“Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”
This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting in the middle of page 76. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
Hello GROW, I’m an alcoholic named Kirsten. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service this week. Welcome newcomers!
Step 8 asks us to do two things:
Make a list and cultivate the willingness to make amends.
When I found AA, I already knew how to make lists. Lists of ideas, projects, tasks—tasks from previous lists that were still undone.
And although I could think of plenty of people who had had harmed me, I was pretty sure I hadn’t harmed anyone.
So, why would I make that list?
Fortunately, we work the Steps in the order given. By the time I got to Step 8 I could think of a few things I had done that I wished I hadn’t.
I was finally ready to recall people and behaviors that I had intentionally forgotten—because I didn’t want to think of myself as unkind, or thoughtless, or cruel. Step 4 showed me that I could be all of those things. Surprise!
In order to complete Step 8 we’re asked to cultivate willingness.
Using the humility I learned in Step 7, I found the willingness to write the list.
Step 8 introduced me to a new recovery skill, making amends, which I would practice imperfectly. Thereby creating one more opportunity to practice humility.
Step 8 taught me that I could admit to the hurt I caused others and prepare for the work of Step 9—admitting to other human beings that I was far from perfect.
I’m looking forward to hearing about your relationship with Step 8, the Program concepts involved, or anything you would like to get current on this week.