"Make a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."
What Is the 8th Step?
Whether a person struggling with addiction spent six months or several years addicted to a substance, he likely hurt several people along the way. From missing work shifts, to lashing out at loved ones when accused of addiction, to stealing money to buy more of their drug of choice, there are a lot of actions a person is likely to take that have caused harm.
Step 8 is about recognizing the actions that were wrong and taking steps to acknowledge what behaviors were wrong so that they can be corrected. Step eight is an important part of healing conflicts in your life and family.
How Does Step 8 Help Someone Struggling With Addiction?
According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the family has a central role in helping a person overcome a substance abuse problem. Before this work can begin, however, it is important to begin the healing process with a person struggling with addiction. Step eight is part of that repair process, because it involves reflecting on times where your loved one has caused damage to others and wants to make peace.
This step can be challenging for your loved one. It calls to attention how much his substance abuse has impacted his life and the lives of others. However difficult it is, it's a key step to moving forward with life.
Prior to working through the 12 steps, addicts are often unaware that their actions are hurting others. Substance abuse can be a source of great worry, stress, anxiety and sadness for a person's loved ones. Reflecting upon this fact is important to preventing relapse because it makes a man aware of not only his past behavior, but what could happen again if he returns to drug use.
How You Can Help Your Loved One Put This Into Action
Step 8 is an important part of the reflection process, but it is often one of self-reflection that you will not necessarily take part in. However, you can provide a safe environment for your loved one, with time to reflect on past wrongs. It is likely he may experience guilt and depression after starting to make this list. You can encourage him to take his time and emphasize how much you value your relationship with him.
While often emotionally painful, this step is one that causes a person struggling with substance abuse to realize just how important his support group is to his life. By valuing these relationships instead of a substance, he can move forward as a sober man.