Breaking Down Step Eight – One Man’s Experience

Breaking Down Step Eight – One Man’s Experience

Breaking Down Step Eight – One Man’s Experience

I love getting to hear the experience, strength and hope of other recovered alcoholics that they share along their journey. I recently came across some experience from Jason W. that he shared on his website about Step 8 that I wanted to share with you. His journey is really quite beautiful and below is an excerpt from what he shared on his site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Side note, while he is okay with breaking his anonymity at the level of press, radio and film, I am not. If you are interested in getting a link to his website (and specifically to his full blog post on Step 8), contact me and I will be happy to share it with you. Light & blessings!

“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”

“Every A.A. has found that he can make little headway in this new adventure of living until he first backtracks and really makes an accurate and unsparing survey of the human wreckage he has left in his wake.”– Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 77

Terrified of facing the wreckage of your past? Looking at the shipwreck of your alcoholic life from the shore is one thing, but taking actions to repair and mend what is salvageable is a whole other adventure!

Step Eight of AA Alcoholics Anonymous helps recovering alcoholics to live in the greatest peace, in partnership with others and themselves.


Step Eight of AA Alcoholics Anonymous is the beginning of the process of making amends, forgiving others and possibly being forgiven by them, in addition to forgiving ourselves. By making a list of the people we harmed and becoming willing to make amends, we take action toward healing the past with others and learning how to live in the world with our head held high, looking people right in the eye.


Step 8 is mostly about identifying the damage you have done to others and listing those names. It doesn’t matter if the harm you caused was from selfishness, carelessness, anger, arrogance, dishonesty or any other character defect… it doesn’t even matter if you didn’t intend to cause harm.

You are going to make a completely thorough list, considering all the ways in which it is possible to cause harm to another person. Some situations are really obvious, for instance if you stole money from a person or business, or if you exhibited physical or emotional abuse.

The names on your list could be people you bullied, cheated on or treated coldly. Whether they are living or dead or will want to hear from you or not, it doesn’t matter. You are just making a list.


Step Eight helps build awareness that, little by little, we are gaining new attitudes about ourselves and how we deal with other people.

Here are some questions to help guide you through working Step Eight:

  • Are there resentments in the way of your willingness to make amends?
  • Are you hesitating in any way before working on the eighth step- if so why?
  • Why is it valuable to determine the exact nature of your wrongs?
  • Why is it so essential that you are very clear about your responsibility?
  • Are there people to whom you owe an amends who may be a threat to your safety or about whom you are concerned in some other way?
  • Why is simply saying, “I’m sorry” alone not sufficient to repair the damage that you’ve caused?
  • Why is only changing your behavior not sufficient to repair the damage you’ve caused?
  • Do you have amends to make that are financial and therefore you do not want to make them?
  • Can you imagine what your life would be like if you had already made these amends?
  • Do you have amends to people who have also harmed you?


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