In Step 8, I had to make a list of the people I'd harmed. The guiding rule for this step has to be that they were harmed. But I've also read that they have to know that I've hurt them. If I made amends in Step 9 to someone I'd hurt in ways that they didn't know, then I would be harming them by trying to make amends. I think that the exception to this would be theft. But a basic thought in making amends is to do no harm.
In making amends, I have had to feel that the time was right. I needed to have some spiritual peace about making the amends. It's not something to rush into just for the need to get it done. Also, I didn't need to be too specific. The people I’ve harmed have a good idea of how I hurt them. There was no reason to hurt them all over again by dredging up the past. I needed to say that I know that I've hurt them. The most important thing I did when making an amend was to shut up and let the other person say what they needed to say. I had to be prepared to hear what they had to say.
The amends process is really about my healing. I hope that it helps the other person to heal but I can't make that happen. But it also isn't about my getting out of a jam--it's about my changing a behavior. I can only do that if I pray.
Helping the other person heal is a secondary gain of the amend. In order to get better, we have to follow up the consequences of our disease in the lives of other people. The Ninth Step is a step of faith-building and faith-developing. I had to go on faith because I didn't know how my amends would be taken with a couple of people. But whether they accept the amends or not, I felt prepared at the time because of being okay with myself and with my HP.