The principle behind this step is - SELF-DISIPLINE
Steps 8 and 9 are discussed together in the Big Book. The Big Book discuss one action - making amends - which they break down into two parts - being ready to make amends to everyone, and then making those amends as long as we are not hurting anyone by doing so.
First, I will discuss the "getting ready". Okay, so "Made a list of all the persons we had harmed" - we already completed that (or most of it anyway) in our Step 4 inventory. Remember the "our part" column - that should be the bulk of our list. I should note that it is very important here that we only look at our part. We are cleaning off our side of the street. We are not looking at what others have done to us. We are just trying to own up to the harm we have caused others. The Big Books instructions are simple. We make a list of all the people we have harmed and then figure out what harm we have done to them. Really quite simple! I said simple….not always easy. BUT these are the actions steps that will bring us recovery from compulsive overeating. These are the steps which remove our character defects - and allow us to become different people - recovered people. People who live happy, joyous and free.
The next part of Step 8 is "and became ready to make amends to them all" If we are not willing to go to others to make amends, the Big Book suggests on page 76, "If we haven't the will to do this, we ask until it comes". So our prayers are clear, "God give me the will to do this. Please give me the strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be." It helped me to remember that being willing and wanting to do something were two entirely different things. I, in no way really "wanted" to go to others and admit my wrongs, but I was "willing" to do it. I was willing because I wanted recovery. Recovery from compulsively overeating myself to death. Recovery from living a life full of fear, frustration, bewilderment and despair.
** I do want to note here that on our resentment list there may be people you do not owe an amends to. Example, I had a family member who sexually abused me when I was a child. As you might imagine I had a deep resentment towards that person. I did not owe that person an amends, as I did not do anything that caused that person to be abusive. Children are never responsible for the abuse inflicted upon them.
Read: Pg. 76 "Now we need more action... to pg. 84 2nd paragraph
Take your inventory and make a list of all the people, and institutions that you have harmed. With this completed go over this work with your sponsor to assure you have completed your list honestly and thoroughly, and that there is no one on the list that shouldn't be there.
Answer to the loop:
1. How did I determine what actually was "harm" to another person?
2. What is my purpose for doing Step 8?
3. Am I willing to make amends even if I don't want to?
Here is a link to a Step 8 sheet I used, which I found helpful.
It is my experience that these steps need not take forever. I have witnessed people staying in the steps many months, years even. As we move through these steps, we recover. I had to let go of my perfectionism, my fears, my procrastination and do the foot work, like so many before me. My wish for you all is recovery. It is promised.
The Twelve Steps
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