Step Eight

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

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Step Eight Essay

Dear God,

Well, this step does not say we are to posture or excuse our actions by citing the reasons for our actions. As we are told in the AA 12&12 we will not be free until our side of the street is cleaned. This step, when coupled with step nine, will enable us to live comfortably with all of the people in our lives today. This is the last list we make and the reason why I stated way back when, to keep your fourth step inventory. Surely you recall the dreaded 4th step followed by step five. Well if you are reading this you now know these steps are to be done in the order they are given, for good reason.

Harm is defined practically in the 12&12 of AA as "the result of instincts in collision which cause physical, mental, emotional or spiritual damage to people." (p.80 AA 12&12). While we do not cause others to act or react a certain way, what we do brings forth a response from those around us. If we are bad-tempered, we may expect those around us to be angry also. In a thousand ways, we deprive people of emotional or economic security, peace of mind, even property. We can be controlling, neglectful, conniving, thieving, impatient, grandiose and self-pitying. Start from here and find your own adjectives.

Try this on for size. Life seems to have little or no meaning for us unless we are complaining. For just one day, say to yourself, I'm not complaining about anything, no matter what. I'm not going to say anything but "Okay" when asked how I'm doing. You may feel as though you are going crazy, but the truth is you are going sane, while all around you people are going insane. When working this program, the rest of the world is or appears to be going in the opposite direction. God is doing for you that which you cannot do for yourself.

All we do here is make a list, and if we paid attention, we use our 4th step inventory extensively to make our list. Some people find it necessary to go back to their earliest memory and others feel they have never harmed anyone. Now is the time for rigorous honesty. Now is the time to sit with your sponsor to sort things out. Someone who is objective and has only your best interests at heart. There are hopefully many who got on this train at the first stop and are still here to answer any questions you may have. So ask away. Please tell us how you are doing with this - I really want and need to know. Odds are I will not be able to answer your question or my answer will not fit your needs however it has been my experience some kindred spirit will read and respond. AND WHY NOT.......Danny


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