7 | Step 9
"Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make
amends to them all."
|A core principle behind the Eighth
Step is preparing ourselves to mend relationships and get ourselves
prepared to do our part to repair any hurts we have caused others.
IN OUR OWN WORDS: Members
share their thoughts on the Eighth Step
It took me
quite awhile to complete my list. There were a few obvious people I had
harmed and I took them right from my Fourth Step work, but the more I
thought about it, new names and situations would pop into my mind. Some, I
wasn't even sure if I had really harmed. A couple had passed away. My
sponsor said that didn't matter, go ahead and put them down, maybe write a
little about your relationship with that person and why you feel you had
harmed them, and we will discuss it latter.
Step Eight is our chance to
start mending the past. Then we can leave it behind us once and for all.
did and said things when my psychiatric illness was out of control that I
really feel bad about. Part of the time I compounded those problems by
using drugs too. There were whole sections of town I was ashamed to go
back to because I was afraid of running into certain people. Not that they
would hurt me, but that I would be so embarrassed if I ran into them. I
knew I owed some of them money but I wasn't sure how much. I knew I had
said things when I was high that were really disgusting and hurt peoples
feelings. I knew I confused and upset some dear friends. I hated having to
worry all the time that my past would come back to haunt me by running
into some of these people. I needed to figure out a way to set things
straight and feel better about myself. I was already doing well--staying
clean--taking my meds, and improving the quality of my life, but this
shame hanging over my head was eating at me. Making a list helped me start
to sort all this out.
sponsor read my list and told me that I had forgot someone. The person who
I had probably hurt the most. She told me to put my own name on the list
At first this Step really scared
me. Facing all those people.... But then a friend in DRA reminded me
that I was only writing out a list. I was growing stronger all the time
and this was only the planning and preparation stage. She said to trust
the Program and only take one Step at a time. My feelings and attitude
would eventually align with the courage and support I needed to make the
proper amends when the time came. She said, First Things First.
When I was
psychotic I really hurt some people. I couldn't help myself but I still
felt bad about it. Writing about what I did really helped ease the way for
me to say I was sorry. I needed that time and space to focus on these
issues and get right in my mind where my responsibility lay. I may not
have been truly responsible for some of the things I did and said, but I
could take responsibility to do my best to clean up the mess.
shortened my list. I realized that my low self-esteem was making me feel
responsible for things that I had no part in. It really pays to work with
others that have been through this process to get more perspective on
7 | Step 9
*Adapted from the Twelve Steps of
*The Twelve Steps of AA are
reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services,
Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that AA has
reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that AA agrees with
the views expressed herein. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism only -
use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs and activities that are
patterned after AA, but that address other problems, does not imply otherwise.
THE EIGHTH STEP OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS* 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step Discussion Booklet - This is a printable booklet of this Step
Discussion section of the web site in Adobe Reader (PDF) file format.