Topic for the week: Step 8
We are all invited to share on Step 8. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.
*** Step 8 ***
“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 at the top of page 76.
I have experienced this step once myself, and I appreciated that it didn’t just leap right into making the amends. I love how the 12 steps in AA take each part of what is being done and focus on just that – become willing, make a decision – before acting. It ended up feeling less overwhelming than I had imagined (I guess most things are).
Step 8 came after the action of asking my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings (listed during step 4). So next would be making things right with the humans in my life. The list of all persons I had harmed was included in that step 4 inventory list, so I already had the starting ground.
I had to take a look at my list of people, and become willing to make amends. What would that look like? The Big Book says, “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.”
For me, having a plan helps with anxiety and at the suggestion of my sponsor, I took each person one-by-one and figured out the best course. Just planning it out – Who could I make amends to without harming them, who could I not make amends to because they were dead or no longer in my life and not willing to contact? (For them, I decided the plan would be to write a letter and then throw it away.) Who could I start with first, and who would come later? Having a plan helped me to be less afraid of the action to come in step 9 and it helped me to become willing. And able to complete step 8.
Please share any thoughts or experience you’ve had with this step, how it has helped you, and any challenges you’ve gone through. I look forward to reading your shares. Thank you for letting me serve the group.