Step Eight says : Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Congratulations! You have made it to Step 8. I wish I could tell you the hard work of recovery is behind you, but that would be unfair and dishonest! The reality is that the next two steps can be very difficult. As a matter of fact, it is very often these steps that can create such a roadblock for people that they either quit or relapse at the thought of working them. If I’m being totally honest this morning, I’m struggling with the temptation of quitting writing at this point. We have been on quite a journey for the last 7 weeks and the climb ahead is quite arduous. I am mustering the strength and focus this morning to press on, and my hope is that you will do the same!
As we have worked the steps and begin to have a spiritual awakening, the purpose is not only to be rid of our addiction (Recovery lingo =Clean), the purpose extends itself for us to live a transformed life (Recovery lingo = Sober). Our goal to be “Clean” is to be free of the substances, behaviors, etc that have kept us chained to addiction. Part of gaining that freedom is going to extreme measures to free ourselves from everything that has chained us to the addiction, including secrets, lies, and relational habits.Our goal to be “Sober” is not just to remain clean and abstinent from our addiction. Sober living also includes a life that is peaceful, reasonable, and balanced. One of the places we best work out our sobriety is in relationships. We learn new ways of relating to people that are reasonable, not selfish, not motivated by fear, and more in healthy balance. Step 8 is vital to us living out this goal, even when it means we have to come face to face with our most difficult relationships.
This very truth brings us to Step 8, in which we make a list of people that we have harmed. This list comes directly off the page of our Step 4 inventory and is our opportunity to own the pieces of our inventory that is our responsibility. Once we have made that list thoroughly, we become willing to make direct amends to each of them. Yes, this can be crazy scary and make you want to throw in the towel. In your mind you are thinking, “You don’t know this person or that person.” or “I could never tell them what I did, it would kill them!” or “It wasn’t that big of a deal, they won’t care to have that conversation.” You are valid in each one of these thoughts and feelings, but I will challenge you with this….Making amends is for you and not for the other person! This might also be a good place to go back and look at what DENIAL looks like as it can very subtly operate without your permission. We want to be free of our addictions, but we also want to see our relationships transformed, with ourselves, God, and others.
We will go on a journey this week into the depths of this concept. Buckle your seat belts and let’s begin.
- How am I feeling about Step 8 and what it means in my relationships?
- Which relationships seem to be the most difficult? Why?
- Which relationships has my behavior most severely damaged?
- Which relationships cause me the most pain because of my unforgiveness, bitterness, or resentment? Explain
- What excuses have I used for not looking at my own behaviors?
I will leave you today with Jesus’ words to his disciples about making relationships right,
This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.
Or say you’re out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you’re likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won’t get out without a stiff fine.