Step Eight

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

“Steps Eight and Nine are concerned with personal relations. First, we take a look backward and try to discover where we had been at fault; next we make a vigorous attempt to repair the damage we had done; and third, having thus cleaned away the debris of the past, we consider how, with our newfound knowledge of ourselves, we may develop the best personal relations with everyone we know.”

“This is a very large order.” To say the least. If Step Four mired us in our past misbehavior; Step Eight brings us even further into our past misdeeds. But just as Step Five gave us release, so too will Step Nine provide us peace. Or at least peace of mind. Because now that we are armed with the facts about our defects of character, we can fully proceed to restore the wreckage we had wrought. And we can begin to become solid, good standing members of society.

Of course, none of this is possible if we play the blame game. Too often we look at the real or imagined wrongs done by others and neglect to take stock at the wrongs we’ve done ourselves. If we are truly thorough and honest, we’ll see that it was generally our actions which provoked such perceived wrongs. If we’re genuinely contrite, we’ll realize it wouldn’t matter one way or another. We seek forgiveness. So we must in turn be willing to forgive.

Step Eight “is the beginning of the end of isolation from our fellows and from God.”

That brings us to:

Tradition Eight

Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

“Freely ye have received; freely ye shall give,” runs the ancient adage. And just as we have accepted and given forgiveness, so too shall we readily bestow upon others all of the gifts given us by A.A. “Money and spirituality do not mix.”

That goes double with regards to Step Twelve. A.A. doesn’t accept paid sponsorship; nor does it tolerate paid sponsors. Money compromises everyone and everything. So if you see someone trying to profit from their knowledge.

That doesn’t mean however that A.A.’s can’t take the knowledge out into the world at large. Many a treatment center, educational facility or hospital can profit from what an A.A. brings to the table, just as those they serve can profit from working the Twelve Steps.

The staff at Recovery Boot Camp is well-versed in A.A. And it adheres to the same 12 Step dynamic we teach from Basic Training on. Yes, we are addiction professionals. But “our job is not to do Twelfth Step work; it’s to make Twelfth Step work possible.”

Inspired by -- and taken from -- Alcoholics Anonymous’ Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

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