Topic for the week: Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all
I am and will always be so grateful for sponsorship and having women to help me with step work. I wanted to breeze through step 8 and find out how I was supposed to make amends, a step I had dreaded from the beginning.
But my sponsor explained that I could make a list using my inventory. Everyone in the first column of the inventory should be on my 8th step list and she and I would talk about each one and what amends were owed.
Step 8 really slowed me down. I was told to pray and thoughtfully consider the harm done to each person on the inventory. Then, I was to make 3 lists. The 1st was the amends that would be easy, I understood my harm and was willing to approach these people. The 2nd was a list of people I felt I owed an amends to, but I had reservations about making them. The 3rd list I either didn’t see the harm or was terrified of ever making a direct amend.
We started with the 1st list and she had me pray, then write a SHORT amend stating the harm I thought I caused. I started each one with the fact that I was alcoholic and trying to set right wrongs I had done. Then the facts, i.e. I was unkind, I lied, I was afraid, whatever had shown up on the inventory. Leaving out lengthy details and explanations, just the actions I took that were harmful. I had a lot of amends to make for gossiping and some of those were tricky. Do I make amends to the person I gossiped about or just to the person I gossiped to/with? We looked at each one, trying not to cause more harm.
It was such a helpful process to get prepared for each amend I owed with facts and what I was going to say. It took away some of the fear about direct aments. To this day, I run amends by someone first, often I’m wrong about the harm caused or what I am willing to change. It is so helpful to talk it out first and feel really prepared before I approach the person I resented.
As I worked through the first list, I experienced some of the freedom that comes and eventually I was willing to look at lists 2 and 3 and finish the whole process.
I’m looking forward to hearing your experiences with this step.