I was hesitant and puzzled when I began my Eight Step list because what about people whose feelings might be hurt or might harmed if I admitted all—my Step Four inventory had several of those. Luckily, my sponsor informed me that Step Eight is not Step Nine, and I should not leave these activities off my list. But obviously, this did not mean that I make these harmful amends while doing Step Nine. This information may be useful in asking God for forgiveness in a later step.
My Eighth Step information came mostly from my Step Four inventory, but also my sponsor had me do a spontaneous writing earlier on. This included asking God over and again to reveal where I had been selfish and dishonest—not just from regular memory, but from my deepest inner self. Spontaneous! This function brought to light many secrets I had kept from myself for many years. They needed to be written down.
I had seldom even considered the anguish my wonderful Christian parents must have felt to see their son’s name in the newspaper for public intoxication year after year. Or my younger sister who, four years later, attended the same high school with my devil may care reputation still remembered by the teachers. I had never felt guilty about that loan company I had never paid back or the time when I, as a teen, tried out a motorcycle from a used lot and wrecked it. I was able to wobble it in and jumped on my bicycle and away I went.
There was a temptation to leave out certain misbehaviors because, after all, I had been sober for five whole months, and intended never to drink whisky again! I was obviously now in the category of what is called “living amends!” How my sponsor pointed out that the Big Book makes no mention of “living amends” it actually dispels that idea at the bottom of page 82 — “Ain’t it grand the wind stopped blowin?”
I believe the honesty revealed in my Eighth Step list was a vital and crucial part of my recovery.
By Bob S.