RA offers hope, sanity, and recovery, especially to those who, despite their best efforts, have yet to find full recoveries, no matter what their problems or behaviors may be and their family and friends.
V Broaden and Deepen Your Understanding of the Twelve Steps
8) Step Eight
Broaden and deepen your understanding of Step Eight.


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

1. It was suggested that you pre-read all the pages devoted to Step Eight from the12 & 12.

2. Please remember that we don't want to convince you of anything. R.A.'s experience has been that if you read this material, you will come to the same conclusions that we have. We want to endorse your conclusions, not convince you of ours.

3. In the 12 & 12, on page 77, the first page of Step Eight, in the second paragraph, it says:

“It is a task which we may perform with increasing skill, but never really finish.”

4. In the 12 & 12, on page 77 starting with the last four words on the page, it says:

“But if a willing start is made, then the great advantages of doing this will so quickly reveal themselves that the pain will be lessened as one obstacle after another melts away.

“These obstacles, however, are very real. The first and one of the most difficult has to do with forgiveness. The moment we ponder a twisted or broken relationship with another person, our emotions go on the defensive. To escape looking at the wrongs we have done another, we resentfully focus on the wrong he has done us. This is especially true if he has in fact behaved badly at all. Triumphantly we seize upon his misbehavior as the perfect excuse for minimizing or forgetting our own.”

5. In the 12 & 12, on page 78, in the second full paragraph, starting with the fourth line from the bottom of this paragraph, it says:

“In many instances we are really dealing with fellow sufferers, people whose woes we have increased. If we are now about to ask forgiveness for ourselves, why shouldn't we start out by forgiving them one and all?”

6. We don't HAVE to forgive in order to do Steps Eight or Nine. Forgiveness may, however, help us to become WILLING to make our amends. It can be a tool, an aid in our willingness to move forward with the recovery process

7. In the 12 & 12, on page 80, in the bottom paragraph, in the third line, starting with the last four words, it says:

“To define the word ‘harm' in a practical way, we might call it the result of instincts in collision, which cause physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual damage to people.”

8. One of R.A.'s members shares:

"I thought of harm only in the physical sense. Yet, there was someone I hadn't harmed physically. He had interfered with my husband's success, and I hated him thoroughly. I gossiped about him and harmed his reputation. The first obstacle to be overcome was to forgive him; the second to forgive myself. These acts of forgiving, helped me become willing to make amends."

9. In the 12 & 12, on page 81 in the first full paragraph, starting with the fourth line from the bottom of the paragraph, it says:

“When we take such personality traits as these into shop, office, and the society of our fellows, they can do damage almost as extensive as that we have caused at home.

"Having carefully surveyed this whole area of human relations, and having decided exactly what personality traits in us injured and disturbed others, we can now commence to ransack memory for the people to whom we have given offense.”

10. In the 12 & 12, on page 81, starting with the last line on the page, it says:

“We shall want to hold ourselves to the course of admitting the things we have done, meanwhile forgiving the wrongs done us, real or fancied. We should avoid extreme judgments; both of ourselves and of others involved. We must not exaggerate our defects or theirs.”

11. It says to avoid extreme judgments of ourselves as well as of others. We are not supposed to blow out of proportion our minor transgressions or those of others.

12. In the 12 & 12, on page 82, skipping a sentence from the end of the last quote, it says:

“Whenever our pencil falters, we can fortify and cheer ourselves by remembering what A.A. experience in this Step has meant to others. It is the beginning of the end of isolation from our fellows and from God.”


Please use R.A.'s Questions and Answers Forum to ask any questions or make any comments about any of this.

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