“We have a list of all persons we have harmed and to whom we are willing to make amends. We made it when we took inventory. We subjected ourselves to a drastic self- appraisal. Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past. We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves. If we haven’t the will to do this, we ask until it comes,”
-A.A. Big Book pg. 76
“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” (A.A. Big Book pg. 59)
I was very fortunate when I made my first inventory list that I worked with someone who had years of experience in step work. When he and I did my Fourth Step inventory of my fouler handicaps, he instructed me that I needed to hold on to my list because within the list were the names of the people that I needed to make amends to. He instructed me that we were going to classify them as; now, later and never. We did and he assured me that placing the most difficult amends at the top of the list would benefit me the greatest in this process. I wasn’t as comfortable and sure as he was however; I followed his suggestion because his experience and the experiences of those who preceded him demonstrated that they know better than I what is the proper course of action to achieve success when working the Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Upon completion of our combined effort I had a list, prioritized and ready to be used as my amends list. Immediately upon completion we set out to arrange my Step Nine work. I was in rehab at the time so my Step partner made the necessary arrangements so that my Step Nine work could begin. I’ll talk about that in my next article. (FYI; the directions for working steps Six, Seven, Eight and Nine can all be found on one page in the Basic Text of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg 76)
P.S. Step Eight – Described on pages 76 (The directions for taking Step Eight are on page 76, paragraph 3, lines 3- 5)
I welcome your questions, your ideas for recovery topics or perhaps a personal story or two. Don’t forget, a dose of good humor about recovery or addiction is always welcomed…it has certainly helped me and many others through some tough times! Please send your submissions to: Council on Chemical Abuse, Attn: Recovery & Me, 601 Penn St., Ste. 600, Reading, PA 19601. You may choose to remain anonymous by including only your first name with your submission, as it may in part be reprinted in a future article.