Step Eight

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

If you weren’t a list-maker before you came into recovery, you probably will be by the time you’re through the 12 steps. There are a lot of lists made in this process – we list resentments, fears, defects of character, things we’re grateful for, and now, we list people we have harmed. The good thing is that much of the work for this step was done during Step 4. If we made a “fearless and searching moral inventory”, it included people we hurt. And in this step, we’re putting that all into one list.

As you go through this list, talk through it with your sponsor and ask the question “what was the harm done to this person?”. In some cases, you may find that there was no harm done, and in other cases, you may be reminded of other people who were also harmed by your behavior. But talk through each and every person on the list. This is the part of the journey where we really begin “cleaning up our side of the street” and talking through the list with a sponsor can bring clarity to the process.

There tends to be a lot of worry and fear around this step about the “how”, the “where”, and the “when” these amends will be made. There are likely people on your list who will be impossible or inappropriate to make direct amends to. But they should go on the list anyway. Simply make the list and discuss it with your sponsor. Between the two of you, you will likely figure out the right way to make these amends as you move onto step 9. We’ll talk about that in a few weeks!

Finally, there may be people on your list who you are not willing to make amends to. They may have caused you harm and you may blame them for your circumstances or for your behavior. But keep in mind, this is about cleaning up YOUR side of the street. It’s about looking at what part you played in the harm that was done to another person. Most relationships are complex and there is usually plenty of blame to go around when things go bad, but your job in this step is to look at your actions and how they hurt others. 

And after looking at your actions closely, if you are still not willing, ask God to give you willingness. It may not happen right away, but make it a part of your daily prayers and meditations. Seek a humble attitude that says “I was wrong and I want to make it right”. If you continue to seek, you will find this willingness and then you will be able to move on to Step 9.

May you find the willingness to make amends today!

-A grateful member of the Awaken community

Awaken is a Birmingham, AL based ministry walking with individuals, couples, and ministry leaders who have been impacted by sexual brokenness & addiction. Our goal is to help people experience hope, connection, and healing through the gospel and the recovery process. If you want to know more about Awaken or our resources, email us at!