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


Set Aside Prayer

"God, I am now willing that You should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that You now remove from me, every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows. Grant me the strength, as I go out from here, to do Your bidding. Amen"

Something that you may not have noticed about the Eighth Step is that the word ALL is mentioned twice.

At this point in our work we will need to refer back to our Fourth Step inventories. From the lists of names on our inventories we are able to compile our Eighth Step amends list. We examine our sheets for the people we have harmed by our conduct and whom we owe amends. On page 76 in the third paragraph, the "Big Book" states:

"Now we need more action, without which we find that "Faith without works is dead." Let's look at Steps Eight and Nine. We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory. We subjected ourselves to a drastic self-appraisal. Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past.”

(NOTE: So we are NOT going out to fix relationships. We go out to repair the damage done, to set right the wrongs we have done. The Big Book continues with:)

“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 food.


Repairing the damage of the past

Steps eight and nine are discussed together in the Big Book mainly because we shouldn’t wait between them. It describes this work as follows: “Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past.”

Whatever the damage, we need to be come willing to make our amends. We first have to list all the amends that we need to do.

While doing this work we need to keep foremost in our minds the following:

“Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any length to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given the strength and direction to do the right thing no matter what the personal consequences might be.”

The big book also suggests that we talk with our sponsors before doing amends. This is a good idea because, as an outsider looking in on an amends will have an easier time spotting where our amends may need some help. Something might be better or clearer to do for the amends than what we can come up with on our own.

Saying we’re sorry versus asking for forgiveness

What do we say when we make amends and what do we avoid saying? "We go to him in a helpful and forgiving spirit, confessing our former ill feelings and expressing our regret." The big book tells us that we express our regret, but it does not say that we ask for forgiveness. So we don't ask for forgiveness. I think the reason is simple. The other person does not have to forgive us. We should not expect or ask for anything of this kind. This is his decision. We deal only with our part and don't throw obligations his way.

Our basic behavior

What about mentioning what the other person did to us, that may be far worse than what we did to him? "Under no condition do we criticize such a person or argue…We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing that nothing worth while can be accomplished until we do so, never trying to tell him what he should do. His faults are not discussed. We stick to our own."

How should we behave generally? "We should be sensible, tactful, considerate and humble without being servile or scraping. As God's people we stand on our feet; we don't crawl before anyone.

What about the behavior of the other person? His behavior is his business not ours. "It should not matter, however, if someone does throw us out of his office. We have made our demonstration, done our part. It's water over the dam".

The Big Book mentions all sorts of ways that we try to make amends. We do it face to face if possible, on the phone, in a letter, as a living amends, or as a letter we cannot mail. We are willing to go to the lengths we can to make amends.


  • Go over your step four lists of harm done to others by sexual conduct and by general conduct. Pray to God to help you remember people you have harmed that are not on the lists and people you have harmed after writing the lists. Give yourself some time to sit quietly and if any names come up add them to the lists as in step four and share with your sponsor as in step five. Add to this list any institutions you need to make amends towards.

  • Read pages 76-83 carefully. Copy the sentences that tell you the following:

a) The meaning of the word 'amends'.

b) How to make amends to people we don't like.

c) What is the real purpose of making amends?

d) There is a saying 'Don't take another person's inventory'. Copy the sentences that validate that saying.

e) Copy the sentences that validate that personal consequences to us don't generally count. And copy the sentences that show when the personal consequences do count and what we should do then.

f) Copy the sentences that tell us what to say and what not to say and how to behave when making amends.

g) Copy the sentences that deal with the other person's behavior and how we should respond to it.

h) Copy the sentences that tell us what to do about debts.

i) Copy the sentences that tell us how to make amends for different domestic problems

j) Copy the sentences that tell us that being clean and abstinent is not enough.

k) Copy the sentences that tell us about living amends.

l) Copy the sentences that tell us what to do about "wrongs that we can never fully right".

  • How do we make amends to the following? People who don't want to meet us, people who don't want to talk to us, People we can't find, people we can't meet because of objective circumstances like living in another country, etc…, dead people, institutions,

  • Go back to the table of names you have created and fill out the following;
a) People that I find it easy to make amends to and I am willing to make the amends as soon as possible.

b) People that I find it more difficult to make amends to but I am willing to make amends to them.

c) People that I am not willing to make amends to

d) People that I can’t make amends to because it will cause harm to them or others or because they are dead or because I don't know where they are.

  • In the second column of the list write very briefly the harm you caused to each person on the list

  • In the third column of each list write exactly the amends that should be made and how you plan to make them. If you are not willing to make them then write that you are not willing to make them.

  • Contact your sponsor as soon as possible and meet him or talk with him on the phone. Discus with him what you have written for each person on the lists. Make sure that you are not going to cause harm to other persons by the proposed amends. Discuss with your sponsor the amends you are not willing to make and your reasons.

  • Pray to H.P. every day to help you be willing to make the amends that you don't want to make


You are ready for step nine once you’ve completed the following

  • written your amends list

  • shared your list and plan with your sponsor

  • have prayed every day to become willing to make amends that you don’t want to

You move to step 9 even if you are not willing to do all your amends. You go to work right away in repairing the damage of your past with those you’re willing to make amends to. Many times as we start making amends, we become more and more willing to amend the more difficult ones blocking us from our recovery.

List of Persons harmed

First make a list of all the persons and institutions you have harmed. Look at your fourth step inventory and copy all the people you have harmed there and those you've harmed after doing your inventory.

Check the boxes that describe your willingness level.

Describe briefly how you harmed the person

Describe what your amends will be for each person harmed.

  I need to make amends to:
Person's Name
How I harmed
What My amends are
but willing
Not willing      

Step Seven

Step Nine

WTS Home
The Twelve Steps
Recovery Home

© Copyright 2007 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved