Step 9 of the Twelve Step program. It is heavily advised in the program that Step 9 not be carried out without the consultation of one’s sponsor or spiritual advisor because this step requires a good amount of work, nuance, and possible risk. For the same reasons, Step 9 is often considered one of the most intimidating steps. The logic behind Step 9 is that if an individual does not make direct amends to the people they have harmed in their past, then such unhandled psychological burdens may later push a person to drink or relapse. Step 9 can undoubtedly be a huge, cathartic step in a person’s recovery, but it also seems to be a product of a boiled down philosophy at the core of the 12-step program, which assumes an individual’s problematic past can somehow be “righted” in a way not dissimilar to balancing out a spreadsheet.
As a perfect example of a Step 9 performed incorrectly, in the latest season of the IFC show Maron, Marc returns to a former drug dealer’s place to apologize for a missing sum of money. The scene ends with Marc’s dad robbing the drug dealer—as the dealer and the father argue over whether or not Marc was an addict before making the dealer’s acquaintance.