Step 8 of AA is an action step which requires the alcoholic to make a list of all the people he or she has harmed in the past and present, and willing to make amends to those people.
“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
Official Readings on Step 8
AA Step 8 Explained
Step 8 has a lot to do with forgiveness. No matter the circumstance when it comes to broken relationships, it’s natural to think defensively and focus on what the other person did to us. Step 8 allows us to think about our wrongdoings and contributions to others we hurt.
Making a list of these people we have hurt isn’t easy and for most, step 8 is very uneasy to complete – especially when we realize that we are going to be making a face-to-face admission to these people (to most of them anyway). For most, it’s embarrassing just having to replay these actions in our head, and now we have to actually own these admissions head on with the people we have hurt. After completing this step, most are shocked to realize that the emotional harm done on themselves is far greater than that of the other person.
How It Works / Worksheet
Don’t worry, you do not need to make amends to the people you have done harm to yet. For step 8, you only need the willingness to be honest with yourself and list, on a piece of paper, the people you have harmed.
What does ‘harm‘ mean? Harm can be any of the following types of damage done on to others caused by your actions:
When we start listing the people we have harmed, we should start with the people who are closest to us which are typically family and very close friends. From there, we list associates from work, school and to anyone that pains us when we think about our actions onto them.
The end goal is to admit the harms we have done while also forgiving the wrongs done to us by others. This in turn, will free ourselves from our isolation from others and God.