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


Here are some questions that pertain to this step:

  1. This is the step that many newcomers fear.... I once talked to a fellow, and asked what step his sponsor was on...He replied, “Oh she’s done them all....except 4 and 8...they were too hard” !!!!

  2. What is your attitude towards Step 8, as you face starting work on it?

  3. Why do you think you feel this way about Step 8? If you have done Step 8 before, what was your experience?

  4. This is a two part step....the first part is easy, as long as we keep our eyes on the task at hand. Go back to your step 4, and write down the names of everyone you have harmed. Don’t look ahead to the second part of the step. Think of it this way : if there WERE NO SECOND PART OF STEP 8, and NO STEP 9, who would you put on the list? Just making the list is a huge piece of truth telling. Don’t try to eat the whole elephant in one bite.

  5. How was that experience?

  6. Did you include yourself? If not, why not? Please, go back and add yourself. Perhaps you are the person who MOST needs to be included.

  7. Go back over your list again a day or so later....and see if there are people you have left out. If you don’t remember names, ‘the girl who sat in front of me in Math’ will do. Get out all the ghosts....remember....right now, THERE IS NO SECOND PART OF STEP 8 and THERE IS NO STEP 9.

  8. Now take a break....and be grateful for the gift of honesty...and for the freedom that comes with it.

  9. Without thinking about specific people on your list, how do you understand the concept of amends?

  10. Why should we make amends? Who benefits?

  11. What do you expect the blessings of making amends might be?

  12. What do you think the challenges of making amends might be? In the AABB, How it Works, p 58, it says, “If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it....” Knowing that you have turned you will and life over to the CARE of a loving God, where can you seek the safety and willingness needed to complete this step? Do you think your HP will ask you to do more than s/he will give you the power, ability and protection to do?

  13. I believe the prep work needed to become willing involves FORGIVENESS. BUT, I don’t understand forgiveness as the world commonly portrays it. I believe that forgiveness means FOR me to GIVE to my HP all the fear, anger, angst, shame, resistance, rancor, hatred, justification etc that I carry around a given incident....to empty the backpack I carry each day of those CDs....(often I carry them unknowingly) and to turn them over to my HP...It has nothing really to do with the perpetrator of the incident. It also involves releasing my ‘right’ to have a say in how HP deals with either me or the other person.
    How might this understanding of forgiveness change your attitude toward making amends?

  14. Is this step harder or easier to take than Step 3 where we turned our whole life, and will over to the care of God? What difference does having taken Step 3 make to your willingness to complete this step to the best of your ability?

  15. Do you believe that being willing to make amends infers a specific timeline for those amends?

  16. How will you know you have completed this step?

  17. What blessing is there in completing this step?


Here are my answers to these questions:

    1. This is the step that many newcomers fear.... I once talked to a fellow, and asked what step his sponsor was on...He replied, “Oh she’s done them all....except 4 and 8...they were too hard” !!!! What is your attitude towards Step 8,Aas you face starting work on it?

    As I face starting work on this Step 8, I am not fearful. I have come to a place in my recovery journey where I realize that hanging on to my CDs will only hurt me, and part of releasing them is cleaning up the mess I have made. This requires amends. I have also learned that making amends is all about ME....it does not presuppose or require a certain response from the person or persons who will receive my amends. This is about cleaning my side of the street, and once I have done what I can do to that, I will be free.

    The step 8s I have done before have been helpful to clarify what I do and do not owe amends for. As a codependent, I tend to take responsibility for all kinds of things that are NOT my responsibility, so it was helpful to find out that I didn’t owe as many amends as I thought I would when I first faced this staircase of recovery!

    My list:
      a. Myself

      b. My spouse

      c. My sponsor

      d. My dad

      e. My sister

      f. My friends

      g. J

      h. D

This experience was not difficult, although I did consider leaving J and D off....they are both very toxic people, and I really don’t look forward to interacting with them in any way.

I DID include myself—first on the list—because I know that I have caused myself much harm by not standing up for myself and keeping myself safe over the years.

Since I have done several Step 8s, I believe this is a complete list, at least at this time.

I am grateful that I have come to a place where I can look at situations where I have amends to make....accept that what is, is...and not condemn myself for being less than perfect. It has been a long time coming.

I understand the concept of amends to include righting wrongs, as much as is possible, being honest with myself about what is on my side of the street and what is not, and changing my behavior, as I am able. It is NOT about groveling for forgiveness, explaining why I did such and such, abuse Olympics, or reconciliation. It requires no predetermined response from the other person, and does not infer a particular outcome, beyond the freedom that doing the next right thing offers in my life.

I believe I should make amends because they set me free. It is possible that the other person will benefit, but the main recipient of amends is me. Carrying around resentment, regrets, anger, shame, fear etc is deadly to me....it will eventually send me to the food, without a doubt. My disease will win if I avoid this step.

I expect the blessings will be freedom, renewed integrity, and hope for a different future.

The challenges of making amends might be finding a balance between what is and what is not ‘my sin’—to make sure I stick with my story, and not venture in to their side of the street and start taking their inventory. As an abuse survivor, I need to make sure that the amends I make do not leave me vulnerable to attack by the other, for if I allow them to injure me, that will not help my recovery.

Knowing that have turned my will and life over to the CARE of a loving God, I seek the safety and willingness needed to complete this step in my HP, and in the support of my sponsor and fellows. I do not think your HP will ask me to do more than s/he will give me the power, ability and protection to do.

I believe the prep work needed to become willing involves FORGIVENESS. BUT, I don’t understand forgiveness as the world commonly portrays it. I believe that forgiveness means FOR me to GIVE to my HP all the fear, anger, angst, shame, resistance, rancor, hatred, justification etc that I carry around a given incident....to empty the backpack I carry each day of those CDs....(often I carry them unknowingly) and to turn them over to my HP...It has nothing really to do with the perpetrator of the incident. It also involves releasing my ‘right’ to have a say in how HP deals with either me or the other person.

This understanding of forgiveness changes my attitude toward making amends in that it releases me from carrying expectations that the other person will respond the way “I” need them to. This is about setting ME free....Maybe the other person will benefit, but that is not the reasoning behind this action.

For me, this step seems harder than Step 3 did when I took it. Step 3 seemed very much like a ‘thinking’ step at the time....made a decision...and I am pretty comfortable staying in my head....This is more an action step.... I don’t really think this is true, but I had less of an understanding of the action required in the face of Step 3 when I took it. As I grow into the truth of what my Step 3 decision entails, I realize that Step 3 is precisely WHY I am able to take this step to the best of my ability.

I don’t believe that being willing to make amends infers a specific time. However, the AABB says that once we are halfway through, the promises will begin to be observable in our lives. Why would one wait? It reminds me of a speaker meeting in another flavor of 12 step where the speaker talked of a man who was working one step a year....in the interest of thoroughness, I suppose. The speaker’s comment was, “He’s going to wait 12 years to have his spiritual awakening. I don’t have that much time!” The sooner I get at it, the sooner I’ll be blessed with that spiritual awakening. Having said that, I also believe that timing is very important, and sometimes waiting might be the next right thing to do. My sponsor and my HP will be able to help me on this if I am unclear.

I will know that I have completed this task when I find myself thinking about how and when to make my first amends. The blessing in completing this step, for me, is that I now have a clear path to walk which I know will support my recovery and help to set me free.

Hugs, Lainey






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Step Eight


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