“Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”
One of the promises of the program is that we can get to a place where we do not regret the past, “nor wish to shut the door on it.”
Getting there requires a lot of difficult and sometimes uncomfortable work, but it’s worth it. It’s just the beginning of cleaning up what we call “the wreckage of your past,” or all the broken hearts and disappointments you left along the way when you were drinking or using.
You can’t stay clean and sober if you’re carrying around years of guilt and shame, so it’s time to face it head on, and make amends.
Like every other step, this one begins with your sponsor. They’ll give you specific direction on how to tackle Step Eight, but it will likely begin with a list of all of the people you believe you harmed when you were in your disease.
You’ll probably also want to write a few lines of exactly how you hurt them, if you can remember.
It’s heady stuff, so be gentle with yourself as you walk through it.
Take breaks, take a breath, take as much time as you need. And make sure that you stay connected with your recovery network the whole time.
Venturing into the dark past alone is dangerous, and as we say in the rooms, you don’t have to do it alone.
Above all, your Higher Power will help guide you, if you stay open-minded and willing.
The Eighth Step prayer might help you along the way:
I ask your help in making my list of those I have harmed. I will take responsibility for my mistakes, and be forgiving to others as you are forgiving to me.
Grant me the willingness to begin restitution. This I pray.
Are you ready to begin cleaning up the wreckage of your past? Contact us today!