Step Eight of the Twelve Steps involves making a list of all those who were harmed by our addictions. The traditional wording of Step Eight is:
“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
The Alternative 12 Steps describes Step Eight as being where we will:
“List all people we have harmed, including ourselves, and be willing to make amends to them all.
Be willing to forgive those who have harmed us.”
Either way we phrase it, it is clear that Step Eight is about preparing to go ask for forgiveness from those whom we have hurt.
Why is it Important to Make This List?
Before you can truly move past your past, and before others can accept the you that has gone through the recovery journey, it is important to acknowledge to others that you have done wrong by them. You can’t repair the damage that your addiction has done if you don’t know who you need to apologize to and what relationships will need rebuilding.
Recognizing the Effect We’ve Had on Others
Addictions not only create havoc and chaos in our own lives, but they also create problems in the lives of our loved ones. By creating the amends list, we’re going through and recognizing that we have hurt others by our actions. This vital step will make us aware of not only our own lives that have been effected by addiction but others’ lives as well.
Paving the Road for Healing Relationships
Relationships cannot move forward when there are amends that need to be made. Rather, apologizes must be made and serious work must be done to heal the harm that stems from addiction. Those closest to us are often those we hurt the most in our addiction spiral. Thus, for recovery to occur, such relationships must be put back together. Painful relationships can also be a source for relapse.
Identifying the Type of Harm Caused
When making a list of amends that need to be made, it’s important to recognize the type of harm you caused. Did you physically harm someone in an accident? Did you cause mental or emotional anguish? By recognizing what has happened, and the types of harms that one has inflicted upon others, we can start to move forward, resolving to never harm others again.
Becoming Ready to Act
Making amends is hard and scary work – especially if we’ve really hurt someone deeply. Before we can actually get out and do that emotional work, we have to reach inside and become willing to do it. Yes, some people may not wish to accept our apologies and rebuild relationships, but the important thing is to realize that we need to still rebuild the bridges that were torn down.
If you’re having a hard time with step eight, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with the idea of making amends with those who have harmed them. If you need added help, we are here to support you. Contact us today to start talking about how you can ready yourself to make amends with those you harmed during your battles with addiction.