Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
It seems that each of the 12 steps is built on the one before. In the 4th step we not only listed our resentments from actions taken towards us, but also looked at our own part – where we caused harm to others. Some AA members refer to this as the 4th column in the “grudge list” or resentments. After sharing all of this with a sponsor or closed mouth, understanding friend, we express the readiness to have our shortcomings removed and humbly ask Him to remove them.
Now it is time to reach outward and clean up our past. We have this list from our inventory and, if not it is time to make one now. As before, a sponsor would be very helpful here.
What if I never caused harm to anyone?
Then you would be a unique and incredible human being. Of course no one could possibly go through life without hurting someone, somewhere. We will find, sometimes with help, that we may have a part in the negative events in our lives. It is much easier to see the flaws in others than it is to look inward at our own. The 4th step was where this would have been accomplished.
Some of these people hurt me much more than I hurt them. Why should I make amends to them if they are not willing to admit the wrongs they did to me?
It can often be the case that someone has caused us more harm than we cause them, however this is about our recovery and our freedom from the things that are blocking us from the sunlight of the spirit or if you prefer, peace of mind. Cleaning up our side of the street is what will heal us and has nothing to do with another person’s behavior other than the resentments we get from their actions. At this step we are making a list and becoming willing to make amends. So once again willingness is what is required in this step.