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- December 14, 2013 at 9:39 am #3698213
How to begin
“Intelligence is not to make no mistakes, but quickly to see how to make them good. Bertolt Brecht
To get a toehold on how to proceed with this step, it is helpful to review Steps Four and Five. Our list of resentments clearly indicates that there are many people with whom we need to set the record straight. Despite the fact that we’ve admitted our wrongs to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, this is the first time in our program that we’re actively preparing to acknowledge to others the harm we’ve done.
The interpersonal difficulties we’ve had in the past were not necessarily all our fault. Nevertheless, in Step EIght, it’s our own house that needs putting in order. Therefore, no matter what part others played in the situation, we need to focus only on ourselves and our own responsibility. We derive no value at all from clinging to the memory of personal slights. Nor can we afford such rationalizations as, “I would never have behaved that way if she hadn’t started it,” or, “He asked for it. He was so dammed self righteous!”
In this Step, we’re trying to free ourselves from the wreckage of our own mistakes. Since we’re also seeking forgiveness for the unkind, unfair, and untrue things we’ve done in the past, our best bet is to clean up our side of the street.
Today’s Step: In reviewing my inventory, I acknowledge that I have harmed others.
Step by Step, Meditations for living the 12 Steps. Muriel ZinkDecember 14, 2013 at 7:56 pm #4192118
Transforming our resentments
“The Haves and the Have Nots can often be traced to the Dids and the Did Nots.” Anonymous
In Step Eight we keep coming around full circle to our number one difficulty—resentment. Somehow it seems to recur with even greater intensity as we make our amends list. It’s so hard to let go of the feelings that others deserve to be punished for their actions toward us. Getting to the point where we’re willing to make amends to them is a real exercise in self-control.
The whole purpose of the steps that preceded Step Eight, as well as those that follow it, is to make us feel at one with ourselves. “Enlightened self-interest” is the name of the game in recovery, for until we put our own house in order, we won’t be able to make any real progress.
This step doesn’t suggest that we become meek, fawning or subservient. On the contrary, our strength and resolve grow enormously when we do not immediately react to negativity or even hostility from those we approach as we follow the dictates of Step Eight. It’s not their mess that we’re trying to clean up. It’s ours. No matter how negatively they may respond to our efforst to set the record straight, we must remember that we’re not setting out to seduce them into forgiveness or absolution. We’re simply clearing away what we frequently refer to as “the wreckage of our past.”
Today’s Step: Making ammends increases my own sense of self-worth.
Step by Step. Muriel ZinkDecember 16, 2013 at 9:20 pm #4192119
“The fundamental defect of fathers is that they want their children to be a credit to them.” Bertrand Russell
Often the most difficult task we face in Step Eight is making amends to a parent.
What mixed emotions we have about this!
Many men will say they never seemed to be able to cut the mustard as far as their fathers were concerned. Nothing they ever did was good enough. And their fathers never really demonstrated their love for them.
Many woman, on the othe hand, experience difficulties with their mothers. Sometimes this difficulty stems from the mothers and daughters competing for the attention or affection of the husbands/fathers.
The normal process in growing up is to leave our parents’ home and make our own way in the world. However, for some of us, the umbilical cord has never been severed. We continue to behave as if we were still under our parents’ control and responsible to them for all we do.
Even if we’ve become successful in our own right, we continue to be deeply affected by their opinion of us, and we’re constantly seeking their applause and approval. We vacillate between love and resentment for them because although we need them, we resent our dependency.
Today’s Step: I examine my relationships with my parents fearlessly and without blaming
Step by Step. Muriel Zink
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