Step Eight

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



STEP EIGHT~QUESTION #1

If you have a AA or OA 12 & 12, read Step Eight . Discuss and reflect on your need (past and present) to control and manipulate others, be specific.

LEADERS SHARE:

My issue here is my lack of control because I would not express my needs, wants, or desires. I would go along with the others or choose to be by myself. Today, I am learning to speak out express my needs, wants, and desires. My strongest need today is to fellowship with other people, I just cannot seem to get enough. My fear of other people's reactions made me afraid to try to manipulate others.

At work where I supervise a staff of eight employees, I have a legitimate need to be in charge. I learned that it is OK for me to tell my staff what I want or what I expect from them. When I am clear, they seem to respond accordingly. When somebody does not respond, I follow-up with them in a constructive manner. I had an incident about three months ago where I lost my cool with an employee. I later made an amend with her and told her that I was acting out of line and I was frustrated because I felt people were not responding to me. I also had action to take to identify the root cause of my frustration. I felt that I was generally being ignored by her and the other members of my staff and going out to lunch was more important to them. I had a member of my staff who encourage the other members to take advantage of me. First the person I apologized to came to me the next morning and apologized to me stating that she was going through a very scary time in her life. I told her that I would keep her my prayers. Regarding the person who encouraged others to take advantage of me, I sent him on a 9 month TDY assignment so I could "detox" the team.

One aspect of step #8 is accountability. I learned to be accountable for my actions (or lack of action - in many cases). I also learned to hold others accountable when it is appropriate for me to do so. I informed the team that I would be tracking their responses to me by the due dates. At this point, it is no longer necessary to track because everybody is responding to me because I was able to communicate my needs to them and I am holding them accountable.



STEP EIGHT~QUESTION #2

Discuss and reflect on your need to make amends, Have you the willingness to do so?

LEADERS SHARE:

I have made amends to people in the past on a real time basis. During the heights of my disease, the primary person I hurt was myself. The best amend I can make to myself is to work the program to the best of my ability. I learned to apologize to persons I have wronged as soon as I realized that I did so. This is something I had to learn to do because I was not brought up with social skills. I only ran and hid as a child and never had any social contacts with my peers. I wanted to be alone because others would hurt me. Today, I know that I deprived myself of social interaction that is so necessary for life. I enjoy fellowshipping with other people in my church and those in recovery. I get very resentful and angry when I feel ignored or excluded.

I am willing to make amends when I need to. This is one part of the program that allows me to clean my side of the street and share with others that I am human. I also need to share with others that I am equal to other people on this planet, not in a subclass (as in other cultures) because of my disability. This is considered an amend to myself because I grew up thinking I had nothing to offer.



STEP EIGHT~QUESTION #3

Make a list of those persons you have harmed. Is this your first list? What is the difference between this list and prior lists? Are you willing to work this step? Discuss and reflect on how well you deal with "...and became willing to amends to them all." Is there anybody not on your list that you are still doing emotional battle over?

LEADERS SHARE:

The only person that is on my list is somebody I took money from while on concert tour in London England back in 1972. I would not even know if this person is even living in the same state as I do. But, I trust that God will put me into contact with that person if it is supposed to happen. Another alternative for me would be to write a check to the youth band as a donation, if they are still in existence. Today, I do my amends through step #10. People that would cause me to do emotional battle would be those of whom I would have a resentment. Today, my most difficult emotional situation is when people who work for me try to take advantage of me. The daily solution for me is to pray about the situation and, if necessary, take management action to deal with the situation. The most recent for me is my employees changing their work schedule on their own without coordinating with me. I am very flexible with them when they want changes. But, I find myself in situations where I get angry when I come in one morning expecting a particular employee to be in and find on the sign out board that they changed their schedule on their own. Or worse yet, change their schedule without updating the board. I discussed this with my team in a positive manner and explained why this situation concerned me. I expressed embarrassment when my management finds out where I do not know where the people on my team are. I find that when I present my concerns and sticking to the principles, most the people who work for me understand and support me. I have one employee who is temporarily off my team who would encourage others to take advantage of me. I feel that he really likes being on my team, but he does things that he would not do with other supervisors and he tries to take over the team. If he returns to my team in October, I will need to be firm with him and let him know that I will not tolerate being made to feel like I am crashing his little private party.

I learned to give complements to others when I appreciate what they did. In behavior modification training, this is called "positive reinforcement." Instead of saying "nobody was late turning in their time sheets", I send a thank you note to the team expressing my sincere appreciation for each and every one of them being timely.



STEP EIGHT~QUESTION #4

What emotional harm have you done to yourself'? What kinds of harm have you done to others? What personality traits have injured you and disturbed others?

LEADERS SHARE:

My inability to speak up has allowed others to take advantage of me. When I feel taken advantage of makes me literally boil inside. Resentments and anger makes me want to eat inappropriately. When I do not express myself, some others may not know that I was upset. There are people who would change in a heartbeat if I would just let them know I am uncomfortable.

When I am facing a tough situation, I pray about it and turn it over to God. I ask for the right words to say and ask god to take charge of the meeting. so far, this has worked without fail in my situation.

People are sometimes uncomfortable with me speaking up about something. But, they are getting used to it because they have the confidence that I am not attacking anybody. They just seem to expect the little supervisor to allow them to do anything they want and when they want. Now, they are for the most part not turning in anything late.



STEP EIGHT~QUESTION #5

Why is forgiveness of the utmost importance in working Step Eight? Why is the taking of this step "the beginning of the end of isolation" from our fellows and God?

LEADERS SHARE:

I believe that in order to be forgiven, I must acknowledge that wrong that I did. In day to day activities, I make every effort to be sensitive to how what I do affects others. On the same token, just because somebody gets upset does not necessarily mean that I did something wrong. However, I make every effort to take the extra step to be sure that my side of the street is clean. If I feel that I did not do anything wrong, I attempt to allow the other person to share with me why they think I should have done things differently. This process of reconciliation makes the making of amends later and future resentments unnecessary. If the other person does not point out that I was wrong, then I express my regret for how they felt though I do not apologize for anything I did. This process builds bridges and understanding between myself and others.

Step # 8 offers healing for those of whom I have harmed. This healing process allows me to walk with my head straight up and to be able to look people in the eye. Step #8 also tells me to forgive those who have wronged me. I acknowledge the wrong against me and how it hurt me. But I forgive the person(s) who did it and I ask God to do the same.

Throughout my life, I have always been isolated and never had many people (sometimes none) who I would call friends. During school, I did not have any fellow students to talk to. I just wanted the free period to hurry up and get over with so I could return to class. Today, sometimes the old tape of loneliness would play. I know that God was always with me and he will never leave me all by myself. When I feel down today, I share this with God and let Him know how I feel. When I feel left behind, I express my feelings to others as well. I used to think that I reminded people of a villain in a Sunday school story. This is because the people who treated me wrong were mostly people who called themselves Christians. This made me feel isolated from God as I felt that I as a second class citizen. Today, I fellowship with people in a church that accepts me (and other people) just as I am. Part of my healing from my past is actively participating in the disabilities ministry at my church. I serve those who are more severely disabled than I am and give them hope that there are people who love them and care about their well being. This is something I never gotten in my life growing up. But offering this to others has made me feel whole inside. I know that the people who mistreated me in the past were hypocrites and step #8 tells me to forgive those people and to ask God to do the same.



Love In Recovery,
Dennis

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