“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
— Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Step Eight
As with some of the previous steps in this 12-part blog series, Step Eight can be more easily understood by breaking it into parts:
Made a list of all persons we had harmed…
In this part of Step Eight, the repair work really begins. This is where we are preparing to rekindle relationships that have been damaged in the past. Much of what we’ve done in the previous steps has been “an inside job.” But, with Step Eight, we’re preparing to demonstrate the changes we are making to others. This part of Step Eight builds upon the inventory we created in Step Four by now assigning the names of those we’ve harmed (making a list) through our defects of character.
…And became willing to make amends to them all.
In essence, this means to fully accept how our actions during active addiction/alcoholism hurt other people. Though this can seem quite daunting, it’s helpful to keep in mind that the first seven steps have adequately prepared us for the work we’re doing here (as well as in the remaining steps). Along with the support of our sponsor, the fellowship and our higher power, we’re ready to progress in the process of recovery and positive change.
Tips for Working Step Eight
- Create a master list of names and then break down the list into categories (e.g., Immediate Amends, Amends for Later, etc.)
- Practice self-compassion. When taking a hard look at the harm we’ve caused, it can be easy to fall into a shame spiral. Self-compassion helps us recognize that we’re human, we’ve made mistakes and now we’re ready to treat others (and ourselves) with kindness.
For further reading on Step Eight, check out the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions (pages 77-82).
For effective, compassionate addiction treatment, contact First Step Recovery today at 330.369.8022!