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The Underwear Amends

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Many times in the OA rooms, I’d heard people talk about putting themselves at the top of the list when beginning their Ninth Step amends. People said they’d punished, neglected, or mistreated themselves at least as much as they did anyone else, so self-amends were in order. I listened, but I just didn’t get it. Oh, I could run a negative script in my head and berate myself for overeating at night or buying some trigger food after a rough shift at work, but I never thought I needed to forgive myself or make amends.

Then, one day my daughter and grandkids came over for a swim in the pool where I live. My daughter wanted to use my clothes dryer after their swim. As she folded the laundry already in the dryer, she remarked, “Mom, you have got to buy yourself some new underwear. All of this stuff belongs in the trash!”

I remember feeling offended by her comment, but I didn’t say anything. I also didn’t rush out to buy any new underwear. I mean, I knew I needed new undies, and I would buy them someday. But I didn’t think I deserved anything new and nice right then, because I would buy new clothes to reward myself only when I got to whatever goal weight I had in mind at the time. Then I would deserve it. In the meantime, I would just have to suffer with the old, raggedy, frayed clothing I already had. “So there!” I thought. “Take that!”

Then I finally realized that, wow, this was punishing and depriving myself. I thought about all the years I’d bought nice clothes and done laundry for my husband and three kids.

Would I ever have let them walk around in shabby-looking clothing? No. I was always buying them new things, getting rid of the old stuff. But I didn’t believe I was good enough.

This week, I made an amends to myself. I went to a nice clothing store, not a discount place. And I bought myself a bag of new apparel in a size that fits right now, not the size I would like to be. The new stuff feels nice and looks nice. My worn-out stuff is gone. I do not need to punish myself. I am worthy and deserving.

This may not be the only amends I owe to myself, but it’s a start.

— Sherrill, Windsor, California USA


Delve more into Step Nine by listening to the Step Nine podcast, a free download found at oa.org/the-importance-of-working-all-twelve-steps.

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