Step Eight is a step that also seems really daunting at first. But it’s quite simple. Two parts. 1. Make a list. 2. Get ready. This is also one of the steps that you probably had some inkling about even before you set your foot in your first Twelve Step meeting. Most people have heard about the amends process or seen it depicted in popular culture. It’s not uncommon to become laser focused on Steps Eight and Nine when checking out the shade with the Twelve Steps on it during a meeting.
Part of Step Eight’s ability to strike fear in the hearts of recovering alcoholics is that we know it is the lead up to taking this show on the road. So far, everything we’ve done has either been at a meeting, with our sponsor, or at home. Now we know that we are starting to engage with people outside of the program. And that can be scary for some. In fact, it’s scary to most people.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. While we know the amends are coming, that’s not what Step Eight is about. The steps are broken apart for a reason. If we had to make them all at once it would be too much for us. So let’s just focus on Step Eight and our list.
Ok, so on to the first part. Make a list. This shouldn’t be too hard. Because if you did your Fourth Step the way that it’s outlined in the Big Book, then you already have the outline. Just copy it right over. Feel free to any that you feel you might have left out. Every person or institution that is in your inventory from Step Four goes on the Eight Step list.
It’s pretty simple. It’s just a list. We don’t have to think too hard about it. Just make the list and get ready to review it with your sponsor. We don’t even have to worry about being ready to make amends. So consider Step Eight part to be “Made a list of all person’s we had harmed and became willing to review it with our sponsor.”
The next step is becoming entirely ready to make amends to these people. Ok less simple here. There might be some people on your list that you’re thinking no way am I going to this person and making an amends. We’ve all been there. We don’t have to be ready to make the amends and like it. We just have to be ready.
Looking at the whole list can be pretty daunting. Even though we know we’re not focusing on the actual amends yet, it’s still hard not to think about it. One strategy that some people use is to split up the list into three parts. First part is ok, no problem to make this amends. Easy. Next list is yeah I can probably do it but I’m not too psyched about it. And the third part is I would rather suck on a lemon than admit my wrongs to this person. This is an effective method because it allows us to break the list down into more manageable chunks. We often find that in making amends we gain momentum in working down the list. The ones in the maybe and never categories suddenly start to seem less daunting.
So to review, remember this Step is two parts. Make the list. And get ready. We don’t have to worry about actually making amends yet. Pretend like it’s not actually happening. Very funny. You totally know it’s happening. But just focus on Step Eight. You’re doing great.