This week the topic is Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
I have only recently been through Steps 8 and 9 for the first time, but what I learned was that from the inventory in Step 4, we already have a list of people we have harmed. With Step 8, we are preparing to go out to repair damage we have done in the past, even if some of that damage was unintentional.
“We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves. If we haven’t the will to do this, we ask until it comes. Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over alcohol.” (AA Big Book, pg. 76)
The idea of making amends to people I had harmed was a scary one.
Step 8 however is not yet actually making the amends, but being willing to make amends. Something I love about the 12 steps is that along the way, they allow you to make the decision, become ready, and prepare your heart and mind before taking action. To think about being willing to make amends before doing it ensures that you are mentally and emotionally ready to do so.
For me, actually writing down the list instead of just keeping in my mind and dwelling on it made it less scary. Something my sponsor helped me with was separating my list into categories, which made it more concrete and less overwhelming. It helped me to just start with the people in category 1 and make a plan for the rest:
1. People to make amends to now
2. People to make partial amends to so not injure them or others
3. People to make amends to later
4. People we may not be able to contact
One of my amends was to my husband and I already tell him most things, but it still took a couple weeks of me thinking about it and planning what I would say, and when would be a good time. I prayed to my Higher Power to give me strength and courage to just speak the words I needed to say. This led me to become willing to make the amends.
Please share on the topic of Step 8 or whatever else is going on in your program. I look forward to reading and learning from your experiences.