect opportunity to plug the Step 9 section of John Z’s Grace in Addiction: The Good News of Alcoholics Anonymous for Everybody:

Amends are not primarily designed to give us relief from guilt; they exist instead for the sake of the people to whom we are making them. After all, love will always emphasize the wellbeing of others over and against our own… An increased desire to acknowledge shortcomings and apologize quickly is part of the fruit that comes from working the Steps…

maxresdefaultBut it is also the case that external factors play a role in creating this readiness to make amends. Perhaps you hear from an old acquaintance out of the blue, or bump into someone you haven’t seen in years. Many a recovering alcoholic has reported that the Steps almost seem to be happening to them, of their own accord, and nowhere is this more apparent than with Step 9. I knew one AA who found himself seated on a plane next to one of the people on his 8th Step list, just a week after finishing his 5th Step. When it’s time for this sort of healing to occur, God often makes it obvious, both by preparing us and the recipients for amends-making. Which is not to say that we should ever recklessly make amends without serious reflection and consultation with a sponsor. Fresh enthusiasm is not the same thing as wisdom…

Truth be told, the pitfalls associated with amends-making are almost impossible to avoid completely without God’s help. We have learned that such help often comes through the mouth of other people. If we waited until our motivations were perfect, we would wait forever. Rather than let these pitfalls deter us, therefore, perhaps they can inspire us to test the substance of having God at the center of our lives – such an attitude rarely disappoints. “Into your hands I commit my spirit” makes for a good motto during the amends-making process (Psalm 31:5, quoted by Christ on the cross in Luke 23:46).