Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
In your fourth step inventory, you made a list of the improper actions that you did as well as the good, constructive accomplishments. In Step Six, you made a list of character defects. Now, Step Eight asks you to make yet another list. This one is to identify all those you have harmed, then, to become willing to make amends to them all.
First on the list, put yourself, — you should have no doubt whatsoever with this choice. You’ve harmed yourself spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically and financially.
Have you harmed family, fellow workers, employer, church members or anyone else?
What is harm anyway?
Harm seems to be abusing others and taking from them the right to lead their own lives. Family members loved us and we were unable or unwilling to return that love. Perhaps, instead, we failed to provide adequately for them. Was that stealing? Perhaps, as the addiction progressed, we stole anything we could from our family or from anyone that was available.
One thing is certain. We stole time and this can never be regained. Money problems will eventually be worked out but the time lost is gone forever. With the help of our Higher Power and the program working, one day at a time, we never again will lose time or money unless we choose to return to gambling. The choice is ours, to gamble and risk progressive deterioration or not to gamble and develop a better way of life.
Did we lie? To whom and how much did we lie?
Good judgment in making this list is vital. Do not assume harm. Look at each instance and list it if you feel you did harm to another. A good yardstick is to ask yourself whether omitting a name might later return to “bug” you. If yes, add that name. Let’s say you wasted many hours at work as you waited and prepared your gambling actions. Now, in your new way of life, you can show your boss someone with a clear mind who can work properly giving more than is expected.
If goods or monies were stolen, all should be returned in a practical manner. A second story man can hardly return his ill-gotten gains without endangering himself and his family; but, he might leave money in an unmarked envelope to atone for the theft. So, these harms should be listed. The method of making restitution will be determined in the step which follows. To be forgiven, one must first forgive others and then one’s self. Therefore, don’t leave off the list a person harmed but who had also harmed you. The entire aim is to set right the harm one has done — nothing else matters. This step is starting your return to society. Properly done, all fear will dissipate and you will be free to talk and move about as a normal person.
The list should include everyone you have harmed. After having the willingness to make amends, you will be able to resume a beneficial role in society, usually for the first time in many years.
Step Eight is the beginning of our public relations policy and the end of isolation from our fellows.
- A fascinating adventure with our new found knowledge.
- Back-tracking to survey human wreckage is required.
- How we harmed others by gambling?
- Injuries that we caused to others are festering. What are we doing about them?
Our first obstacle in Step Eight is our defensive attitude.
- We focus on wrongs done to us.
- Step Five was tough enough…let’s observe some of the good we have done.
- Do we dwell on our limited successes? Do we avoid painful views in the mirror?
- Enemies who became friends. Why?
Step Eight asks us to make a “deep and honest” search of our true motives and actions.
- We may feel we mainly injured ourselves.
- Why list people who may not know they were injured and harmed?
- Our anger and impatience. How these affect and tax others.
- Specific harm done to others … not monetary.
- Should our “list” enlarge as we recover from gambling?
- Are we manipulating and pressuring any loved ones today?
We are advised to use a “quiet” objective view to identify harm done to others.
- Avoid extreme judgments and exaggerations.
- Avoid building unwarranted pressures.
- Meaning of the slogan “Don’t try to solve all your problems at once.”
- Is self confidence growing in GA … or are we getting “cured?”
- Meaning of the slogan “Easy Does It.”
WORKING THE STEPS: Step 8