Step Eight

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

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Phyllis here; chunkie, drunkie, junkie...clean, sober, abstinent since May 20, 1972

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

Eighth Step Prayer
      Higher Power, I ask for your help in making my list of all those I have harmed. I will take responsibility for my mistakes, and be forgiving to others as you are forgiving me. Grant me the willingness to begin my restitution. This I pray.

It doesn't take too long to read this step in the AA 12x12 when you will make the discovery that this step is all about humility. In the Big Book (AA), there is not a lot written about Step seven. In the OA 12x12, ""all we have to do is say a prayer requesting that G-d take our shortcomings from us. There is a qualification. As we say the prayer, step seven calls for us to adopt an attitude of humility.

Step 8 has 2 parts: Ready, set. The last part is for later. The feeling sometimes is to look forward to this step we can hardly wait for the next. It is not about them. In order to forgive and start anew, we can start with ridding ourselves of people and problems. It is a delicate process.

We can easily identify those "glaring" character defects. However, in going over our 4th step, we can see our behavior more clearly and how it appals to the present situations. Necessary to straightening out our past in order to reach criticisms, no anger, no finger pointing and no editing. It's about us! We spent time getting right with a Higher Power, now, We are ready to take on the job of getting right with society. It is for me to accept responsibility for my actions and grow up.

Very deep, sometimes quite forgotten, damaging emotional conflicts persist below the level of consciousness. They may activate our emotions violent twists which have since discolored our personalities and altered our lives for the worse. In a calm, thoughtful reflection on our personal relations, we can deepen our insight. What happens when we try to dominate the whole family which led to depression, self pity and we pass that on to others.

You my want to select that which is more current and remembered and part of "rest to be left for later." The best way to make amends is to change the way I live and think. What really was a shock was "the person I had harmed the most, was me". You probably did not include yourself in your 4th step. We have damaged ourselves with self-destructive eating, thinking, chaos and drama (this does effect others). So, you might consider starting with yourself and others you were close to. We should avoid extreme judgments, both of ourselves and of others involved. We must not exaggerate our defects or theirs.

You will find, as I have, that there is a major defect, but it has all these little nuances that I did not consider and so, I had to be willing to see the far reaching effect of pain caused to others. Put all the names on the list, go over it with your sponsor at first. Then check with your sponsor as you continue to attempt amends. Once more, it's about us. And, don't try to do this by yourself. It is a "we" program. Remember, it is just a list.

Being abstinent is vital to clear our minds and not allow food to interfere, thereby,causing us to center on food. "There is nothing worse than a head full of program and a belly full of food". We have to learn to deal with other people. Step 8 is the right step now. We are preparing to learn the healing power of forgiveness as we forgive others and ourselves. Once again,willingness is a priority. We are not doing this to make other people better or to like us, we are doing it for ourselves, for our recovery. If bad feelings persist about any person, resentment prayers work very well.

OA 12x12 says "Step 8 is a two part process. Remember: Ready, Set As you prepare to make amends, you do so slowly. Also, again, remember the person you have harmed the most is yourself! If you make the list from your 4th step, you probably did not include yourself. We certainly have damaged ourselves with our self-destructive eating, thinking, chaos and drama the filled our lives. We need some willingness and forgiveness toward ourselves.

Some questions to ponder
How do I identify what actually is harm to another person?
How have I harmed myself?
Do I understand the purpose of this step?
Do I hold any serious grudges?
Am I willing to pray daily for those people who have wronged me?
How willing am I to make amends?

In the AA BB: There is a long period of reconstruction ahead. We must take the lead. Remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won't fill the bill. In the morning, pray: Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love. We should be sensible, tactful, considerate and humble.

At the bottom of page 83, you will find:

The Promises

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self seeking will slip away.

Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that G-d is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us--sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will ALWAYS materialize if we work for them. (work, work, work)

This is really my favorite prayer. It gives me hope when I think there is none. It refreshes me.
It helps change attitudes, and a whole long list of wonderful things. The most important is that it gives me an open line to my HP and helps me stay abstinent, one day at a time.

Step Leader
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