Step 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Okay, well, I think I may have gone far enough with this twelve step program, what about you? Up until now, all has been well and good. Without admitting to anyone my personal struggles, I’ve been able to glean some important things from these steps. Of course I’m not an alcoholic, so it’s bound to be limited how far I can go with this, and now that I get to the part where I start involving other people, well, this may be where I have to get off. I mean I’ve got a list of people that I have harmed along the way, but I don’t need to actually go to them and make amends, do I? Isn’t it enough to imagine doing it? Won’t that sort of teach me the same things? I mean, it’s hard enough just to imagine doing this, much less do it!
Really, what am I going to say? “Hi, er … I’ve been playing like I’m an alcoholic trying to learn from the Twelve Steps and I’ve gotten to the step about harming others and I think I may have harmed you, will you forgive me?” How’s that going to go over?
Sincerely, this has all been well and good in my own head, but I don’t think I want to go dragging anybody else into it, especially somebody that didn’t ask to be. I feel a little like I’m on a scavenger hunt asking a distant neighbor for some long-forgotten item that will help me reach my goal, but do little or nothing for his. As you can see I have a bit of work to do on this step.
And there’s also the fact that if I draw someone else into this, I will have to mean it; I will actually have to do something about the harm I’ve caused in order to make it right, and I’m not sure I signed up for that. I know they didn’t.
You can see how this step is sort of a watershed. As soon as you involve someone else, especially a bunch of someones, things get messy. This isn’t a game anymore. I’m a real person with a real problem and I have hurt people. Forget whether I’m an alcoholic or a drug addict, or a person with some kind of chronic syndrome, I’m a sinner, and sin is messy. It messes up other people’s lives as well as your own.
Luckily tomorrow is Friday and that means I have a weekend to think about this and decide if I’m willing to do it or not. Plus, I’m going away this weekend. All the more reason to take it slow. I wonder if I decide I don’t want to go through with this right now, can I still come to the meetings? Will I still get something out of it?