After letting go of pride and practicing humility in Step 7, it is time to progress to Step 8 of the 12 step process in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). As each step builds upon the last, it is important to practice patience and persistence. Step 8 asks a person to create a list of harm done with the focus on making amends and repairing the hurt caused by addiction.
The importance of Step 8 cannot be understated. A person who makes it to this part of the 12 step process is asked to make a list of all persons harmed and become willing to make amends to each person listed. Identifying wrongs of the past can be painful but is necessary to work towards paying reparations. A plan is then created for building healthy relationships going forward. Although some may not be willing to make amends or forgive the wrongs done, it is still important to make amends even when the outcome is less than what one hoped for.
Completion of this step is contingent on some crucial factors including the following:
- Realization of harm done to self and others with drinking or other addictive behavior
- Discover how many people were harmed and how harm was done
- List all persons harmed, paying attention to what is discovered in the process about oneself and the problems along the way
- Let go of defensive posture or blame of others for how a person was treated by others. Offer forgiveness because it is critical to receiving self forgiveness.
The following tips can help a person move through Step 8 and build positive relationships going forward:
- Do not minimize one’s own faults by focusing on the behavior of others
- Recognize harm down to oneself and others through behavior
- Avoid judgment of others by practicing objectivity when evaluating defects
One of the biggest myths people have about Step 8 is that drinking has not harmed other people, only the person with addiction. It is possible for people to think if damage is not extreme then nothing happened under the surface. This dangerous misconception is what AA calls ‘purposeful forgetting.’ To receive the full benefit of the 12 step journey, a person must be willing to be completely vulnerable and incredibly honest with oneself and others. It will likely to be painful to discover the things that come up about one’s own character and behavior but it is necessary to move forward in the process and heal not only oneself but help others heal from harm done as well.
Addiction is challenging but help is available. The Villa has resources and facilities to provide the best treatment available for you or your loved one. Recovery is possible. Call us today to find out more.