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.”

While this sounds like it might be an action step, it’s actually a mental process that prepares you for taking action in step 9.

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 800-839-1686Who Answers? for assistance from a specialist.

Using a List to Keep Me Focused

8th Step of AA

Making a list of the people you’ve harmed will help you realize how destructive your alcohol use was.

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.

How To Apply Alcoholics Anonymous Step 8 in REAL Life

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 800-839-1686Who Answers? 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.

How the helpline works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the AlcoholicsAnonymous.com helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC), a paid advertiser on AlcoholicsAnonymous.com.

AAC representatives are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. These representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. This helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither AlcoholicsAnonymous.com nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit AmericanAddictionCenters.org. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.