I feared committing to make amends to all those people on my Eighth Step list. But it was pointed out that Step Eight is not Step Nine—although we must be appropriately willing, there are some amends we should not make! The Big Book provides these “escape hatches.”
We are not to needlessly sacrifice others to save ourselves from the alcoholic pit. (Big Book p. 79) “Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.” (p. 77)
It was easy to understand not hurting others. But if I purposely place myself in danger of being hurt, or even worse, this would not be “maximum service.”
It was not always easy to be completely honest about all the persons and businesses I had harmed. For many years I had blocked out most of these unpleasant and hurtful memories. How I disgraced my well-respected father, mother, sister and family, in general, with my frequent public intoxication notices in the local newspaper.
There was that loan company I had not paid back; the motorcycle I wrecked while “trying it out” from the used car lot, and upon return, vamoosed on my bicycle and never got caught. This was only a beginning of a long inventory list of harms.
I almost ordered a gin and tonic about two weeks before my sponsor helped me with the 12 Steps. He told me that I couldn’t trust my mind to write an inventory because it lied to me—it was dishonest!
I believe the Big Book “timetable” was very important for me with my dishonest mind. I was left with no time to back out or to think things over. For instance, we are told to do Step Four “at once;” Step Five at “first opportunity;” Step Six “then” not later; Step Seven “when ready.” Then, my Step Eight amends information would be ready to list on paper.
There was no time to change my mind or delete what I had written. After all, both my sponsor and God were reading what I had written! Also, I was told not to feel guilty about the amends I could not right so long as I could honestly say to myself that I would right them if I could. (p. 83) This has helped.
By Bob S.