Step Eight

1997

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."

Step Eight Contents:

Part 1 and Questions for journaling
Part 2 and Questions for journaling
Part 3 and Questions for journaling
Part 4

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Step Eight ~ Part 1

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."

My name is Sharon P. and I will be your humble servant for Step 8. I would like to give you a little personal background as we delve into the next step on our journey through recovery.

In March of this year, I came through the doors OA , once again. I had walked through these doors 18 years ago, but like most of you, I too thought I could do it on my own. I tried for 18 years to do it on my own, and traveled up and down the scale as most, without any recovery from this disease.

I have 13 years of being clean and sober, so as you can see, I have not been an alien to the 12 steps. I have come to understand that, yes I had/have an addiction to alcohol and drugs, however, I believe that food is my primary addiction.

I come from a family who told me not to "feel". If I tried to express an emotion, I was told "don't feel that way". So…I learned to stuff my feelings to the point of non-existence. Food was my primary source of comfort, but in later times, drugs and alcohol also provided a way of altering my feelings. I did the yo-yo thing with diets since I was in 7th grade. The one thing that I did not do while dieting, was to replace the protection that my weight provided for me with anything that would offer the same protection and comfort. Today, I realize that my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, provides for me now. Coming to that realization was the crux of my coming to "admit that I was powerless over food and that my life had become unmanageable".

Six months ago, I was fired from my job. I thank God for this as it brought me new life. I hit bottom. All I could say was "I can't do this anymore, I can't do it anymore". I could no longer lie, cheat or steal from God, others nor myself. The problem was, I had not a clue as to changing the process. In patient and out patient psychotherapy helped me understand the primary concept of getting well which was honesty. I have since come to understand that rigorous honesty is necessary. It is honesty, rigorous honesty that we will start our work on step 8.

Honesty means there are no contradictions or discrepancies in thoughts, words, or actions. To be honest with one's real self and task earns trust and inspires faith in others. Honesty is never to misuse that which is given in trust.


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Step Eight ~ Part 1: Questions

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."

  1. Give your definition of honesty.

  2. Do you think that honesty/rigorous honesty is necessary for the recovery from compulsive overeating? Why yes or no.

  3. What prevents you from being rigorously honest in all your affairs?

  4. If one thing would help you to become honest with yourself, God and others, what would that be?

Thank you for allowing me to narrate this portion of step 8 and I will continue with the next set of questions in approximately 1 week. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

In OA friendship,
Sharon P.


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Step Eight ~ Part 2

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."

In step 4, we took an inventory of our life - fearless and searching inventory. One of the important suggestions that was made at the beginning of the step 5 step work was to take a piece of paper and fold it into three columns. The first column would be headed "My Problem" as in what part did I play in the problem or situation. The second column would be labeled "What did it look like" or what did the situation entail and how. The third column if labeled "His/Hers/Their Problem" as in what part did "they" play in the situation. The purpose of this exercise is to most accurately see where the accountability lies in any given situation in which we feel some percentage of responsibility for. After completing the exercise, you are to tear off the 3rd column and throw it away; the reason being is that we had no control over the other person. I now see value in the part that is thrown away as I tend to accept responsibility for actions that I have no business assuming the burden for. My sponsor tells me over and over that I am guilty of taking responsibility for the whole tamale when in actuality, it takes two (or more) to tango. The following is an example of the exercise I described above:

My Problem

  1. I was physically capable of seeing the 1st 3 new patients (after 6 pm), and as it were, got home after 11:30pm that night. I was not capable of seeing the 4th new patient, nor did I have the time to find another nurse to see the 4th patient. I needed help in order to meet our agency's responsibilities to our patients.

  2. I have the duty to report my needs to my supervisor when I am incapable of performing all that is required of my position. I have difficulty communicating my needs, and standing up for what I need and believe to be fair and true. I tend to express myself in anger, not at all, or give myself the entire negative self-talk one can handle or ever want because I don't think I deserve what is fair.

What it looks like

I was the nurse assigned to be on-call for a Friday night for a Home Health agency. I received 3 new patients to be seen that night. During the night, I receive information on a 4th patient to be seen that night.

His/Hers/Their Problem

  1. As administrator on-call, my supervisor had the responsibility to assist me in completing the tasks, which were required, as I was incapable, and had my hands full with the patients already assigned. She needed to back me up by calling for another nurse or seeing the 4th patient herself.

  2. The administration has the task of reassessing the way the on-call staff is scheduled.

My tendency in situations like this is to speak my mind, best said when exhausted, because I do speak my mind fairly clearly. However, when I come to my senses and my mind is left to me, I do a lot of negative self-talk. I talk myself into believing that I have the responsibility of doing it all. That I do not have any rights to ask for help, because I will have failed my post if I can not do all that is asked of me. Then, if slack is given to me as a reprieve from the horrendous night on-call, I translate it as my supervisor being angry with me for not accepting all my responsibilities. I then feel I need to be punished for not assuming all my duties to the maximum, and then I do something that causes my supervisor to reprimand me. Wha-la, I had gotten what I deserve - punishment for my ineptness.

Crazy story - no, actual. HOWEVER!!! If I look at the exercise above and see the situation, all three columns, I can put it into perspective, and work on myself in my areas of deficit, putting into practice; step 7 and progressing into step 8. Although I can do nothing to change how others respond in situations like the example I gave, I can separate the areas of responsibility and accept accountability of "my problem".


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Step Eight ~ Part 2: Questions

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."

  1. Do you tend to assume responsibility for the entire problem, or on the other hand, blame someone else for the whole dilemma?

  2. What enables you to see a situation clearly without falling into the trap of negative self-talk?

  3. What helps you to plainly view a circumstance, defining your problem vs. their problem?


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Step Eight ~ Part 3

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."

In my daily meditation, about one week ago, I came across this meditation:

A much-loved minister of God once carried a secret burden of long-past sin buried deep in his heart. He had committed the sin many years before during his seminary training. No one knew what he had done, but they did know he had repented. Even so, he had suffered years of remorse over the incident without any sense of God's forgiveness.

A woman in his church deeply loved God and claimed to have visions in which Jesus Christ spoke to her. The minister, skeptical of her claims, asked of her, "The next time you speak to the Lord, would you ask Him what sin your minister committed while he was in the seminary." The woman agreed.

When she came to the church a few days later the minister asked, "Did He visit you?" She said, "Yes."

"And did you ask Him what sin I committed in the seminary?" "Yes, I asked Him," she replied.

"Well, what did He say?"
"He said, 'I don't remember.'"

I see this step to include forgiveness. Forgiveness from our Higher Power once we have become willing to make amends to others and our own forgiveness of our selves for our past offences. We may or may not receive forgiveness from others once we have completed this step and step 9. Other's forgiveness can not be our motivation for completing this step because we have no control over their reactions.


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Step Eight ~ Part 3: Questions

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."

  1. What is my motivation for completing step 8?

  2. Can I forgive myself for my actions, which have harmed others? If yes, why? If no, why?

  3. Can I accept my Higher Power's forgiveness for my actions, which have harmed others? If yes, why? If no, why?

Thank you for allowing me to be your trusted servant for step 8.

With OA love and friendship,
Sharon

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Step Eight ~ Part 4

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."

Dear Loopies,

The end of the month came to a close quickly and I thought I had another week to go. I really have enjoyed being of service to you all and thank you for giving me a chance to contribute to your learning and process through the steps. I would like to share with you some last thoughts I had on this step and invite you to do the same if the mood suits you.

I felt very open to the spirit as I wrote what came from my keyboard knowing that my Higher Power was writing through me as I served you. This may be what the message of the 12 Steps is all about. For I know that I did not have preconceived answers to the questions that I wrote; I learned from your answers.

I as proceeded through the weeks of August, one prevailing thought crossed my mind more than once. It was the concept of forgiveness. I wrote of this last week and I feel compelled to mention this thought again. A couple of days ago, I read in my daily meditation: To forgive is to set a prisoner free and the prisoner was you. "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Mathew 6:14,15

It is amazing that you can hear or read a passage for many years, but not till you are ready to listen to the meaning will you comprehend its message. I hear this meaning clearly now as I read it. I know now that the basis of forgiveness from my Higher Power is based on my forgiveness others. I see forgiveness of others as part of step 8 as it progresses also into step 9. I also see that I am included in the other when other is mentioned in the concept of forgiveness of others.

When we make our list of those we have harmed and became willing to make amends to them, we set ourselves free of the burden of oppression by the act of forgiveness; forgiving oneself and others of transgressions. We started to write this list in step 4 and rework it here in step 8 and continue working it in step 9.

My hope and prayer for you is that I have served you well in understanding this step and your part in it's place in OA as we travel this road together. Thank you once again for this wonderful opportunity to serve, and invite others to serve in whatever capacity they feel called to serve. I welcome any comments and questions. And, as always, take what you like and leave the rest.

As always, your humble servant,
Sharon


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