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Step 8/Twelve Steps


Each year I like to run through the 12 steps as written in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. These steps were an adaptation of many works before them, and are a universal truth for all people who want to enjoy good mental Hygiene and an abundant life. They have been adopted by some 150 self-help groups, and in the words of my favourite forensic psychologist, are the best basis for mental health around IF worked and lived.


I am not a step guru, and like to keep things as simple as possible. Step 8 reads, and please read carefully:


Made a list of all persons WE had harmed, and BECAME WILLING to make amends to them all.


We are about ready to do some things that will help us end our isolation from parts of the world.


Calm, thoughtful reflection is needed to make this list. The step says ALL people WE had harmed; it does not say "but not if they harmed us more". This step is not about others and their actions, we are listing the people WE had harmed; we make an unsparing survey of the human wreckage WE had caused. We must be thorough; the more thorough we are, the better the results. It is well worth the time.


In making the list, I went back over my step 4 for names, some from a distant past. There were people who did me wrong, and I had got even. My getting even put that name on the list. There were people who the very thought of made my emotions flip negatively, and these persons also made the list. There were some poor souls who I had sabotaged, and they never knew it. For all who have been in addiction, don't kid yourself. You have harmed every person, including family members that you are close to in your life. If you believe you only hurt yourself, you're being totally dishonest with you!


I then took time to think of people that had drifted in and out of my life. I came up with a few more names. I did the best list I could.


I then made a decision that I would forgive all those who had harmed me as best I could. This process, to do completely, took years. Bad human relations had helped fire my active addiction, I wanted a clean up as big as possible, wanted the garbage faced and gone. There was a therapeutic value in just making the list.


Over time and through much soul searching and prayer, I became WILLING to make amends. At this point, I did not rush out and do the amends!


The step was done to the best of my ability when I, with thought and calm reflection, using the resources at my disposal, made the list and became willing.


I have found, over the years that the odd thing has come up that I had forgotten about. When another name surfaces, I write down the name and become willing. The names are far fewer, but every now and again, one pops up.


I needed far better personal relationships if I was to live the life I truly wanted, and doing this step was a big move forward in the process, worth the time and thought invested!!


-- keithb

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