Step 8: MADE A LIST OF ALL PERSONS WE HAD HARMED AND BECAME WILLING TO MAKE AMENDS TO THEM ALL.
I look at how I harmed others through my addiction and realized something profound. It goes well beyond people I know. When I was gambling I was setting an example to those who were around me. In some cases I may have given encouragement to a person who was not normally a gambler. If they began to gamble from my example then it harmed them and those they affected as well. The ways in which I harmed people was both from actions and my inaction. The list of ways are limited only by my own awareness.
By working on recovery I am working on healing the festering wounds I have caused others. Some will accept my change but others may not. I can’t determine how long it will take because it is up to others to decide when they are ready. All I can do is keep working on recovery for me.
In this process I have to stop the blaming others and also myself. What is done can’t be changed and I can only move forward with the intentional process of making changes.
In my early recovery I only saw my limited successes. Now I see that success as success regardless of the limits. In the beginning I didn’t like looking in the mirror because it was a painful view of destruction and hopelessness. As I began to realize that facing that pain was necessary to heal,I looked more often and say changes.
There were people I considered ‘enemies’ who became friends because of a realization that there was more to it. I’d get mad at someone who told me no or tried to stop me from having my fun. Now I realize they were worried about me and can see it differently.
Making this list is a process that may be changing as I grow in recovery but without it I could excuse my part in the problem. As a result this listing of people makes me see what is necessary for recovery.
My anger and impatience with others has hurt them because they may not have been the real issue.
The harm I caused includes:
- Not being there when they needed me.
- making unreasonable demands on them.
- forcing them into untenable situations.
- Taking my anger and self loathing out on them.
- setting a bad example.
I could go on but then it would be hundreds of pages long just for the list. Better to focus on listing the people and working on making amends.
The list should be specific AND also broad in scope because there are people I know, others I am aware of and those I have no clue of at this time. As a result the list will likely grow as I grow in recovery.
When I started recovery I was manipulative and pressuring of people to accept my recovery as change immediately. Today I am more aware of this behavior and try to stop it when it arises.
The meaning of “Don’t try to solve all your problems at once.” for me is: Be aware of what my problems are but also know that some are made worse by fixing one. They are often intertwined and can’t be fixed quickly or instantly. I need to be methodical and purposed in solving them. By doing things one step at a time I avoid making problems worse or creating new ones in the process.
My confidence is getting stronger but I know that I am not cured. My addiction is in remission and could come back at any time. It can be ‘converted’ into something else if I am not careful. I am aware that it is a Chronic Disease.
“Easy Does It.” refers to the idea of not letting our confidence become relapse. I can’t get too far ahead of myself because that is when I know I will likely relapse or discover a new addiction to take over for the one I’m fighting.
What do you think?