Thoughts on Step 8 | 12 Step Meetings and Anonymous Groups

Thoughts on Step 8

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

    So starts the third phase of cleaning house. We’ve made our inventory, assessed our defects, shortcomings, and wrongs. We’ve been ready to have them removed. We’ve humbled ourselves to ask for help in thier removal.

    Now comes another inventory of sorts. Not like the one in which we uncovered and discovered our own failings. Rather, this one is a list of those people in our lives who have been adversely affected by the chronic progression of our disease.

    This list is not necessarily limited to the significant others in our lives. It also needs to include those people with whom we’ve had social or business dealings and who have suffered as a result of our actions.

    It’s important to include those whom we have defamed by gossip, and those we have cheated, humilated, scorned, and betrayed. We will be scrupulous in our appraisal, for the benefits we will derive as a result of this action are enormously rewarding.

    Step by Step, Meditations for living the Twelve Steps. Muriel Zink



    Is there a right way to do the 8th step? I have seen 2 schools of thought here on this one and it is the subject of much debate.
    Step 8 at face value says that we made a list of all that we had harmed ane became willing to make amends to them. This was fine until my Sponsor said this list should come from my 4th step inventory. If it wasn’t on my inventory it obviously didn’t affect my recovery in one way or another by making any amends to them. There were very few that could explain it to my satisfaction.
    Step 4 suggests we list our Resentments, fears and sex conduct but it doesn’t mention harm to others that fall outside these areas or is very vague at best, so I skipped it.
    On pg76 the book says that “We have a list of all we have harmed and whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory.” WTF?? I didn’t have a list from my inventory and I was under the impression that it wasn’t supposed to be made until Step 8.
    Was my Sponsor wrong?? If I took the list from my resentments, fears and sex, I came up with 3 people that I needed to make amends to.
    I would like some input on where this list is really supposed to come from. I would like to pass on the correct aproach to sponsees and as I am fairly new to this I don’t have all the answers.



    Thanks for your input. You pose an interesting question that I had not even thought about. I don’t know about other people and what I do is not based on a particular passage in the BB but for me the inventory in Step 8 I base on my day to day life. That way if I worked the 4th Step then I am staying current by working the 8th Step and don’t have to worry about things piling up creating stress.

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