Step Eight

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




STEP EIGHT, PART 2

Hi friends.

My name is Shlomo and I am a food addict and compulsive overeater.

In the previous post, we tried to remember more people that we have harmed and to add them to our Step 4 harm done to others tables.

So after adding all the persons and institutions I can remember to my harm done to others lists, is my list full? Does it contain ALL the people I have harmed? It contains ALL I can remember at this point. We are not perfect and if we are now unaware of someone that should be added to our list it does not matter. We will probably remember at a future date and then take steps 8 and nine on that person in the framework of our daily work of steps 10-12. Therefore writing all we can remember now is enough at this stage.

Let us turn to the Big Book again.

"Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves. 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 [FOOD]." page 76.

As I said before, the Big Book lumps steps 8 and 9 together. The step 8 part in this quote is the following.

"If we haven't the will to do this, we ask until it comes."

This is the eight step prayer. Let us write it in the following way:

"God please make me willing to make amends to ________ (name of person or institution)."

We say this prayer for every person or institution on our list that we don't want to make amends to.

How many times do we say this prayer? We say it every day till we are willing.

Do we have to wait with step 9 till we are willing to make amends to everyone on our list?

I THINK NOT!!!!

We can begin with the persons we are willing to make amends to now. This, I think, is why the Big Book deals with steps 8 and 9 together. To show us that we don't have to wait and we can begin step 9 immediately with those we are willing to make amends to.

What do we do in the meantime with those we are not willing to make amends to? We pray for willingness. Usually our unwillingness stems from resentments and fears. So we continue our daily actions of prayer to have our fears and resentments of these persons removed.

Here is an additional remark about resentments. Sometimes, especially with people we see often like family members, or colleagues at work, the resentments flare up again every time we are together, because the way they behave or talk irritates us. This, of course, is our problem, since resentments drive us into our disease.

There is something more I can do in those cases on a daily basis. This is my personal ESH and is not written in the Big Book or the A.A. 12 & 12.

Every day take a blank page and write on it all the strengths, abilities, talents, and assets of the person you resent. It can be things like, he is a good provider for his family, or he has a good taste in clothes, or he has a talent or appreciation of music, or he is good with his hands, or dances nicely, or paints pictures, or has a talent for mathematics, or has a sense of humor. Anything positive at all of any kind. Sometimes we find it difficult to find anything positive about that person. So we can even write down the fact that he is not around us 24 hours a day as a positive thing about him. After listing all these positive things in that person, we thank God for them. Doing this on a daily basis together with the prayers can work wonders.

Now let us consider our amends list. It may contain people that we think we shall never be able to make amends to. Maybe we hurt them so badly that we are afraid they shall call the cops the minute we approach them, or maybe there are some people who caused us much more harm than we caused them and we don't want to give them the pleasure of hearing us admit that we hurt them too. And anyway we think they should make amends to us before we even consider the "minor" amend we have to make to them. Maybe there are additional reasons for not wanting to make amends to some people on our list.

Here is a simple method which is quite popular in A.A. and OA, and is effective in facilitating beginning our amends. It is not written in the Big Book or the A.A. 12 & 12, so you may consider it an ESH suggestion.

Take the list of people you have harmed by your sexual and general conduct, and break it into four lists on separate sheets of paper. On list one write the names of all the people you are willing to make amends to right now. Call it the NOW LIST.

On list two write the names of people you know you shall make amends to in the foreseeable future since it makes sense to you even if you are not very happy about it. Call this list the LATERS LIST.

On list three write the names of people that maybe you can bring yourself to make amends to sometime in the far future but you are not sure. Call this the MAYBE LIST.

On list four write the names of people and institutions you think you will never make amends to, no matter what happens. Call this list the NEVER LIST.

We begin our step Nine work with the NOW list, but on that in the following post.


INTO ACTION AND SHARING SUBJECTS.

1. Take your step 4 lists of harm done to others by sexual and general conduct after you added to them all the additional people and institutions that you remember harming, and from these prepare four new lists, the NOWS, LATERS, MAYBE, and the NEVERS.

2. Pray for willingness for the problematic cases (MAYBE and NEVERS) on a daily basis.

"God please make me willing to make amends to ________ (name of person or institution)."

3. Say the following prayers on a daily basis for the people on the MAYBE and NEVER lists.

"God help me show __________ (name of person) the same tolerance, pity, and patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend. Show me how can I be helpful to ___________ (name of person). God save me from being angry. Thy will be done."

"God please grant ____________ (name of person) health, prosperity, and happiness. Help ___________ be happy joyous and free."

" God, remove my fear of ____________ (name of person, institute), and direct my attention to what You would have me be."

4. Suggestion based on personal ESH. Do the following for people on the MAYBE and NEVER lists that you meet often.

Every day take a blank page and write on it all the strengths, abilities, talents, and assets of each of these persons. It can be things like, he is a good provider for his family, or he has a good taste in clothes, or he has a talent or appreciation of music, or he is good with his hands, or dances nicely, or paints pictures, or has a talent for mathematics, or has a sense of humor, etc. - anything positive at all of any kind.

Sometimes we find it difficult to find anything positive about some of these persons, so we can even list the fact that they are not around us 24 hours a day as a positive thing about them.

After listing all these things about these persons, thank God for giving them those qualities.

4. Share with us how these actions affect you.

See you in step 9.

Have a nice day.
Shlomo




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