How I Use the 8th Step of AA To Stay Sober
Staying sober is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Luckily, I’ve had a ton of support throughout my journey. I’ve relied on family, friends, and the guiding hand of Alcoholics Anonymous.
One of the most helpful parts of using Alcoholics Anonymous has been the 12-step program. In particular, I’m quite fond of step 8.
While it sounds simple, step 8 takes a lot of dedication and self-reflection if done correctly, all of which have helped me maintain my sobriety.
What Step 8 Means to Me
In step 8, we are supposed to have “made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
It will require you to be honest with yourself, feel empathy and regret, and consciously decide to make your feelings known to others. These are all important steps you have to take in order to successfully get off alcohol, at least in my experience.
However, maybe I’m not explaining it as best as I can. If you need more help understanding step 8 or the whole 12-step program, just call 800-839-1686 for assistance from a specialist.
Using a List to Keep Me Focused
Thinking of all the people I had harmed throughout the years was not fun. In fact, it sucked.
As I kept remembering more and more mistakes I had made, the list kept growing longer and longer. It made me realize what a terrible person I had been during my addiction.
Nowadays, I’ve gone through the list and made amends to everyone, something that happens later in the program.
Regardless, I still keep a copy of that original list in my pocket. Any time I feel a craving or urge, I take it out and look over all the names and mistakes I’ve made in the past.
For one simple piece of paper, my list carries a lot of weight. Just looking at it gives me the determination and strength I need to press on without taking a drink.
Thinking From Other Peoples’ Perspectives
One thing in particular that was helpful was an exercise we did in my AA meeting called “My Side of the Street.” Basically, this involved thinking of a relationship we used to have with another person, and how it all went wrong.
After this, the facilitator places a rope on the floor, and you are supposed to step on the other side of it and start thinking from the perspective of the other person. Basically, it allows you to think about the things you did wrong from another point of view.
It really helped me to realize all that I personally had done wrong. For so long, I had been focused on the mistakes other people had made. It took this one little exercise for me to realize that the biggest mistakes had been my fault this whole time.
With all of that in mind, it suddenly became a lot easier to stay sober. I didn’t want to keep being that terrible person in every relationship. By looking at myself through another person’s eyes, I saw how ugly I had become.
If thinking from another person’s perspective ever becomes too much, don’t be afraid to seek help. You can call 800-839-1686 at any time to talk to someone who will help you relax and find value in yourself again.
By this point, you’re probably beginning to see why step 8 is my favorite step in AA. I’d highly encourage you to take advantage of it as well.