Making a list of those harmed before coming into recovery may sound simple. It's becoming willing to actually make those admends that is the difficult part.
Step 8For the Alcoholics Anonymous member, the list usually begins with friends and family that have harmed by a long and tumultuous drinking career. But as recovery continues -- and the fog begins to lift -- many others are usually added to the list as the process continues.
Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Like taking most of the 12 steps, this one two is not necessarily and one-time event. It is a process that continues to unfold as more is revealed.
Many Al-Anon members however are sometimes surprised to learn that the first person on their list is the alcoholic! As they begin to put the focus on themselves in the Al-Anon program and do their own inventory, many discover they owe amends to the alcoholic in their lives if for no other reason, blaming him/her for all the family's problems.
Making the list is one thing. Become willing to actually make amends to those harmed is another. It can be a very humbling, but growing experience to actually admit wrong-doing, especially to the person harmed. But the process can relieve those trying to recover from so much guilt! Visitors to the Forum here at the About.com Alcoholism site have taken the time to share their experience with working this step in their lives, as our study of the 12 Traditions and 12 Steps continues:
More about Step 8
Becoming WillingIndex of 12 Steps and Traditions Study
"If I work this step to the best of my ability, the promise of living a life free of isolation from my fellow man and God will come to be."
Who did I harm?
"This program is about becoming a better person, and improving ones life. It is about living life in an unselfish and compassionate way."
Letting Go of Hurts
"We need to address omissions as well as the obvious. For me, that was the most difficult part."
Step Toward Maturity
"Just as I have maybe been able to point out all the inappropriate behaviors of others, I have to face my own."
"The only thing I can do now is, not look to the past, but move forward."