- Step 8

Step 8




12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.

Step 8

Postby GeoffS » Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:19 pm

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

This step is a very powerful step I believe. But is often dealt with lightly. I urge you to look at your text books and 12x12s and see how the amount of notes and highlighting compares with other steps...I notice on this very forum it was over 2 years since it was mentioned.

Yet again recently, I have been in a meeting and talking with sponsee on step 8, and more stuff has come to mind. More stuff that although not troubling me as such, I can identify it as obstructing my path to my HP, and needing some action to allow me to outgrow it.

Does anyone else have experience of coming to see new harms done to others? New levels or qualities of harms. It is easy to see the big ones where we acted badly, the girlfriend cheated on, the stolen cash etc. How about ones like the impatiently dismissed child with a question etc - maybe not an amends needed, but an example of how our behaviour hurts, and do we still do it. We stopped cheating and lieing some time ago (hopefully) but what about emotional harms that we may have little idea we do...

What do others think?
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Postby Dallas » Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:50 am

Thanks GeoffS, for reviving the subject of Step 8.

As I try to make daily progress the subject of new harms done to others and amends... and also new harms to myself and my life and how it affects those around me is something that takes a front burner position for me.

A little example... back in October of 2007, I started indulging in a harmless activity. It was even healthy at the time. Then, towards the end of December, it began to change from a healthy to an unhealthy activity... And, as it progressed up until Tuesday of this week... it had reached a very unhealthy status.

Suddenly, I was experiencing a lot of depression over it, anger, resentment, guilt and remorse. Kicking my butt at how stupid I was acting and how the activity had moved into an obsession. The obsession was having a major effect on my pocket book!!! :lol:

I had been keeping all of my healthy commitments... AA involvement, paying my bills, being reasonably responsible (my opinion :lol: ) , but I was wasting a lot of time and money on something that was producing negative results in my life instead of positive results and it was starting to lead my life towards unmanageability -- in a direction that was opposite of the direction that I desire to go. It was also (my opinion) reaching a stage where it "could" be a bad example to those around me, that I might want to help. And, I was neglecting spending as much time as I usually do -- doing other activities with my dogs. My dogs are kind of like my kids... they are a responsibility and a commitment I made to a relationship of being a care-giver to them.

Any-hoot... Wednesday morning, I had an anxiety attact with floods of guilt and remorse... so I did what I learned to do in A.A. -- I fired off an email to my sponsor, informed him of what was going on, let him know what I thought the problem was, how it started, how it had progressed, and what my course of intended action was to deal with the problem -- and asked him to give me advice and direction on it.

What tipped me off and enlightened me to the destructive nature that my newly acquired activity was creating... was my level of guilt and remorse.

I've learned that if I feel guilt and remorse... it's probably because I'm doing something that I shouldn't be doing -- and I need to stop doing it, and look for the harms that have been done to others -- and immediately confess my faults to my sponsor, and set about on a course of actions to make amends.

I guess it's my practice of the daily 10th & 11th Steps, (which incorporate a daily Step 8 process) and the regular contact with my sponsor, with my willingness to be totally 100 percent honest with him, even if he decides to drop me -- that has saved my butt over and over and over and over again.

Had I been more efficient and honest with myself in the daily 10th Step... I could have prevented the activity from becoming a problem -- by nipping it in the bud sooner. But, I guess that's what progress is all about... screwing up so that I can learn to be and do better.

Today, when I heard from my sponsor -- he saw my problem and my plan of action to make amends, and the actions that I planned to take to make corrections.... and he reiterated to me "do it immediately!"

I thank God, so much, for our AA program, the fellowship, the opportunity to have a sponsor that has an active role in my recovery, the tools, and the entire package of benefits that AA brings to my life!!! I'm a very lucky guy!!!

Dallas
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Postby GeoffS » Fri Aug 08, 2008 6:07 am

Dallas wrote:the subject of new harms done to others and amends... and also new harms to myself and my life and how it affects those around me


Thats what I was trying to get at. Thanks for nailing down something I couldn't quite express Dallas.

Doing harm towards ourselves causes us to change our behaviour to others. This leads to us either harming them or perpetuating the original harm on ourselves. Then it goes round and round...

Getting back to this piece of knowledge, which my sponsor has explained to me before (once or thrice! :roll: ) is something I'm now at a place where I can see what you all mean and can move through taking actions to change me again. Will be talking with my sponsor at the weekend for his suggestions.

Thanks again
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Postby Dallas » Fri Aug 08, 2008 4:31 pm

When I was in my first-year of sobriety, I had a short-term dating experience with a nice non-alcoholic Psychologist. We were out for breakfast one morning... and she started telling me that she believed that alcoholics are driven with an unconscious desire to self-destruction because they hate themselves.

That prompted me to promptly disagree with her on the grounds of "That's why you non-alcoholics can't understand us alcoholics. Our problem is that we love ourselves too much, we're self-centered, self-interested, the world revolves around us and we're out for what's-in-it-for us. We love ourselves not hate ourselves." My disagreement was so strong that I felt like she was a nit-wit and I stopped seeing her. I was offended to think a female, of all the people in the world would think I hated myself!!! (Of course... I was still in that stage of having to be right about everything!) :lol: :lol:

Later on, years down the road in sobriety... I changed my mind about it, and decided that the lady was pretty right on in her assessment of alcoholics -- as it related to me. Through inventories and self-assessment and self-examinations as suggested in Steps 10 & 11, I discovered that I really had hated myself -- and much of my damaging behaviors and activities was oriented toward punishing myself with self-destructive patterns of behaviour. It gave me a different angle to look at myself and my past. Now I can see it just a clearly as looking into a spotless magnification mirror. It's something that I have to maintain a careful watch over... because the tendency constantly re-occurs in one form or another. I've had to make a lot of changes in myself to try to overcome it -- I've made progress -- but much more progess and attention is needed in my case.

My sponsor has often told me that we change incrimentally, little tiny changes that are slow and take time and that we have to constantly be working towards those tiny changes if we're ever going to make progress. He says that sometimes alcoholics will have a major change in something rapidly... but he says that it rarely happens. It reminds me of what I read in the Appendix in the back of the Big Book, titled: "Spiritual Experience."

Once again, in my case... it's one of the reasons why I feel so fortunate to have a sponsor that can and will help me. I would never have had that outside AA, and I would never have achieved it in AA without becoming willing to give up running my show as my own Director... not being accountable to anyone else other than myself. It really helps me to confide in honesty about my faults with my fellows.


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12 Step Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery | - Step 8