The heaviest amends

A bedrock part of the 12 step Alcoholics Anonymous program for getting sober and staying sober is making amends, admitting faults and transgressions.

Step 8: Make a list of all persons we had harmed and become willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Louis Bostich got sober in A.A., and his conscience began tormenting him to the point he knew he would drink again if he didn’t make amends. He went to a church, told the pastor to call the police, he had something to tell them. They came, and he confessed that twenty years ago, he murdered a woman in a drunken haze. He’s now doing fifteen years in prison.

A spokesman for Alcoholic Anonymous said he and other officials at the organization, which cites confessions of recovering alcoholics through its “Big Book,” could not recall a case in which someone had accepted responsibility for such a serious crime.


  1. AA has many members who have gone to jail sober in the process of making amends. It happens. Ultimately, each person’s conscience has to guide them through the steps (along with the occasional gentle nudge from an AA sponsor). We have seen many go through incarceration, stay sober and go on to live free and happily sober.

  2. I knew someone who spent many years in prison. Upon release, after asking in advance, saying if they never wanted to see him that was fine and they never would, he got permission from a couple, went to their home and did what he could to make amends for murdering their son.

    Wouldn’t be nice to have a planet where politicians simply admitted when they were wrong or had injured others too…

  3. PS Yes, they can indeed go onto to happy, normal lives.

    Several men I know led extremely violent lives before getting sober. If you met them now, you’d never even remotely guess what their pasts were like.

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