This Here’s To Your Health segment is the beginning of a discussion about Step Eight, “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” Sgt. Bill S. said in his book, On the Military Firing Line, about Step Eight: Alcoholics, and drug addicts have difficulty in facing people they harmed while drinking and using. There is a tendency to try and ignore or avoid any contact with these people, at least at any truly intimate level. The longer this condition exists, the more difficult it is to make amends to them. This in turn creates even more subconscious anxiety that can seldom be resolved until the issue is faced directly. To bring about real change in our lives, we must identify all of our behavioral actions, and seek to change the actions that cause tension and anxiety. Making amends means endeavoring to mend relationships, which have been torn or damaged, but to do this effectively, we must also identify the positive things in our personal makeup, which we can contribute to human relationships. It’s not just a matter of apologizing for past misdeeds, for we must now substitute consistent positive behavior patterns for all the negative ones we exhibited in the past. Working to create new positive ways of acting is the most important way we amend the fabric of our lives….
Bill Wilson in his Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, on page 76 of the Third Edition said: “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 a Power Greater than ourselves to become willing until it comes…”
On page 235 of AA’s meditation book, Daily Reflections, it said: “Making a list of people I had harmed was not a difficult thing to do because they had showed up in my Fourth Step inventory: people towards whom I had resentments, real or imagined, and whom I had hurt by acts of retaliation. For my recovery to be thorough, I believed it was not important for those who had legitimately harmed me to make amends to me. What’s important in my relationships is that I stand before God, knowing I have done what I can to repair the damage I have done…”
Professor Chesnut, on page 184 of his book, The Higher Power of the Twelve Step Program, said: “As I progress along the way, I end up learning more and more about myself in the world, and with God-but the best and greatest of these is being-at-home-with-God. And if I have learned how to clear away the barriers within my own mind which block me from feeling God’s presence, I will automatically know how to start feeling at home with myself, and totally and unselfconsciously at home in the world around me, wherever I am…”
On page 79 of Bill Wilson’s book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, he said: “Some of us, though, tripped over a very different snag. We clung to the claim that when drinking we never hurt anybody but ourselves. Our families didn’t suffer, because we always paid the bills and seldom drank at home. Our business associates didn’t suffer because we were usually on the job. Our reputations hadn’t suffered because we were certain few knew of our drinking. What harm, therefore, had we done?”
On page 236 of the book, Daily Reflections, it said: “In time I learned to investigate those steps and areas of my life that made me uncomfortable. My search revealed my parents and family, who had been deeply hurt by my isolation from them; my employer, who worried about my memory lapses, my bad temper; and my friends I had shunned, without explanation.