Step #8: a 2 Part Plan

 

Made a list of all people we had harmed and became willing to

make amends to them all. ~ AA 12 X 12

The first part of step #8 is to make the list. The easiest way is to write down everyone that was on the 4th and 5th step list. I strongly suggest that everyone works with a sponsor in this process. One quick story: a sibling of mine, who came right out of a treatment program, and being so anxious to stay sober, ran around telling tales on everyone she had been involved with. It caused a great deal of pain, and she went back to the drinking as a result. Your sponsor will also be helpful in removing those names on the list who victimized you, not vice versa. Heed this advice. We are not doing this to alleviate or assuage the guilt of others. We are doing this to recover our own sanity and stay sober.

The second part of step #8 is to become willing. Here is that word again! The essence of the 12 step program of recovery is just that: being willing and remaining teachable. If how we were living our lives was working for us, we would not have a need to be in AA. I recommend to my sponsees that they write letters to each person on the list, but do not send them!! Write what you would want to say, if you knew you would never see the person again. Then, with the aid of the sponsor, nail it down to a simple sentence, “I was wrong about such and such, and how can I make it right.” Now, the hard part is to pray for them the things you wish for yourself. The healing thoughts and feelings will come. You will know when you are ready to move on.

 

Good Judgement

Good judgement comes from experience, and often experience

comes from bad judgement. ~ Rita Mae Brown

I sure wish we could live life backwards. I am pretty sure what we chose as 20 somethings is nowhere near what we would choose later in life. One sponsor told me once, “Wait 24 hours. There is a whole lot can happen in one day’s time.” I was fairly new in recovery and deep into rescuing loved ones from their own messes. I got an emergency call to come bail my sister out of jail and appear as a witness to plead her innocence. She was in her mid 40’s, and completely adult enough to stand up for herself. When I called my sponsor, she said, “Do nothing” and I was told to wait 24 hours before I returned the call.  That was on a Friday.

I cried the whole weekend. What if this and what if that plagued me. It seemed an eternity; but I did as I was told, went to meetings, shared my pain, and cried. By her court day on Monday, the decision on her case was made, she had consequences (heaven forbid!), and I was saner and healthier for not running interference. I learned that many things can happen within 24 hours. And, I learned that G.O.D. is working on others as a much as he/she is working on me. What a huge relief that I do not have to carry the whole world and it’s problems on my little shoulders. Good judgement is a direct result of hard lessons learned. Thank goodness for AA and solid sponsorship.