Whenever I hear Step Eight read aloud in a meeting, I am tempted speak up and unveil its promise, so that the uninitiated won't reject the Program or themselves.
September 19th's reading does that work for me: "Once we are clear about the harm we have done, it becomes possible to make changes and amends so that we can feel better about our behavior and about the way we relate to others."
Any of us who sits in a meeting and hears this Step read for the umpteenth time knows that even before we begin making a list of all the people we have harmed in Step Eight, some people may come quickly to mind. For others, we feel that decided sense of reluctance that tells us maybe we are first on that list. Good and well.
Doesn't every one of us have someone we had harmed? The willingness to make amends the first step to healing our relationship with that person, and ourselves.
I like the suggestions in the September 19th reading:
When it is time to officially do Step Eight, "our Fourth Step inventory can help us to refresh our memories." I can look at each character liability and ask myself : did it lead me to act "in a harmful manner?" If so, with whom? And add that person to my Eighth Step list. To whom else did I behave in a similar manner? What does this tell me about my destructive habits? Where did even my most honorable actions end in harm?
This Step is one that sets me free, not one that gives me permission to beat up myself! Making my list of those who I've harmed, helps me to stop feeding guilts and and regret that I may be carrying from the past. Help me HP to see this Step as a way to be more gentle and loving. Give me a glimpse of the freedom I will feel when this Step is complete.