Step Eight

Made a list of all persons we had harmed. And became willing to make amends to the all.



Step 8 Essay

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed. And became willing to make amends to the all.

The first part of this step seems easy. We already have our list from Step Four; as we ponder it, the flesh on its bones consists of the people we have harmed with our various character faults. But there are a couple of other things to consider.

The person we have most likely harmed more than anyone else is ourselves. Few of us are here after six months of compulsive eating. Most of us have years of it under our belts, and for most of that belt is longer than we could wish. We have harmed ourselves. But as we look further, we will see that there are patterns of addictive behavior, what the steps call insanity, by the means of which we have harmed ourselves. We missed out on a lot of life because we isolated. We had rages that cost us many things and many relationships. We may owe some others some amends in these cases, but we must not forget that the owe some to ourselves.

Secondly, we have to own the fact that we have harmed others. In many cases, this is pretty straightforward. We stole food, or money to buy food. We were dishonest to this person. But what about those people we hate? Perhaps we think this is even a righteous hatred. But quite often in my life I have found that when such relationships have broken down, I had some fault in the matter. Sometimes, in order to make amends, I had to deal with my own hatred, and let go it. After all, it was poisonous to me anyway. It's often difficult to make an amends to someone we believe was at least as much at fault as we were.

But we must do this. Make the list.

And then we have to become willing to use the list as a guide to making our amends. Although the next step has to do with the making of amends, we have to first become willing to make them. As we look back on the Steps we have already worked, we can see that willingness is so important to many of them. Making the decision in Step 3 is an act of willingness. Being ready to have God remove all our defects of character is an act of willingness. And making amends requires that we be willing.

For me, this was the first time a moment of dread. So many amends were owed to people close to me, and I feared the loss of their respect if I told them the truth. I feared the loss of them, really. How could anyone stay with me, be my friend when the learned the horrible truth about doings unto them. That is a risk, it is true. But I have seldom heard of it actually being the case. No one left me, and they respected me more for having owned up to my part in the situation. And then there is that slightly amusing situation in which we feel we owe an amends to somebody who doesn't even remember the original event at all.

The only way I know to become entirely willing is to turn all the results over to my Higher Power. I am doing this to cleanse my soul, and not merely to make up to others. I am as sick as my secrets, and now my GOMU is giving me the opportunity to rid myself of those secrets, which is necessary to my healing. Then I can become willing, and move ahead, having the security that I am doing something which will benefit me, whatever response others may make.


Be Realistic - Plan for a Miracle

Step 8 Questions

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed. And became willing to make amends to the all.

The essay, to me, has five major questions in it.

1. Can I make the list, and will I make the list? What seems to be holding me back in any case? What is the worst thing that could happen? Do I really think it will?

2. Can I see my own involvement in so many of my life's situations? What behaviors did I undertake that were self defeating, self denigrating? How do I make amends to myself for these things?

3. What about those people who really owe me an amends as much as I do them? Am I willing to admit to that part which was my fault, even if they are unwilling to look at their own part? How can I handle these situations?

4. To be at this point with any seriousness I will have already allowed my Higher Power to take care of me in the personal sense. Now I have to come to believe that my GOMU can even handle social situations with my benefit in mind. The outcome of these steps, 8 and 9, is not just between me and God; it is going to be between me, God, and other people. This means to me that I have to come to deeper level of believing. Have you developed your belief to this point? Are you willing to do so. Sharing a little ESH on this might help us all.

5. What would the results of doing this step look like? And do I want that? Am I willing to heal, to become not merely abstinent, but recovering? Can I change this much yet again?

Be Realistic - Plan for a Miracle



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