Tips for Making Your List of Amends
Step eight of Alcoholics Anonymous asks its members to make a list “of all persons [they] have harmed” and to be willing to make amends to those individuals. This can be not only a long task but a difficult one, especially because it asks members to look back into their past and face some harsh truths while they prepare themselves to handle the mistakes of their past during the present. Here are some tips that can help you while you are making your list of people to whom you will make amends.
Make a Physical List
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to make a physical list during this step. Sometimes, it can be best just to write it down on a piece of paper, but typing it on your phone or printing it off your computer is acceptable as well. Make sure you do it in such a way that you can carry it with you at all times. This physical list has many benefits to your overall recovery with AA, including:
- Serving as a solid reminder of your commitment to your sobriety and to becoming a better person
- Allowing you to keep everything logged without the potential of forgetting something, the way you would be more likely to if you merely kept a mental list
- Causing you to take the list more seriously because it is written down
Don’t Leave Anyone Out
There may be people to whom you already know you will not be able to make amends. Just because this is true, it is still important not to leave these individuals off your list. You must still think about these people and do as much as you can to make amends for your past with them, even if it just means including them on your list. Otherwise, your list will feel incomplete and you may begin to feel like you did not do everything you should have in this step.
Take Your Time
This is not an activity you will want to tackle in one night. It can be difficult to think about and may make you feel depressed. Take your time as you make this list and spread it out over the course of several days or weeks to ensure that you both think of everyone and give yourself some time away from it.
Ask for Help
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, AA and groups like it draw on “social support” and encourage recovering addicts to work together to help one another succeed. If you are struggling at this point in your journey or even if you just require some advice, it is always a possibility to reach out to the other members of your group. In fact, it is even encouraged. Other people who are or who have gone through the 12 steps are likely to have some insight on how best to do so.
Make Your List
Once you make your list, you can begin to make amends for the things you have done in the past and start to feel strong and prepared for the next part of your recovery. If you would like to learn more about AA or find a meeting near you, call 800-839-1686.