Week 4 - Step 8
Well, you're back so you must have survived your fifth step. Congratulations. This week we are going to look at step 8. As I said in the first week, steps 1, 2 and 3 are all about power. Step 1, we look at just how powerless we've become. Step 2 is about seeing how totally insane our lives are but maybe there is a power that can relieve us of that insanity. Step 3, we find that power and we're no longer powerless! We have a Power Greater than ourselves, and greater than food and we put ourselves into His/Her/It's care.
Then there are what I like to call the "list" steps. Those are 4, 6, 8 and 10. And this week we'll look at the list of all persons we have harmed.
I often hear sponsors suggest that our name should go on top of that list, but I've not found that instruction in the big book. I have found the word "self' mentioned 113 times in the first 164 pages of the big book. That's almost once on every page! Page 62 of How it Works says, " Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! "
That's pretty strong directions in my mind that I don't belong on my amends list. We do need to make up to ourselves, the damage we did from our overeating, I'm just saying that there are no directions for putting that on our 4th step inventory or our amends list.
So what does belong on our list? Page 76 says that we already have a list from our 4th step inventory. Well, that's good news, isn't it? You don't have to re-invent the wheel! Read from pages 76, after the 7th step prayer. On the top of page 77 it talks about why we do this step - it is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God aand the people about us. Wow. Isn't that a tall order? We are setting right wrongs of our past.
For this week, there is very little reading. (just read from the middle of page 77 to the bottom of the middle of page 77) You need only make the list. Go over your 4th step and capture all the people who were resentments. Did you harm them? In what way? How do you think you should make an amends.
It is helpful to have 3 or 4 columns for the step 8 list. Something like, Name, Harm committed, Intended Amends, Date Completed. Of course, the last column will be blank.
Go over your entire life in your mind. Remember childhood disagreements, wrongs to your parents, siblings, neighbors, friends. How about your jobs? Any theft or lies? Any infidelity in your marriage/relationships? Just review your life and make the best list you can. Don't worry about what you might have missed - that is what a tenth step is for and you're 3 stteps away from that right now, okay?
Once you complete the list, talk to your sponsor or spiritual advisor. This will help you get ready for step nine. A neutral party like our sponsor, can tell us if any of the intended amends might cause harm to another. You also might want to prioritize the list, by the easiest to make, ones that will be hard, and then the "no way Jose' group. Remember, this is just the list.
And that is it for this week. Good luck with your list and next week we'll talk about step 9.
So you can get an idea of what will come next, here is what I hope to accomplish over the next 8 weeks:
Week 5 - Step 9
Week 6 - step 10
Week 7 - Step 11
Week 8 - Step 12, Working with others
Week 9 - to the Wives
Week 10 - The Family Afterwards
Week 11 - to the employers
Week 12 - A vision for you
Have a great week. Don't forget, abstinence first, absoulutely.