A journey begins with a single step. In the 12 steps, that first step is admitting you are powerless over your addiction. The journey continues to turning your life over to the care of God as you understand God. A personal inventory of wrongs done is where healing begins to occur. After identifying our character defects and turning them over to God, we are then ready to begin step 8.
“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” Some question if making a list needs to be a step unto itself. The answer is yes. Step 8 is the beginning of releasing shame. It’s taking the time to create a list of all the people, places, or institutions you harmed. The list was started during step 4 and sometimes there is more to add.
In the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, it states, “While the purpose of making restitution to others is paramount, it is equally necessary that we extricate from an examination of our personal relations, every bit of information about ourselves and our fundamental difficulties that we can.” This step is so much more than a list.
Careful, quiet reflection gives us time to see deeper than our fourth step inventory. Here we get to look for patterns of behavior that have caused others pain. The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions further encourages us to look back at each year of our life and identify the individual’s we harmed. We make a list of our direct harms. We also look at instances where we arose anger or jealously, where we didn’t meet the emotional needs of loved ones, or where we excited jealousy.
If you tell yourself that you didn’t harm anyone but yourself, this is a lie. It’s known as “purposeful forgetting.” When you get really honest you will see no alcoholic lives in a silo. Others are impacted by our thoughts, decisions, and actions. They are impacted by our absence. No one emerges an alcoholic without having caused damage to others.
It takes courage to make amends. Step 8 lays the foundation for the turning point in your recovery. You will not be the same person after you have made restitution for wrongs done. Step 8 is where we make the list. Only after meeting with a sponsor or trusted spiritual advisor do we actually move onto step 9. Enjoy the healing.
One step at a time, one day at a time, you can recover. At Design For Change, we offer refuge to those seeking to win against addiction because there is freedom in recovery. There is hope. Call us today to learn more about our long-term treatment programs and recovery services creating change, one step at a time. (877) 267-3646