Contrary to popular misconception, Yom Kippur is not only about being forgiven by G‑d. Forgiveness you can get all year round; Yom Kippur is primarily about atonement. Big difference. Forgiveness means that after I make my apology, I'm off the hook. Atonement means that I am engaged in hard work to restore the relationship to its original state.

The word for atonement in Hebrew is kaparah, which also means "wiping up." If I spill my grape juice on your carpet, I can say sorry and be forgiven. But the stain is still there. Atonement only comes when I get the carpet cleaners to come clean your carpet.

And this is exactly what we do in the Ninth Step. Amends are not apologies. Making amends means trying to remove the stain, making things right again, and eventually even restoring the relationship to how it originally was. If an apology will make the person feel better, then we may include an apology in the amends. But the main thing is that we make it up to the person in a way that is significant to them.

Our amends to G‑d are not an apology, but rather a sincere attempt to restore the relationship on His terms — the way He likes it. Of course, if you just come to the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, then that's not really an amend. The making of amends is a long-term project where we show the one we have harmed that we have honestly changed and changed permanently. When we behave differently all year round as a result of our Yom Kippur amends, then we are proving that we really atoned.