In step eight of the twelve steps we have “Made a list of all persons we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.”  At this crucial step, which requires action, we begin taking back control of our lives.  We will begin to actively repair damage we’ve done.


Understanding AA’s 12 Steps: Step 8


Setting a foundation for forming healthy relationships in the future starts with repairing damage done in the past.  At this point the confession of us at our worst has brought us face to face with our moral shortcomings.  From these we can begin identifying those we have done wrong.  Make a plan for developing healthy relationships in the future by avoid repeating the wrongs that we identify.

Up to this point in the twelve steps it has been about us.  We stay humble through the higher Power but the process has been largely an individual one even with a strong support system. Step eight takes the focus off of us. We have already realized how badly our addiction hurt us.  Now we think about how badly it has hurt others. They may not have endured the same physical pain present during a withdrawal but their mental and emotional suffering cannot be discounted.  Make a list of all of the people you have done wrong or harmed in your life as a person struggling with addiction, every single instance.

Making the list will prompt us to do a deep examination of our flaws and the repercussions of our actions.  Just as when we talked to someone about our flaws we must keep an open mind.  We cannot become defensive when recalling experiences with people we’ve wronged.  We have to be honest with ourselves and not fall into situational blame.  If you think of them it’s a good chance they belong on the list.

We also must in turn forgive those who have wronged us.  We do not have to make any grand gesture. We have to extend to them the same forgiveness we hope to receive.  We not only think about the past but act on it also.  The act of extending forgiveness will bring reciprocation.  We are accepting full responsibility for our actions.  We build healthy relationships hereafter because we keep ourselves accountable and ask the same of others.

This stage of the process can take weeks, months, or years depending on your efforts and the people in your life but it’s a crucial step along the path to recovery. For help and guidance along this journey, contact our staff at Treatment Now to determine what we can do for you.