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!!!
I had been keeping all of my healthy commitments... AA involvement, paying my bills, being reasonably responsible (my opinion
) , 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!!!