Step 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Reconciliation definitions. Restoration of friendly relations. Making one belief compatible with another. Conversion, Confession, Celebration.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” – Matt. 5:23, 24.
– Morris Chapman. Promise Keepers (1998).
Oh let us be the generation of reconciliation and peace.
How It Works:
We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory. We subjected ourselves to a drastic self- appraisal. Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves. If we haven’t the will to do this, we ask until it comes. Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over alcohol. – A.A. Big Book p.76.
Learning how to live in the greatest peace, partnership and brotherhood with all men and women, of whatever description, is a moving and fascinating adventure. Every A.A. has found that he can make little headway in this new adventure of living until he first backtracks and really makes an accurate and unsparing survey of the human wreckage he has left in his wake. To a degree, he has already done this when taking moral inventory, but now the time has come when he ought to redouble his efforts to see how many people he has hurt, and in what ways. This reopening of emotional wounds, some old, some perhaps forgotten, and some still painfully festering, will at first look like a purposeless and pointless piece of surgery. But if a willing start is made, then the great advantages of doing this will so quickly reveal themselves that the pain will be lessened as one obstacle after another melts away.
– Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 77-78.
Reflecting on all levels of your awareness is very important to a thorough Eighth Step. When making a list of the persons you have harmed, consider the following:
The name of the person who has been harmed… Memories of harm done… Thoughts about the harm… Feelings about the harm… Intentions you now have… Amends you can make for the harm caused…
– A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Steps, by Patrick Carnes, p. 159-160.
Step 8 is the more specific person-to-person application of the shame-reduction that was begun in Steps 4 and 5. …
Implicit in both Steps 8 and 9 is the assumption that we carry a toxic residue of shame from virtually every incident in which we have hurt, rejected, or ignored others. Steps 8 and 9 provide us with the opportunity to reduce this guilt by setting things right again. We should be cautioned, though, that we need to work through and grieve our underlying resentment, hurt, anger, and pain before trying to make amends to those who have also offended us. Otherwise, we are putting a bandage on a festering, cancerous sore, because the toxicity is still there. Only after it has been excised can we release our resentments with a high degree of emotional integrity.
– Serenity, A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery, p. 58,59.