Don’t panic, it just says “made a list”, that’s it. No need for action yet. Step Eight is an outline while Step Nine is to put into practice.
Step Eight is an internal soul searching step akin to sharpening your pencils for the first day of school, but we must remember that the watchword for all the steps were laid down on page 58 of the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book when it read “we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start”. The list of those we have harmed has to hit that mark, half measures would avail us nothing, we stand now at the turning point. No shortcuts, period!
“The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil”. So it says on page 82 of the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book. Those selfish and inconsiderate acts also bleed out into the world. That self-willed egocentrism goes far beyond the home. Our real problem is to arrive at a state of mind that concedes the damage we have done and embrace a sincere willingness to amend it. We have to sit down and frankly analyze the past as we now see it, remorseful mumbling will not do.
The list of people we have harmed usually gets broken into four main classifications not including ourselves.
Group One are friends which includes those we have treated unjustly but have not been harmed by us aside from harsh words and we are not financially indebted to. We have to let them know that we are sorry for the way we treated them and in sobriety and with regret need to do a self- correction action plan to change. We outline our intentions for change and ask for forgiveness. Our experience says that seldom will we be rejected.
Group Two is family. We suggest you read Chapter Nine in the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book “The Family Afterward” for some additional insight. It reads in part “…the head of the house has spent years in pulling down the structures of business, romance, friendship and health- these things are now ruined or damaged.” Amends can help repair a family that is still intact more than one that has already been blown up. Additional time made be need. The truth about time is that it is often equated to the concept of TIME (Things I Must Earn), understanding that sobriety in and of itself is not enough. Honesty is a prime factor in the lives of family members and needless to say there is not room for adultery or any other sexually action out behavior.
Group Three are creditors. It says on page 78 of the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book that “we do not dodge creditors”. Active addicts usually are so driven by the addiction that even folks with high end jobs often run into money difficulty. If we are driven by economic insecurities our fears we will lead us back to the addiction to medicate the dis/ease of it. We must at least be open to the difficult dialogues and the uncomfortable conversations with those we owe.
Group Four are amends to the deceased. As it says in the Little Red Book “we must realize the futility of remorse over wrongs that we cannot amend. We do not allow such errors of the past to impair our future usefulness”. It is very hard to make peace with a love one or past relationship who has moved on, but they still belong on your list.
Now get to work on making life right, either by working Step Eight or just calling me to start the process of healing. As a wise man once said, a journey of a million miles begins with but a single step.
Call! Now you know, you are 1 step away from a new life.