Insights & Suggestions from Step 8

I’ve read through the chapter on Step 8 in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions to seek proper guidance I can apply to my 12 Step Recovery program.

Source material for working the 12 Steps with my Sponsor

“Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”

Questions to guide my reading and integration:

  • What does it say?
  • What does it mean?
  • Do I have any experience with it?
  • How does it apply to my personal life?
  • What is the invitation?

The purpose of Step 8 is to make an effort to develop to the best possible relations with every human being I know.

The promise of step 8 is the beginning of the end of isolation from my fellows and from God.

How many people have I hurt and in what ways?

Identify the people to whom I’ve given offense.

I must look backward to discover where I have been at fault.

  • Walk back through my life, year by year, as far as my memory will reach.  
  • Make an accurate and unsparing survey of the human wreckage I have left in my wake.
  • Conduct a deep and honest search of my motives and actions.
  • Construct a long list of people who have, to some extent or another, been affected by my selfishness / self-centeredness.
  • Ponder and weigh each instance carefully.

Hold myself accountable to the course of admitting the things I have done, meanwhile forgiving the wrongs done to me, real or imagined. Avoid extreme judgments of myself and of others. Do not exaggerate my defects or theirs. Intend upon a quiet, objective view.

Making amends is a task which I may perform with increasing skill, but never really finish in my lifetime.

If I’m seeking forgiveness for myself, I should start out by forgiving all others for any wrongs they have brought against me.

Step 8 is inviting me to make a face-to-face admission of my immoral conduct to those I have hurt. I am preparing to actually visit or even write to those people affected.

What about the cases where I have damaged others who are still happily unaware of being hurt?

Remember… I’m making a list of all the people I have harmed.

This will be an accurate and exhaustive survey of my past life as it has affected other people.

Even if I find that the harm I’ve done others has not been that great, the emotional harm I’ve done to myself has.

In the process of making restitution to others, it’s necessary to examine my personal relations for more awareness about myself and my fundamental difficulties. Overall, this is a process of calm, thoughtful reflection upon my personal relations.

Harms can be defined as the result of instincts on collision; which cause physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual damage to people. Harms can be made in a more explicit manner or by subtler means, spawning from a faulty attitude.

What happens as a result of wallowing in self: depression, self-pity? How does my attitude inflict those around me?

Survey the history of my human relations and determine exactly which personality traits in me have injured and disturbed others.

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