12 Steps: Step Eight
The next step of the 12 Steps is step 8, "Made a list of all those I had harmed and became willing to make amends."
"There's not a book big enough to hold the names of all the people I have hurt." Does that sound familiar? Or maybe you are at the other end of the spectrum and say things like, "Well, I don't think I have hurt anyone that didn't deserve to be hurt. They should just mind their own business!"
The first person is probably just stalling because he doesn't want to open that can of worms and the second person is probably still in denial. Both of those are extremes of the feelings that we all have as we begin step eight of the 12 step process.
Most of us want to pursue making amends but are very uncomfortable with it. However, it is important that you do a thorough job of completing this step because any loose ends left dangling will continue to be hindrance to your full recovery.
Let's keep in mind our objective in completing the 12 Steps. The first objective is to stop the behavior. The second objective is to establish patterns of behavior that support our recovery. The next objective is to be freed from emotional and psychological control our behavior has had on us. And finally, it is to restore relationships that have been broken because of our behavior.
We are at the point in step 8 of opening the door of restoring relationships and the first part of that is to begin making a list of all those who have been affected by your behavior.
Making the list is going to take a lot of effort and is probably going to cause some pain as you remember times, places and people that were affected by your behavior. Make a commitment to yourself that you are going to complete the process even if it causes you great pain because, believe me, the end result is well worth the effort.
Chapter Thirteen of God Walk - A Journey of Faith explores step 8. It explains that this step is in two parts. The first is making a list of all the people we have harmed and then we work on becoming willing to make amends to them all. Most of us want to make it right with the people who have been affected by our lifestyle, but too often it seems to be a formidable task and it makes us feel uncomfortable just to think about it.
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