Step Eight

Made a List

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

The chapter on Step Eight covers these ideas:

  • Living with others is a great adventure for addicts
  • Forgiving others and making amends are necessary to get forgiveness
  • Step Eight can help discover basic flaws
  • Harm causes physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual damage
  • List and forgive those you have harmed in any way
  • You are ending isolation from others and God

Discussion

Step Eight starts a process of improving self-esteem in your relations with other people. Its objective is to get out of emotional debt. In your Fourth Step inventory, you should have found some examples of feeling guilty (for your actions that have hurt others or violated your code of conduct) or shameful (for beliefs you have incorporated into yourself, hurting yourself).

Some addictions cause more obvious damage in the family and in society. Alcohol, drugs, sex, and gambling addictions are examples. It may be easier for them to come up with a list of others that have been hurt.

More subtle Other addicts do damage to other people, but it is often much more subtle. Most eating addicts, for example, have never been arrested for eating while driving, although some have spent time in jail for shoplifting food. You may not have gotten drunk enough on food to cause an accident that severely hurt a child, but you may have given a child emotional rejection or mixed messages because of your preoccupation with food or eating.

Has your child been embarrassed because of your appearance or your behavior? Do you have children who are suffering from your inability to provide a positive role model for their eating or other aspects of living?

Neglect Another direction to explore about making amends is: the area of neglect. Perhaps you have not done much damage to your relatives, friends, and coworkers, but have you neglected them because of your addiction? You may have avoided developing or strengthening a relationship with some people in your life because you had your hands full fighting your addiction, whatever it is. You might need to try to rectify this situation to feel good about yourself interpersonally.

Amends to yourself We have heard some addicts say that they realized the person they had hurt the most was themselves, and that they needed to make amends to themselves as part of their recovery. We agree. What many people report as feeling ashamed has a lot to do with the damage they have done by incorporating all those ideas of being a bad or inadequate person. In this case, amends can include affirmations about your worth as an individual, and asking your Higher Power’s help in treating yourself as you would like to treat someone you love.


Step Eight, see also: Abuse, Amends, Behavior, Forgiveness, Guilt & shame, Incest, Integrity & values, Relationships, Resentments, Step Nine, Step Ten, Willingness.

Updated 11 Sep 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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