Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. (*)
Like so many Steps, Step 8 comes in two parts. The first is easy. Easy, that is if you’ve done your 4th Step. As you looked at your shortcomings certain people came to mind; you’ll probably need to make amends to most of those.
It’s just a list
And that’s what you’re doing in the first part – making a list.
Write down those names. Some people write the list in the same notebook they did the 4th Step. Some make a list on their computer using either a word processing program like Word® or in a spreadsheet. The form doesn’t matter as long as you do get it written down in some place you won’t lose it.
You might even want to write a one or two word description of what you owe amends for next to each name, but the chances are that won’t be necessary.
I found it helpful to put people in categories, like Financial, Romance, Friends, Business, Family, etc., but that isn’t necessary if you don’t want to do it that way. A simple list is just fine. It turned out the categories just showed me more of what my inventory had taught me.
Be thorough, but don’t drive yourself crazy. Don’t leave anyone out on purpose, but if you miss someone know you can add to the list any time.
The second part of Step 8 is becoming willing to make amends to every single person on the list. Yes, the same willingness we’ve been talking about all along.
I found I was willing to make amends to some of the people on my list without any problem. Others were a bit more difficult. My sponsor suggested I move on to Step 9 and begin the process of making amends to those I was willing to contact. But he didn’t let me skip the rest.
There was, for example, my parents, particularly my dad. I was furious with him and for awhile I could only see the problems he’d caused and not my part in any of it. Yet our 4th Step suggests we take responsibility for our part in every transaction.
So I prayed for the willingness. In fact I prayed for the willingness to be willing, and gradually, grudgingly it came. I’ll tell you exactly how that worked out in Step 9.
Step 8 is really about accepting responsibility for the wrong we’ve done through our addiction. We may have apologized many times before, but never while working a Program and staying abstinent.
When we were practicing our addiction to whatever behavior or substance we were addicted to we avoided responsibility like the plague, always either ignoring the issues entirely or placing the blame on others. Or we’d wallow in self-pity still feeling like it was the world that was against us. We never could make the connection between acting out our addiction and the stuff that kept happening to us.
Now we’re beginning to heal, and Step 8 is a significant part of moving toward healing.
How did you make your Step 8 list? How did it feel once you’d gotten it written down?
Love, blessings and abundance,