Dear Fellow Travelers:
Step 8 reads:
Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
My name is Donna and I am a compulsive eater.
In the steps before this one, most of the focus has been about us. It has meant discovering and accepting ourselves, and discovering, exploring and trusting our Higher Power. Whatever focus has been spent on our relationships (either with others or with our HP) has really zoned in on our own reactions to those relationships. We did consider, to some extent, what we had done to cause the resentments in our lives, and we took our sexual inventory. But we mostly dwelt on what our disease (and the character defects which are part of that disease) has brought into our lives.
Step 8 brings our focus outward. We must now think of those we have hurt, or done wrong to, and become willing to make amends. The amends will begin in the next step, but let's focus on the list and the willingness to deal with the list, for now.
I strongly suggest that you do Step 8 with the help of a sponsor, clergy person, or other trusted friend. Not only to help you see your list and its meaning more clearly, but to give you the emotional support that this step often requires. Sometimes it is easy to see who we have harmed. But it is not always easy to put them on the list, and consider being willing to make amends to them - because we say "I know I did ______ to them, but they did _____ to me!!" Often, our own "harm" seems small compared to their actions. Often, Step 8 doesn't seem fair.
But I have often heard in Program that Step 8 & 9 are all about "cleaning up our side of the street". To move forward in recovery, once step 7 is complete and God has removed our shortcomings (one day at a time) , we now need to mend the torn fabric of the relationships which we have damaged, to whatever extent is possible and prudent. Since we cannot control any person, place or situation in our life, we must accept that our amends may not result in returned amends from those we approach. It may even result in verbal abuse, or a further breakdown in friendship. We must not let this trouble us. Step 8 says we only have to be willing to make amends. If we pray, and become sure that our list is complete, we can then pray for the willingness to go forward into Step 9.
Much prayer and consideration is needed for this list. Be complete and be fearless in this list. Review your step 4, and ask those who know you best for ideas of people to place on the list.
In closing, I want to remind you that one of the people you should put on the list is yourself. You have harmed yourself by the actions which your addiction led you to. So become willing to make amends to yourself... by following the steps and using the tools and living in the way that you believe to be right.
I pray for you all to have courage, wisdom, accuracy, and patience with yourself and others
Donna, food addict
1. How will you become willing to make amends?
2. After writing your list, what are your feelings about and toward the people you have listed?
3. Are there some people you wanted to leave off the list? How does it make you feel, to have included them after all?
4. Who has helped you make your list and how did it feel to share the list with them?
5. What does it mean to you; to need to "clean up your own side of the street?"
Donna, food addict