We take action by making amends to the individuals we have harmed in our past during this step. We do this by overcoming the barriers of embarrassment, pride, fear, and procrastination and becoming ready to accept the reactions of those people we have harmed. By doing this, we will begin to overcome the guilt we experience and assist the people we have harmed in overcoming any anger or resentment they hold toward us. This is a tremendous opportunity for continued growth and is extremely necessary for our quest to restored sanity.
However, it is important to remember that there is a reason that the steps are to be carried out in the order they are listed. Without the spiritual preparation we experienced in the previous steps, we would not be prepared to make these amends properly. If we had not developed a relationship with our Higher Power, we would likely lack the trust and faith required to carry this step out. If we had not done our fourth and fifth steps, we might be confused about our personal responsibility or what it is we are making amends for. If we didn’t develop the all-important humility that steps six and seven entail, we would probably approach our amends in a self-righteous or angry way and end up doing more damage. The willingness we gained through the acceptance of personal responsibility provided us with the ability to make our eighth step list. And that list was our practical preparation for working this step.
It will also be important to remain mindful of how we approach and carry out our amends. For instance, we must be cautious that having completed our eighth step list, we don’t approach it like we would a shopping list, crossing off completed items as soon as we can. Some of our amends may never be completely finished, and we will continue to work on them throughout our journey of recovery. Although it is best to make direct amends wherever possible, some of our amends may need to be made indirectly. In these instances, we need to consider what good purpose we will be serving by making our amends. Will the information we share with the person we harmed cause damage? Ultimately, we need to accept the consequences of our behaviors, bearing in mind the part of the step that says, “except when to do so would injure them or others.”
In such cases that we cannot make direct amends, the way in which we make indirect amends will only be limited by our imagination and level of willingness. In the process of making our direct and indirect amends, we will be working on the spiritual principles of humility, love, and forgiveness. Today you can practice these spiritual principles. Today you can begin the process of overcoming the guilt you have carried around with you for so long. Today you can choose continued growth in the process of recovery!