Step 8 - "I've Got A Little List"*
Step 8 -Made a list of all
persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
The first part Step 8 is easy to
accomplish – we simply need take pen and paper (ok, build a spreadsheet
if you like…any way you do it is fine, as long as you can refer to it
from time-to-time) and make a list of the people we've wronged.
And, yes, the Step does say all
which means everyone we can think of, from the paper delivery person we
didn't pay to our ex spouse.
Break up your list
In fact, you might want to break up the list in
parts, like Financial, Romance, Family, Friends and Misc. I found I tended
to think in categories – once I'd remembered the Girls Scouts I
remembered several other people I owed money.**
If you're like me, you'll probably need to take
several passes before the list is complete. I started with my inventory
and just listed the people there. After that, over a period of several
days, other people came to mind. For example, I woke up one morning
horrified to remember that, when I'd been a Brownie leader, I had
absconded with some of the money that was meant for the National
organization – down went Girl Scouts America and the amount on my list.
Needless to say, my list ended up being much longer than I expected.
It's the second part of the 8th Step that often
causes problems. I mean it's one thing to become willing to repay the Girl
Scouts and quite another, I discovered, to get even close to being willing
to make amends to my ex-husband. After all, my mind raged, if only he'd…
You know how it goes. In my case, most of the people I'd mentioned or
alluded to in my inventory we're in this 'difficult if not impossible'
What quickly became obvious was that I was a long
way from letting go of my anger at my ex, my parents and a whole slew of
other people. Which is, of course, one of the main values of Step 8 – it
acts almost as a second inventory and let's me know what sort of internal
work I still need to do.
It was awhile before I could really see, and
accept, my part in my failed marriage.. This was true even though I knew,
intellectually, that no marriage falls apart just because of one person.
Step 8 drove me deeper than my intellect, down to where my own poor
self-worth, and resulting righteous indignation boiled and bubbled.
In fact, family and romance issues are often the
most difficult because it's so easy to see where and how we've been
wronged rather than how we've wronged the other. This is true because, in
many cases, we have been wronged! And sometimes we have to work through
those feelings before we can get to our part in what happened. Getting to
our part in the problem is an absolute must – it's the only way we can
gradually build up a true picture of ourselves.
With willingness and asking for help at meetings
and from my sponsor, my subtle and not so subtle actions became clear and,
bit-by-bit, I let go even more. More importantly, I was moving toward
taking true responsibility for my past – a truly powerful step!
Love, peace and
* Apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan's
** I discovered after a long time that I needed the help of